Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Books of My Childhood

I’m often asked to guest blog, and while I love doing it I fear I might have to cut back. I’m running out of ideas for my own blog. However, one of my more recent guest posts really made me think about the books I read as a child and inspired today’s post.

Over on Editorial Ass Moonrat has been doing a series of guest posts on celebrating reading and those books that have meant something to us. When writing my post I immediately thought of the books of my childhood, as did a lot of other posters. The post I did for Moonrat, which can be read here, talked about a book that I still love today and that has meant a lot to me. But it wasn’t easy to choose. There were so many books I read as a child that meant a lot to me and so many that I think helped define who I am today. So I thought I’d share a few others with you, those books that I still think about from time to time and want everyone to read and enjoy as much as I did.

One of my all-time favorites is A Wrinkle in Time. I had the pleasure of buying this book last Christmas for my eight-year-old niece and I was so excited to introduce her to Meg. Meg was someone I admired greatly. Brave, smart, strong . . . who didn’t want to be Meg? I haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time in years, but I still think about it, and its sequels, often. And a bonus, my niece loved the book. Oh, what to buy her next?

If you’ve never met Betsy, Tacy or Tib you must read the Deep Valley books by Maud Hart Lovelace. There is a small but incredibly loyal readership for this series (they even have a fan club on linkedin.com). The great thing for me is that Deep Valley is actually based on the town next to my hometown in Minnesota, but the greater thing was that Betsy was a hero for me. A burgeoning writer with spunk and determination, she was the little girl I always hoped to be and Tacy was a lot like my best friend Melissa.

And being a Minnesota girl, how could I resist Laura Ingalls Wilder? I read every book at least twice and even remember my parents reading Little House in the Big Woods to me before I was old enough to read such a “big book.” Again, another writer . . . do you see a theme here with my heroines? And again, a heroine with spunk and determination. Growing up in the '70s I was lucky enough to read the books and then watch the show (talk about cheesy), and the best part for me was that I could always tell everyone where the show went wrong because that wasn’t what really happened.

And last I’m going to pick Anne of Green Gables. Yes, I know, another writer. This one a feisty, smart redhead with a mind of her own. I think Anne is one of the greatest girls in literature. She had adventure, spirit and bright red hair. I read the entire series through and loved every book.

I find it interesting that as a child my favorite books were so often historical. Sure I read Nancy Drew and the younger version, Trixie Belden, but I rarely read contemporary or commercial YA of my time, sticking primarily to the classics. I’m looking forward to introducing my niece to these same girls and can’t wait to hear what she thinks.

But what about you? What were some of the your greatest book memories from childhood, and if you were passing down just a few of your favorites to a new generation, what would you choose?

Jessica

60 comments:

lucy said...

I loved all of those. Though frankly, when I was reading Nancy Drew, in the '70s, they *were* historical, at least to me --- set in the '50s or '60s (not sure), it felt like a very different time and place.

Keri Ford said...

My grandpa gave me Shel Silverstein's A Light In The Attic and I read it so much that my hardback cover is worn! I had to store it in my hope chest (he wrote some things on the inside) and buy myself a new copy and all the other books he wrote. My husband would read them to my stomach when I was pregnant and the rhythms always got the baby to move around.

As far as actual books with a plot, I remember Where the Red Fern Grows (sob!) the most, though I haven't read it since the teacher made us watch the movie and I understood a lot more of what was going on.

beverley said...

Oh my goodness, A Wrinkle In Time was the best and I can't tell you how much I loved the older Trixie Belden books. Of course Nancy Drew was standard, and don't forget Beverly Cleary (Henry, Ramona, Beezus) even though those I read when I was younger. I have a list that just goes on.

Kathleen Irene Paterka said...

Jessica,

Thanks so much for bringing memories bubbling to the surface.

For me, it was the Trixie Belden mystery series. I was 8 years old when my mother bought me SECRET OF THE MANSION and THE GATEHOUSE MYSTERY. First books I ever read by myself that didn't contain pictures. Difficult reading for a little kid, but the stories were so great, the characters so real, I had to keep reading. I gobbled those books down just like chocolate. No, they were BETTER than chocolate.

