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Books read as a child /adolescent - Libraria of my youth

Purple

(She/Her)
I was that weird kid in school who always had her nose in a book. I remember in like 1st or 2nd grade there was this whole thing encouraging kids to read by writing the name of every book you read on a strip of paper and adding them to a chain, and some kids had chains stretching across the room and then I only had 4 because that was the year I read the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings.

Other stuff I read back then included literally every single thing ever written by Roger Zelazny (would recommend), Isaac Asimov (would not so much recommend), Larry Niven (who I've since learned is a gross republican think tank weirdo), Orson Scott Card (active hatemongering bigot), whole bunch of weird obscure 1930s sci-fi...

oh and the same Choose Your Own Adventure stuff everyone else is talking about in this thread which I should stick to because it's more on topic. It still bugs me how many of them didn't play fair where like the kindly wizard accompanying you would turn out to be the villain in disguise in some arbitrary bad ending but then in the good ending no he's legit the whole way through and helps kill the villain, what the hell?
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
Two that I remember that haven't been mentioned yet are Matt Christopher's sports books like The Kid Who Only Hit Homers, which if I'm remembering correctly would have stats for the fictional little league players in the back of the book and players would be mentioned in books about different sports, even if they weren't the star of that book, and the overtly Christian Sugar Creek Gang books that I'm pretty sure I was given for Christmas because my Mom didn't like Goosebumps or Animorphs very much. I remember liking the Sugar Creek Gang because I was allowed to read them in Church.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
Two that I remember that haven't been mentioned yet are Matt Christopher's sports books like The Kid Who Only Hit Homers, which if I'm remembering correctly would have stats for the fictional little league players in the back of the book and players would be mentioned in books about different sports, even if they weren't the star of that book, and the overtly Christian Sugar Creek Gang books that I'm pretty sure I was given for Christmas because my Mom didn't like Goosebumps or Animorphs very much. I remember liking the Sugar Creek Gang because I was allowed to read them in Church.

Oh man, Sugar Creek Gang stirs some memories. Like I can't quite remember if I read them, but the name sounds so familiar, and the covers...



I'm like 99% sure I read these. Probably all of them.

Oh, my mom and dad were also adverse to Goosebumps, but eventually they caved and I demolished a fair portion of them as well. They never seemed to have the same concerns about Animorphs, though.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
I never read Bruce Coville's anthologies, but I obsessively read and re-read the My Teacher Is an Alien series. The first book is a sci-fi B-movie potboiler, then the series gradually turns into depressing, existential social commentary for kids.
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
Orson Scott Card (active hatemongering bigot)

Read a ton of his books in high school. Find it fascinating that the argument of so many if not all of his books winds up being "people who say the stuff Orson Scott Card does in the name of their religious opinions are not to be trusted and will only lead to destructive war if given power"
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I never read Bruce Coville's anthologies, but I obsessively read and re-read the My Teacher Is an Alien series. The first book is a sci-fi B-movie potboiler, then the series gradually turns into depressing, existential social commentary for kids.
I remember liking these a lot too.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I never read Bruce Coville's anthologies, but I obsessively read and re-read the My Teacher Is an Alien series. The first book is a sci-fi B-movie potboiler, then the series gradually turns into depressing, existential social commentary for kids.
I'm remembering reading this one now. My Teacher is an Alien, My Teacher Glows in the Dark (I mostly remember it for some sort of adorable slug pet) and My Teacher Flunked the Planet. I was into those books.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
Read a ton of his books in high school. Find it fascinating that the argument of so many if not all of his books winds up being "people who say the stuff Orson Scott Card does in the name of their religious opinions are not to be trusted and will only lead to destructive war if given power"
I mean, by the same token, the Harry Potter books are all "hey, fascism is bad, especially when it takes the form of people given arbitrary power using it to torture and kill children while claiming it's about their defense."

