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Favorite Books from Your Childhood

Discussion in 'Pop Culture Board' started by Mexicutioner, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. Mexicutioner

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    All this Twilight nonsense started making me remember all the books I used to read when I was a pre-teen and a teenager. None of it was as bad as Twilight, thankfully.

    One author I always enjoyed was Christopher Pike, who wrote mostly teen horror novels. I always found these to be well written and am thinking about picking up a few of them for novelty's sake. Some of my favortes were The Midnight Club, The Last Vampire series [which is a series of books centered around vampires that were actually not trite], Fall Into Darkness [which got turned into a Tatyana Ali movie hilariously enough] and Execution of Innocence.

    Aside from that, I also thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter series, and mostly read sports nonfiction books [usually about baseball, professional wrestling, and boxing]. Some of my favorite sports-related books growing up were Mick Foley's Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, and Irish Thunder: The Hard Life & Times of Micky Ward.

    Focus: What were some of your favorite books growing up? I'm talking the 10-18 age part of your life mainly.
     
  2. manbehindthecurtain

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    There are three I think of immediately.

    Hatchet - The story of survival of a young boy whose plane crashes in the woods and has to fend for himself and learn survival skills on the fly.

    My Side of the Mountain - Similar story of a boy who decides to run away from his life in the city and live in the wilderness, captures a young peregrine falcon and trains it for hunting and companionship, and lives in a hollowed out tree trunk.

    Maniac Maggee - A young orphan grows up in the city and surrounding suburbs of Philadelphia moving from foster families to informal caretakers, learning how to live on his own and exploring the city and always moving on, always running.

    As for vampire/fantasy fiction, I picked up my sister's copies of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles when I was 13 or 14, and I can say those vampires would beat the shit out of all this nancy-boy teenage angst Twilight garbage.
     
  3. PoppaBear

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    I've got a couple series for the list:

    R.L. Stein's Goosebumps series. It was pretty good--it was comprised of teenage horror novels.

    K.A Applegate's Animorphs series. Boy, where to start with this one. First real series I got into, really immersed in. Hell, I even bought the video games for it. I thought that morphing into an animal was so fucking awesome. This series also got me afraid of slugs (The yeerks were like slugs. I tore through those books and it made me feel so good about myself (there were 51 in total I think).

    And the best for last. THE definitive youth novels:

    Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School series. This was compromised of 3 novels: Sideways Stories From Wayside School, Wayside School Is Falling Down and Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger.

    They were amazing. I read them again this summer at the beach, and I laughed as hard as I did 10 years ago. I encourage all to read this series, with (or without) your children. They are small, zany (yes, that's a good word to describe them) novels that you can easily read in a day--two hours tops. And you'll be glad that you did.
     
  4. Benzilla

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    I enjoyed The Giver. It confuses some people because it's not quite science fiction and not quite fantasy but I really got into it. The setting was familiar, yet alien, and completely enveloping.
     
  5. walt

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    My Side of the Mountain was great. I wanted to run off and live in the woods on my own anyway, so it was a good fit. I also read The Tracker by Tom Brown Jr when I was 13, which greatly influenced how I spent my time as a teen.

    I used to read a lot of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.

    I remember reading Animal Farm when I was in 6th grade, and it sort of made sense. It's still one of my favorite books, and I have a better understanding of it of course.

    My earliest memory is of taking stacks of Peanuts comic books home from the Bookmobile, and I have stacks of them in my own library now. I guess you could say I'm a fan.
     
  6. zyron

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    Does anyone remember the books Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? I loved those books as a kid and they had these great Drawings for each different short story.
     
  7. Kerbunked

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    I read every single one of those books when I was growing up.

    I was also a huge nerd and my parents bought me condensed versions of all the classic novels. I was knee deep in Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, etc by the time I was 10.

    I will also second The Giver. That's one of my all time favorite books ever since our 5th grade teacher read it to our class.
     