The Trixie Belden series turned me into a reader. And that's when I decided, back when I was 8 years old, that someday I would be like Julie Campbell and write books, too.

-KATHLEEN IRENE PATERKA

Kimber An said...

Running out of ideas? Well, here, I'll help you out. Please, answer these questions from YOUR obervations only.
1) Aside from Young Adult and Inspirational, must a Romance novel contain explicit sex scenes to be published these days?
2) How is Science Fiction Romance doing these days?
3) Is Time Travel Romance dead?
4) How is Women's Fiction doing these days?
5) What genre/subgenre do you see gaining popularity or remaining strong?
6) What's the dog-honest truth - do agents/editors what 'fresh and original' or 'same old thing, but with a new twist?'
7) As a reader, I'm sick of 'Dark & Gritty.' Have you heard of any fun, humorous, and adventurous novels coming out?

8) How do I teach my kid not to talk with her mouth full if I have to talk with my mouth full to tell her not to?

MaryF said...

Trixie Belden was my all time favorite. I recently rebuilt my library of all the books (now to find time to reread them!)

I'd read all the Laura Ingalls books by the time I was in 4th grade. Imagine me now, a 4th grade teacher, unable to get my students the least bit interested!

My grandmother enrolled me in a book club where all the books were about horses. My favorite book, outdated even when I read it, was Dark Sunshine, about a girl with polio who gets a wild mustang and tames it.

Then there was the book about best friends who were writing a romance, called Two Are Better Than One. I recently rediscovered it online and read it last summer. As good as I remembered!

I remember loving A Wrinkle in Time, but when I tried to read it to my class, well, they were bored.

I even read some Janet Daileys when I was in middle school, the Harlequins. Loved those, too!

Kimber An said...

P.S. I was totally into Lucy Maud Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder too. There just wasn't enough books with adventurous girls in them where I grew up. Today's girls are so lucky. I've found some great stuff in Fantasy Historicals lately.

julcree said...

Superfudge! I had trouble reading before discovering this book--I made my mom read it to me until she was sick of it and then I had to learn to read it myself.

Jessica said...

My absolute favorites of elementary/middle school years? These are books I read more than once. Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Little Princess and Little Women. Of course I read other YA (Sweet Valley, Babysitter's Club, SE Hinton, Norma Fox Mazer, etc.)but these were ones I read over and over.
Thanks for bringing up warm memories. :-)

Loren Eaton said...

John Christopher's Tripods Trilogy, particularly The White Mountains.

Christina said...

"Freckle Juice" was one of my favorite childhood books. It made me a lifelong Judy Blume fan. Oh, and I can't forget all of the Ramona Forever series by Beverly Clearly.

Lorra said...

Like you, Jessica, I loved the Anne of Green Gables books. But if I had to name my favorite, I'd say it was the "Silver Chief, Dog of the North" series and "Little Black Ant."

Although written long before I was born, both books remain indelibly inscribed on my brain. I can clearly picture the snow swirling around Silver Chief, a wolf hybrid, whose master patiently domesticates him, eventually going on hair-raising adventures with him. Reading those books, I was enthralled.

Little Black Ant takes the young reader into the ant colony in much the same way Watership Down takes the adult or young adult into the rabbit warren, weaving in factual information while drawing us in with anthropomorphized creatures. I remember impressing my father with my encylopoedic knowledge of life in an ant colony, including their mode of communication which involves intertwining feelers. I bet I read that ant book ten times. Weird, I know, but still a wonderful memory.

Anonymous said...

I fell in love with Nancy drew in grade four with The Secret of Shadow Ranch.....love Tom Sawyer, The Black Stallion....when I was younger, loved The Secret Garden and sigh, The Velveteen Rabbit! I am thrilled to say my 8 year old is ripping through a ton on Nancy Drew....she loves reading as much as I do!
And LOL...I remember my first Harlequin as being a Janet Dailey....think I was probably 12 or so.......

Cat Schield said...

I was a complete horse nut growing up. Walter Farley's stories about The Black were my favorite. I loved Nancy Drew, anything written by Phyllis Whitney. I loved mysteries. George McDonald started me on my love of fantasy with The Princess and the Goblin.

December/Stacia said...