Really I don't think it's even fair to call it ironic in either case, just "there is no way anyone would publish anything I wrote if included anything about how I think of those filthy disgusting queers, lemme just slap in some love and acceptance crap, that'll go over."
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I thought of something else I used to read a lot of: The Babysitters Club. I think I started on those because I was the kind of kid who read everything in the house (also how I discovered The Dice Man, but I think I was older then) and my sister had them, but I must have liked them because I read a heck of a lot of them. I think initially I was reading them in secret because they were for girls, but I have specific memories of reading one of the super specials (maybe the Disney trip one?) in the car so I must have gotten over that at some point.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
I'm remembering reading this one now. My Teacher is an Alien, My Teacher Glows in the Dark (I mostly remember it for some sort of adorable slug pet) and My Teacher Flunked the Planet. I was into those books.
I also remember delighting in that series. I read so much over elementary school and I don't actually remember vast swaths of it now. I know I read all of Judy Blume's catalogue; all of the Little House books; the full Narnia set; and plenty of classic Choose You Own Adventure. By 5th grade I was into the Hardy Boys, and I probably read 100 of those, a mix of the original books (that my dad had saved), the rewritten 80s versions of the books, and the YA "Casefiles" books.
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
Really I don't think it's even fair to call it ironic in either case, just "there is no way anyone would publish anything I wrote if included anything about how I think of those filthy disgusting queers, lemme just slap in some love and acceptance crap, that'll go over."
I can't speak to Rowling because I never really got into Harry Potter (I read the third book on a recommendation when I was in college, just as the series was picking up steam, and found it derivative because by that point I'd read Books of Magic and Lord of the Rings), but with Card you can see a definite arc over the course of his works. The Mormon themes are always there, but you get a long patch of "being straight and waiting for marriage is wonderful" kinda subtle stuff before he gets really nasty anti-queer. Some combination of age, fame, the explosion of the internet and external pressures? I can't say. But circa-2000 Card could never have written Ender's Game; and the Shadow series of sequels is the evidence.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
Choose Your Own Adventure

Here is a tale of Dumb Baby Dracula. When my dad first told me about these books, I got mega excited. They sounded incredible. Magical, even. The way I remember him describing them to me was "you can make the pictures change." I'm pretty sure those weren't the words he used, but they were the words I heard. So when I got my hands on one, I carried it off to my room and sat down, and flipped open to the first illustration I could find, which I remember being a squirrel.

"I want this squirrel to be a monster," I told the book, and closed it.

Then I reopened it to find that the squirrel hadn't changed at all. Maybe I was doing it wrong. I tried again with a different incantation. Still nothing. Tried a couple of other illustrations. Nothing.

The truth dawning on me, I sighed and started to actually read the book, sad that it didn't have the magical powers I'd dreamed it to have.

Anyway, this was my favorite Choose Your Own Adventure:

 
Here is a tale of Dumb Baby Dracula. When my dad first told me about these books, I got mega excited. They sounded incredible. Magical, even. The way I remember him describing them to me was "you can make the pictures change." I'm pretty sure those weren't the words he used, but they were the words I heard. So when I got my hands on one, I carried it off to my room and sat down, and flipped open to the first illustration I could find, which I remember being a squirrel.

"I want this squirrel to be a monster," I told the book, and closed it.

Then I reopened it to find that the squirrel hadn't changed at all. Maybe I was doing it wrong. I tried again with a different incantation. Still nothing. Tried a couple of other illustrations. Nothing.

The truth dawning on me, I sighed and started to actually read the book, sad that it didn't have the magical powers I'd dreamed it to have.

This is adorable.

Also I originally misread it as "I want to be a squirrel monster" and the thought of a baby vampire squirrel was wonderful.
 

Lady

something something robble
Poor Drac ❤️

What did I read? I can't even begin to guess what all. Was definitely infected by the scholastic bug, book fairs and mail order clubs both. My mom had to eventually put her foot down and ask how many of those subscriptions I actually still really enjoyed. There was babysitters club, babysitters little sisters, boxcar children, goosebumps.

I remember how scary I thought Goosebumps books were in kindergarten or first grade. It was a big moment when I finally was brave enough to read Welcome to Dead House. I mostly stuck with the goosebumps cyoa books, though. I would always get bad endings, so eventually I took to reading them in page number sequence so I could actually see what else could happen. (Extremely risk averse there)

I think the other BIG thing from my childhood before I caved on harry potter in 6th grade and fell into that rabbit hole was Christopher Pike. First the Spooksville series, then Last Vampire and really anything I could get my hands on. I think they probably really had a big impact on my spirituality through middle school.

Of course classics like Little House and its derivative series, redwall, beverly cleary, and whatever random stuff I'd pull off the shelf when left to the library for free child care. I think I started going down the stacks pulling out newberry winners, so probably plenty of those. I don't know how many times I read Catherine, Called Birdy.