Oh, I loved Betsy, Tacy, and Tib! I devoured those books and reread them dozens of times. I actually had a copy of BT&T autographed by Maud Hart Lovelace--I have no idea what happened to it, and that just kills me.

Didn't enjoy them when they got older, though, sadly. I tried several times to read Heavens to Betsy and just couldn't get into it. I've thought I should go back and give it another try one of these days, though.

spyscribbler said...

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Anne of Green Gables, yes! Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre were big ones. Probably my favorite, though, was the Narnia series. I read them over and over and over. I wanted to LIVE in Narnia (pooh on the symbolism/allegory/whatever!). One day, I sat on my bed and bawled for hours, just because I couldn't go to Narnia. My mother was a little stunned and had no idea what to say, LOL.

JES said...

Jeez, for some reason I never got around to reading all these books when I was a boy. :)

However, I think I can cite The Missus's influences: Trixie Belden, absolutely (I knew of Nancy Drew but had never heard of Trixie before), and just about anything with animal protagonists or major characters -- Albert Payson Terhune's "Lad" books, Black Beauty, etc.

Anonymous said...

What to buy your 8 year old niece now? A Wind in the Door, of course. I'm buying Many Waters for a young friend's birthday tomorrow.

I never got into the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries. (I can hear the shocked gasps) I loved The Three Investigators series. Why? They were too young to drive, rode on their bikes until their leader won the use of a limo. They had a secret hideout, business cards, and a friendship with Alfred Hitchcock. What's not to love?

I also loved the Narnia books. And the Lloyd Alexander books - especially the Prydain books. Eilonwy was a sword carrying princess!

And around the age 12 I, too, started reading Harlequins. I read them for the dreamy guys and the exotic lands.

Lehcarjt said...

I too was a Walther Farley nut. I read them all a million times. My 7 year old has just started them. Oh the nostalgia.

Still, the book that made me fall in love with books... the book I read over and over again till it turned into confetti... the book I replaced four times... was The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. I was 11/12ish and I still remember where I purchased it - literally where on the bookshelf it was when I first saw it. It was that big of a moment for me.

Michele Dunaway said...

Isn't that amazing? I still have all my original Nancy Drew books. I loved Trixie. A Wrinkle in Time was okay...I preferred The Giver and all the J.R.R. Tolkien books.

My daughter, who is brilliant and tested post high school in all things reading (she's also 13 and not even to 8th grade yet) hated A Wrinkle in Time. She thought Nancy Drew too babyish and easy to figure out. (I also think she hated it because she read it for school in one day, understood it, and had 3 weeks more of school lessons on it.) So we really don't connect on books except for mystery: she loves Agatha Christie.

I also loved the Secret Garden and the Little Princess.

Michele

Melinda Leigh said...

In grade school, it was the Black Stallion series and Nancy Drew. Later I fell in love with Jane Eyre, which I still read at least once a year.

Natalie said...

The Chronicles of Narnia will always be the first series of books that I remember from my childhood. I loved them and read them all several times.

I also remember liking Bridge to Terebithia, my first experience with a "sad" ending.

And then The Giver--that one had a big impact on me.

Fawn Neun said...

I really didn't care for the "girly" books when I was a kid. I preferred the more gender neutral classics, like Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web and the Boxcar Children. I've read a few Nancy Drews, but I had no interest in the Little Women or Little House type books.

As I hit the double digits, I preferred more young-adult type books, particularly Julie of the Wolves or Island of the Blue Dolphin plus the Jack London books. I think the one that influenced me the most was "Number Four" by Molly Cone, which is a very obscure little book about a Native American boy. I really liked gritty survival stories and morally conflicting stories and some ambiguity. Never been a "happily ever after" kind of person, even as a child.

Around 11 or 12, I just started reading adult titles, usually science fiction and fantasy.

Kim said...

My favorite book was Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphin, which I first read at 8 and re-read so often, the book fell apart.

And I loved the Trixie Belden series - absolutely adored them!

ahh... memories!

beverley said...

Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? Who can possibly forget that? Oh and The Chrysalids (which might have been only a Canadian thing, not sure)

Scott said...