The biggest series for me (before hp) was Archie Comics. Started with Veronica #4 and been a fan ever since
 
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Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
I just remembered one of my early favorite chapter-book series: Bunnicula. The story of a pet rabbit that's actually a vampire and bites/sucks vegetables and leaves them white. IIRC it was told through the family dog (and/or cat?)'s POV; the human family never realized what was up and the dog was always low-key freaking out at this fellow pet being a vampire, but it always ended with Bunnicula being... not innocent, but at least benign. I do remember once it bit a tray of fudge and turned it into white chocolate.

I also just remembered how many Star Wars EU novels I read as a child. I might have kept reading them up into middle school but I remember it being mostly in 5th-6th grades at the height of my Star Wars phase (which was all pre-Phantom Menace).

Narnia! After seeing the BBC movie/series on VHS, we got a box set and I read all of those.

I was never huge into comics, but I liked X-Men a lot up to about 4th grade, and it kind of peaked with Age of Apocalypse. I didn't have the entire series, but I collected a good chunk of it. I don't remember having any but a few random X-Something issues besides that, but I do remember the foil-covered first issue of Generation X and after AoA, a few issues of X-Man, both series I thought I'd want to follow and just never quite did.

I also was really into the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog and even had a subscription for a bit iirc. This was pretty early in the run before it went...the places it went (I don't think Knuckles had even been introduced yet; I mostly liked it for its similarity to the more serious cartoon).
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Most of my stuff has already been mentioned. Being raised LDS my family visited quite a few Deseret Book Stores (a book store that caters to the Mormon community) and may parents bought me several of the Lucky series of books by Dean Hughes. I can't recall how many of these I read but I do remember the first book Lucky's Crash Landing and the sequel Lucky Breaks Loose. These are just your normal kid slice of life books but this time the kid is LDS and so Church and church activities play a prominent role as does making the right choices and not disappointing Jesus. I mostly remember the first one got me interested enough in skateboarding to swipe my older brothers skateboard and try to teach myself how to skate.

That went about as well as you'd expect. No broken bones but a pretty bad tumble that left my arm and leg looking like ground beef. I somehow missed all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books and I feel I really missed out. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See by Carle remains beautiful book that I still enjoy today. I also loved Strega Nona and spent quite a few evenings dreaming of having my own pot that made endless pasta. On the same topic, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs I remember loving as well. Judy Blume's Fudge series I also caught.

The first fantasy books I read I think would have been The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe I didn't know at the time that the story was a Christian allegory and when it was pointed out to me I remember losing interest in the books. Or it could have just been that the sequels just weren't as engaging as the first one. I think I stalled out on Voyage of the Dawn Treader. After that it was David Eddings Belgariad and Feist's Magician series. I don't recall what my first science fiction novel was... it might have been Ender's Game...
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
I also just remembered how many Star Wars EU novels I read as a child. I might have kept reading them up into middle school but I remember it being mostly in 5th-6th grades at the height of my Star Wars phase (which was all pre-Phantom Menace).

This was also the height of my Star Wars phase. I read all the "Tales of" books I could find and the novelizations of the OT, as well as the Star Wars Technical Journal, several books about collectibles, and the first of the Timothy Zahn trilogy (still never finished the other two).

Weird fact: the Empire novelization was written by Don Glut, one of the most prolific (and I say this endearingly) hack writers of the era. He's written episodes of Transformers and Ninja Turtles, the earliest pack-in Master of the Universe minicomics, and mummy-themed softcore porn. The guy really got around.

Most of my stuff has already been mentioned. Being raised LDS my family visited quite a few Deseret Book Stores (a book store that caters to the Mormon community) and may parents bought me several of the Lucky series of books by Dean Hughes. I can't recall how many of these I read but I do remember the first book Lucky's Crash Landing and the sequel Lucky Breaks Loose. These are just your normal kid slice of life books but this time the kid is LDS and so Church and church activities play a prominent role as does making the right choices and not disappointing Jesus. I mostly remember the first one got me interested enough in skateboarding to swipe my older brothers skateboard and try to teach myself how to skate.

I wasn't raised LDS, but I was raised evangelical, and these books sound familiar as hell. I looked up the covers and I'm pretty sure I had them, or at least encountered them at some point.
 
classics like Little House and its derivative series
. . .
The biggest series for me (before hp) was Archie Comics. Started with Veronica #4 and been a fan ever since

Everyone in my family talked up the Little House books and all my cousins loved them but I mainly remember them being boring.