I read all the time, but some of my favorite books as a kid were Tom Sawyer, The Cay, The Enormous Egg, The Hardy Boys, a football book called The Rookie, The Wind In The Willows, and probably several others that are slipping my mind at the moment.

Sheila Connolly said...

Yes, yes and yes, to Nancy Drew, and Anne of Green Gables, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Interesting how many of those feature spirited, independent girls? I'd have to add Little Women (I identified with Jo, of course).

And one book that had a major impact on me was The Once and Future King, which I read (all three inches of it) when I was about 11. Certainly the history sailed right over my head, but it was a riveting story told on many levels.

My daughter works in a non-chain bookstore now, with a wonderful selection of children's books. And luckily I have a one-year-old great-nephew, so he's going to be getting regular shipments.

Karen Duvall said...

I loved BORN FREE and also PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. Oh, can't forget JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. All of these were favorites.

Esther Jade said...

I also adored A Wrinkle in Time and the Anne books. Two other books that I adored and read so many times their spines were falling to pieces were Lady Daisy by Dick King Smith and Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield.

Vivi Anna said...

The Narnia series
The Chrysalids
Charlotte's Web
All Judy Blume
Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys
The Hobbit
1984
Animal Farm

then it was on to Stephen King when I was 11/12.

Kim Lenox said...

Jessica,

I loved, loved, loved the Lovelace books!! Sigh! I remember also, there were some 50's era summer camp romances I really enjoyed. At the time, I was a freckly eleven-year-old with a Dorothy Hamill haircut, and those "first kiss" stories were just thrilling to me.

I remember A WRINKLE IN TIME being the first book that really stretched my brain.

I loved Nancy Drew -- they were very comfortable reads. I spent a summer going to our small town library and checking them out one by one until I'd read them all. I also loved the old Cherry Ames nursing series, and the Dana girls mysteries.

Keri, I remember dissolving into a tearful mess on the school bus reading WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS ...

One writer I haven't seen mentioned much is Lois Duncan. I loved her books! I still have my old copies of SUMMER OF FEAR and DOWN A DARK HALL on my shelf here. Spoooooky!

Shelley said...

One day in grade school, when I was chatting too much with a friend in the library, (because I thought the library was boring) the librarian came up to me and took my hand, led me to a shelf and pulled out The Pink Motel. "I think you'll like this," she said, "and you'll read it over here." She placed me at a table by myself, far from conversational distraction. I had no choice but to begin the book. Within pages I fell in love.

It is the book that led me through the portal to a lifetime of reading. It’s about a very white bread family who inherits a brilliantly pink motel in the heart of the Florida Everglades. The motel attracts visitors as strange as its color. The family plan is to paint it and sell it, but before that can happen they are drawn into the quirky life of the motel, and they end up the ones who “change color.”

I don't see it around today, but think it is well deserving of a comeback.

Anonymous said...

In the seventh grade, we had a competition to see who could read the most Newberry Award books. Island of the Blue Dolphins, Julie of the Wolves, Jacob Have I Loved, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. I burst into tears when I finished Walk Two Moons. Bridge to Terabithia and A Wrinkle in Time were in this group.

I devoured a dozen easily and won hands down. I still read the Newberry winners.

Kate Douglas said...

My parents were members of the Doubleday Book Club, and I remember reading their adult books when I was ten or eleven, and I used to love the Readers Digest condensed books. I've never read Anne of Green Gables or many of the children's classics, though I've read all of Mark Twain. By the time I was twelve, if it wasn't a story about horses, it was science fiction. There was one series I loved as a kid, but I've forgotten the title--does anyone remember a series about a young boy who finds a small shop where he ends up getting whisked off to adventures in the Caribbean or on sailing ships with pirates? This would have been popular back in the mid 1950s, possibly very early sixties. I remember waiting anxiously for the next one to show up at the Bookmobile, and would love to know what they were.

Tanguera said...

Anne of Green Gables is definitely one of my favourites. I'm a fiery red-head and she struck a deep chord with me, helping me accept who I was.

I also would choose A Wrinkle in Time and any other book in the series. Meg was such a wonderful heroine.

Another favourite is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Of course, I also read all the Nancy Drew books. And does any one else remember the Bobbsey Twins?

Chumplet said...