I still have bins of Archie comics in the garage. Definitely a hundred of them, maybe two?

I also was really into the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog and even had a subscription for a bit iirc. This was pretty early in the run before it went...the places it went (I don't think Knuckles had even been introduced yet; I mostly liked it for its similarity to the more serious cartoon).

Yeah, I had a subscription to this too, I think I quit not long after Knuckles showed up? I remember randomly picking up an issue years later and learning Sally was essentially stripped of her power which sucked because she was awesome.

Church and church activities play a prominent role as does making the right choices and not disappointing Jesus. I mostly remember the first one got me interested enough in skateboarding to swipe my older brothers skateboard and try to teach myself how to skate.

Thou shalt shred.

I forgot the other big one if we're doing comics and stuff: Zoobooks. Tried to draw a lot of that art myself, it was so neat to see.

I also had a series of books that I cannot remember any more. Each hardcover book went into a specific science or engineering subject, the covers were mainly white but each subject had a stripe of a specific color. There was one about planes, and little comics explaining things which in retrospect might have been Japanese. I remember a comic about trucks and buses, and how moving the engines to the back made it easier for drivers to see pedestrians. One comic had a sad-looking truck about to hit someone, then a happy looking truck (or bus?) with a bunch of pedestrians going through a crosswalk in front. Most of the comics had a boy with black hair and a bowl cut, I think he might have been consistent across all the books? Damn this is going to drive me crazy.
 
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Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
I also had a series of books that I cannot remember any more. Each hardcover book went into a specific science or engineering subject, the covers were mainly white but each subject had a stripe of a specific color. There was one about planes, and little comics explaining things which in retrospect might have been Japanese. I remember a comic about trucks and buses, and how moving the engines to the back made it easier for drivers to see pedestrians. One comic had a sad-looking truck about to hit someone, then a happy looking truck (or bus?) with a bunch of pedestrians going through a crosswalk in front. Most of the comics had a boy with black hair and a bowl cut, I think he might have been consistent across all the books? Damn this is going to drive me crazy.

I'm 99% sure you're talking about A Child's First Library of Learning.



I had several of these and they were some of my most cherished books. I read and re-read the Insect World one constantly. And you're right about them being Japanese. I remember thinking the same thing and looking at the credits, and that's exactly where they came from. Most of the bugs shown in the insect book were Japanese natives, which led me to some unrealistic expectations concerning what I might find in my backyard!
 

4-So

Spicy
I think my favorite find as a kid was the Prydain Chronicles books, from Lloyd Alexander. (The Book of Three, the High King, etc.) That would have been '92 or thereabouts, around the same time I discovered Final Fantasy 2 U.S. Those pared well together. Shel Silverstein's stuff was great too, especially Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic.

As a teenager, the original Star Wars "Thrawn" trilogy by Timothy Zahn comes to mind. Also went through an Anne Rice phase, likely because of the Interview movie, but the only one I really remember loving was The Queen of the Damned. The novelization of the Asimov story "Nightfall" was also something that stuck with me.
 
I'm 99% sure you're talking about A Child's First Library of Learning.



I had several of these and they were some of my most cherished books. I read and re-read the Insect World one constantly. And you're right about them being Japanese. I remember thinking the same thing and looking at the credits, and that's exactly where they came from. Most of the bugs shown in the insect book were Japanese natives, which led me to some unrealistic expectations concerning what I might find in my backyard!

AAAAAAHHHH you are amazing. Yes, that's it. I also remember being perplexed by the insects in that one! Dang, I wish I'd kept these. No idea where they went to along the way. Also I guess the boy's hair is brown not black but whatever.

Edit: Okay, 10 of them (and it seems to be 10 I remember having) are only $35 on eBay. I've been mentioning my vague memory of these books for years, done.
 
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Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
I'm 99% sure you're talking about A Child's First Library of Learning.

I had several of these and they were some of my most cherished books. I read and re-read the Insect World one constantly. And you're right about them being Japanese. I remember thinking the same thing and looking at the credits, and that's exactly where they came from. Most of the bugs shown in the insect book were Japanese natives, which led me to some unrealistic expectations concerning what I might find in my backyard!
I had a giant set of those! My parents actually kept a few of them, which my son has read at their house.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
Did anyone else ever read Michael Stackpole's The DragonCrown War series?