Besides A Wrinkle in Time (I'm still trying to get my daughter to read it), I focused on the Walter Farley and Margeurite Henry books because I'm horse crazy.

I couldn't have a horse, so I lived through those books and imagined a pony in my back yard.

Jessica said...

It's amazing how many favorite books we share. I also Loved Bridge to Terabithia and I think it was the first book I read with a sad ending. (Besides Little Women).
I really liked Silver by Norma Fox Mazer, though I never got into her other books. THere's just so many wonderful stories!
Julie of the Wolves is a story I still think about. I remeber enjoying Gary Paulsen. and Love SE Hinton's stuff.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Besides series like the Baby-Sitters Club, a lot of my favorite childhood books were historical as well. My absolute favorite book as a child was ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS, and I loved everything else by Scott O'Dell. (I picked up Island because it had dolphins in the title, actually, and I'm a huge cetacean lover, so when O'Dell put out VENUS AMONG THE FISHES, I was in heaven.) I really loved JACKAROO by Cynthia Voigt as well, and a lot of classics- ROBINSON CRUSOE, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, BLACK BEAUTY, LITTLE WOMEN, THE SECRET GARDEN, etc. Other favorites included THE SECRET OCEANS, JULIE OF THE WOLVES, the Wayside School books, THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN, and all of the Chronicles of Narnia. I could go on forever. I was such a bookish little kid.

JES said...

Shelley: Amazon has The Pink Hotel. I like the sound of it!

robinellen said...

Books I'd pass down: MEET THE AUSTINS series (though I also loved the Time books by L'Engle); THE KEEPING DAYS series (by Norma Johnston) -- I loved all her books; LINNETS AND VALERIANS (by Elizabeth Goudge, my first reading love, I think); and I'd have to second ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

I also loved THOSE MILLER GIRLS and subsequent books (by Alberta Constant).

MaryF said...

See, I did NOT like Bridge to Teribithia. Wouldn't even see the movie.

Marguerite Henry was the author of the Misty of Chincoteague books, right? I still want to go to Chincoteague island. And I remember reading Stephen King in middle school - Salem's Lot scared the bejeebers out of me.

I loved Little Women, too. The more you mention the more I remember. Lois Lenski books, too. I remember going to the school library one morning a week during summer vacation, one of my favorite summer memories.

And remember getting the paper book orders at school?

Now I'm excited because I just came home with the new Nora....some things never change.

MaryF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robena Grant said...

When I was young I read Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables, then borrowed my brothers Hardy Boys. I had a library card and a bike, I read anything and everything. Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped, loved The Yearling, I still have a copy in my library.
Later on in my early teens, I chose stories set in Scotland and Ireland. They tended to be dark from what I recall, probably gothic and all angsty romance. Then I started on my mother's books, Wuthering Heights, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice.
When a baby is born in my family I always give books. Goodnight Moon, Pat the Bunny, Chicken Soup with Rice, those are three of my favorites. My cat used to cry every time she had to go in the car. I'd recite Goodnight Moon and she'd relax. Grin.

Julia said...

Second the Pink Motel love. Another very obscure book I loved as a kid was Apples Every Day, a Canadian YA about an alternative boarding school.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder (The Egypt Game, The Headless Cupid, and others) was a huge favorite of mine as a kid.

And E.L. Konigsburg--of course The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but my favorite of hers was Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me. Oo, wait, maybe it was actually A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver!

And Joan Aiken. I don't even know if I have a favorite--I love all her books so much.

And I loved those little orange biographies of famous people that focused on their childhoods--my family's joke name for those was John Wilkes Booth, Boy Assassin.

Kate Douglas said...

MaryF wrote: "Marguerite Henry was the author of the Misty of Chincoteague books, right?"

Mary, this made me smile. I just passed on my Misty of Chincoteague books to my granddaughter!

sruble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KL Grady said...

My favorite books up to age 10 were Nancy Drew, a few Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a smattering of Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary, and every ghost story or monster book I could find in the school library. When I realized I'd checked out every book in the "weird" section, I ventured into my mom's stack of books and discovered Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Lavyrle Spencer. Then that horror boom happened, and wow. So long YA section.