I was big into Stackpole's Star Wars books, and after I finished those I tracked down his other fiction (by tracked down I mean "put it on my Christmas list for Mom to get me"). In middle school, I really liked the DragonCrown War and Talion: Revenant. Embarrassingly, Talion made me cry at the end (briefly, the book alternates chapters between the 'present,' where the protagonist is a fantasy cop trying to stop an assassination, and the 'past' as he trains to be a fantasy cop with his love interest, who is not in the present. The reveal near the end is
the Protagonist was the Prince of a country that the man he is protecting destroyed, and his love interest is the assassin trying to kill him to get revenge for the protagonist, who is forced to stop her
. A reread a few years ago showed that it wasn't actually a very good book, but it got 14 year old me.)

I read the DragonCrown War at just the right, or wrong, time. They started coming out when I was in 7th grade. It is the most generic fantasy I can think of; it has just every cliche you can think of. But I still really liked it. It kind of irrevocably set in my mind what fantasy should be. The prequel book, Dark Glory War, feels like a prequel, but also does some stuff that is really interesting (spoilers, the good guys lose).
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
AAAAAAHHHH you are amazing. Yes, that's it. I also remember being perplexed by the insects in that one! Dang, I wish I'd kept these. No idea where they went to along the way. Also I guess the boy's hair is brown not black but whatever.

Edit: Okay, 10 of them (and it seems to be 10 I remember having) are only $35 on eBay. I've been mentioning my vague memory of these books for years, done.

Yesssss glad to be of service
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him and such)
Book fairs were something I approached with utmost excitement and anticipation. That's where I came across Animorphs, probably the most personally influential fiction I read in my youth. I can't recommend it enough to anyone who missed it back in the day. It's a bit hamstrung by its format (lots of filler, and lots of needing to recap the premise in every book), but it tackles some heavy stuff while also doing some great world- and species-building.

Bruce Coville's work was also something I was always on the lookout for. I have particularly strong memories of the magic shop books and Goblins in the Castle. I recall one of his magic shop books being the first fiction I interacted with that featured a gay character.

I really enjoyed Patricia Wrede's Dragons books. They had lots of fun with their rules on magic and mystical properties, particularly how different spells, objects, and creatures interacted when thrown into the mix together.

There's plenty of other stuff that has been mentioned several times that I was into, like Goosebumps, Louis Sachar's work (Dogs Don't Tell Jokes is one that doesn't get talked about too often), and Harry Potter.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
Frog and Toad are Cool Bros - A Level 2 Book

I had got a book as a very small tyke from an aunt about a man who went on a long journey for treasure, only to return home and find it was hidden in his house. I lost it a long, long time ago and cannot remember anything else about it other than the artwork looked “European”. Anyone else have a similar book?
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I had read every single Jules Verne book by the time I was 13. Every one. Even "París in the XX Century" which is boring as heck and the one book nobody remembers what's about after they've read it and I will always misremember as "Miguel Stroganoff".

(my favorite is 80 Days because, racial politics of the time aside, it's the one that holds up the most and the twist at the end is just brilliant in its context)

And then by the time I was 15 I had caught up on everything from Asimov that was available in my country. As you can deduce, that one had quite a lasting impact. Consciously and sunconsciously. It wasn't until a few years ago that my platonic female character archetype (red-haired intellectual martial arts monk) was a freaking Asimov character. Shouldn't have read Prelude to Foundation when I was 12.
 

Dracula

Plastic Vampire
(He/His)
And then by the time I was 15 I had caught up on everything from Asimov that was available in my country. As you can deduce, that one had quite a lasting impact. Consciously and sunconsciously. It wasn't until a few years ago that my platonic female character archetype (red-haired intellectual martial arts monk) was a freaking Asimov character. Shouldn't have read Prelude to Foundation when I was 12.

Dors, right? I also have a fondness for Arkady, as well as Susan Calvin. Asimov may not have written a great many female characters, but he did have a few memorable ones. I'm pretty sure I read Prelude around that same age. I have a set of the Foundation novels with the matching Michael Whelan covers lined up on my desk. Incidentally, when I first started joining internet forums and stuff, around age 14 or 15, I often used the handle "Positronic Man."
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I had a little cardboard box that I converted into a Fighting Fantasy kit

I found this:



Still ready for action! I couldn’t get a clear shot of it, but there’s a cardboard divider I stuck down the middle of the box so that the upper half opens through the flap in the photo and the lower half is sealed closed. Presumably there are some pencil shavings in there.
 
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