It seems like I missed out on a lot of really good YA. I thought about reading books like A Wrinkle in Time but never had the opportunity. Maybe I can go back to them if the publishing industry ever stops putting out such awesome books.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, where do I start? The Little House books, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, all filled my earlier years. Then I discovered Shakespeare, and Dickens, and Tolkien (I do consider him a Master!), and of course, Steven King! Not to mention Heinlein, Asimov, McCaffrey, et al. If I had to pick, I'd have to say Tolkien, McCaffrey, and our beloved Jane Austen probably had the most profound influence on me. What can I say? I love to read!

Katie

Anonymous said...

I remember going on the book mobile in middle school to get R.L. Stine's fearstreet books. I also loved, loved, loved "Summer of the Swans". It was the first book I can recall that made me cry.

Cara Carnes said...

I devoured Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown. I must have been a detective in a former life. I also loved Little Women and A Wrinkle In Time.

But I also started borrowing the romance books my family was reading at an early age.

I do think my first book was either Pat the Bunny or Benji. Those Little Golden books were my best friend for the longest time.

Aimless Writer said...

Running out of blog ideas? (I know this pain) How about a round of Q & A?
I'd like to know if small presses like Wild Rose Press are a good place to start as a new writer?
If a person has E-book credits are they just as good as print book credits?

Or update us on your list favs? Brag a bit about your authors? Perhaps "Author Wednesday"?

How about details on what it takes to build an author's career? What do you do on your side and what do you expect your dream author would do?

Nic said...

"Secret world" books: Narnia, The Secret Garden, a Wrinkle in Time, The Egypt Game, Bridge to Terabithia

Fantasy: Chronicles of Prydain, Song of the Lioness

Animals: Dr. Doolittle, Redwall, Watership Down, The Black Stallion

Spunky girls: Anne of Green Gables, Little Women (only the first half though, I never forgave Amy for marrying Laurie...)

beverley said...

I nearly forgot Agatha Christie (the best mystery writer EVER) and Pippi Longstockings!

And those Scholastic first love kind of books were sooooo great. Lord, I'm really reminiscing today.

Jim Carroll, CRNA said...

I read everything I could find about windjammers. All the Hornblower ones. I read Britannica Junior because, as a really bad kid, I got stuck in "that" corner of the room, and "that" corner conveniently adjoined the place where Brit Jr. was shelved.

I read Little Women. I read a story about a girl from Prince Edward Island, but she was NOT Anne of Green Gables, but I'll be derned if I remember her name or the title of the book.

I read Nancy Drew, and a great yarn about some kids that got stuck on a spaceship going to Phobos, a place in space (again, I don't remember the name of the book).

And I read the dictionary. Just to be weird, but I've never regretted the effort. Anything to avoid paying attention to the teachers, and even though it didn't really pay off until GRE time, pay off it eventually did.

Jim

JDuncan said...

A Wrinkle in Time is certainly up at the top of my list. Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, Patricia McKillip, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Once I hit middle school, it was almost all fantasy ready for me. That was the era when Dungeons and Dragons first came out, which certainly sparked my imagination in that direction. But it was the Covenant books that inspired my first effort at writing, so perhaps that is why they should be my number one childhood books.

JDuncan

Heather B. Moore said...

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Kathleen Dante said...

Enid Blyton, I think I read most of her series. EIGHT COUSINS by Louisa May Alcott. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, Encyclopedia Brown. I remember borrowing a Nancy Drew from the school library before the start of classes, then returning it at the end of the day completely read. I have to agree with Lucy; Nancy Drew read like a historical to me. I started reading Mills & Boons in grade school because of the exotic locations, and scandalized my teachers.

bob said...

I was a big fan of "Encyclopedia Brown" and "The Great Brain" series. I also go back to "A Wrinkle in Time" every three or four years, as well as "The Phantom Tollbooth."

Kate Douglas said...

I just remembered another set of books I read from beginning to end--The Book of Knowledge! I wish I still had them, though I imagine the "knowledge" is a bit out of date! I could sit and read those for hours on end, and eventually read the entire set. There were about twenty-five volumes.

Anonymous said...

There is a very active Betsy-Tacy Society. I hope you come to Mankato, MN one day to visit Betsy's (Maud's) childhood home.