  8. Crown Royal

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    The second Calvin & Hobbes book called Something Under The Bed Is Drooling was the first one I owned and it was an unflinching laugh riot from beginning to end. I have never seen anything connect with a child's imagination so hilariously (coming from Bill Watterson, who has no children). C & H is absolutely timeless, and isn't dated whatsoever. I had to re-buy this book (and pretty much the entire collection) twice because I dog-eared it so badly.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. KIMaster

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    The King's Fifth by Scott O'Dell- The weird thing is, I have absolutely HATED everything else I've ever read by O'Dell. They're predictable, stupid, and in a way, too politically correct. But wow, is this a GIANT exception. It was even my favorite book for a long time, and a genuinely great novel.

    The story is a flashback written by a teenage Spanish boy on trial for not giving the Spanish crown a fifth of the gold he supposedly found in the New World. Not only is it a swashbuckling adventure with unique, larger-than-life characters, but it's surprisingly realistic and somber, especially so for a book aimed at young adults.

    Anything by Sid Fleischmann, especially By The Great Horned Spoon- According to Wikipedia, the author worked as a professional magician, was in the US Naval reserve, and wrote screenplays for movies with George C Scott and John Wayne.

    It really showed in his writing; his stories are consistently funny, fast-paced, imaginative adventures about young male protagonists seeing the world, especially the Old West. His story about a boy and his butler from Boston becoming stowaways on a ship heading to California during the Gold Rush was his best work.

    The Three Musketeers, Dumas, and The Black Arrow, RL Stevenson-

    I read a lot of classical novels from the age of 5 onwards, but few were as thrilling and exciting as these two. Non-stop action, fights, incredible, brave warriors, supremely evil and capable villains, and an exhilarating sense of adventure.
     
  10. Currer Bell

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    When I was a kid, I always either had my head in a book or in the clouds.

    Three books I remember reading over and over as a preteen were:

    A Wrinkle In Time: I loved this story, it was quite a wild ride. It's about a brother, a sister, and neighbor boy who go looking for the brother and sister's science genius father, who is missing. With the help of three strange women, they jump through space and time through their version of a tesseract.

    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH: I'd watched the Secret of NIMH plenty of times on HBO, and it was no different when I decided to try the book. It's about a widowed field mouse who has three children and one of them has pneumonia. All the wild animals that live on the farm have to move from the field into the forest in the spring, before the farmer plows the field. But the doctor mouse says she can't move her child until he is better. She overcomes her timid mousiness to see the great owl and get advice. The owl tells her to ask the rats who live in the rose bush to help her move her cinderblock house to the lee of the stone. The story is all about her great courage as she faces adventures in her desire to save her son.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Same as the one above, I'd seen the movie and wanted to read the book. I think this story has become enough of a part of our pop culture that I don't need to tell you the plot.
     
  11. Marjorine

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    Yes to many of the ones already mentioned - Choose Your Own Adventure, Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Hatchet - but special mention does have to go to Roald Dahl, already mentioned as author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, creator of even darker stuff including: The BFG (giants eating children at night), The Witches (witches lurk among us, doing unimaginably torturous things to children), George's Marvellous Medicine (boy replaces Grandma's medicine with antifreeze, detergent and everything else he finds around the house) and Matilda, my personal favorite (little girl develops telekinetic powers and wreaks revenge on the adults who mistreated her). You can see Dahl's influence on the Harry Potter series, which is definitely what got me first hooked on Rowling's books.

    I read some of Roald Dahl's adult stuff when I was a kid and it disturbed me down to the core. I read it now and, yep, it's still pretty fucked up. Cannibalism (a recurring theme in a lot of his work), murder, torture, taxidermy, royal jelly... check it out some time.

    Additionally, the booked I loved most as a child was The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. So much better than the movie it's not even funny. I go back and read it every couple of years and still find it enormously entertaining.
     
  12. c_norris

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    No one mentioned Goodnight Moon, the most awesome bedtime story ever? Lame.

    Other favorites of all time are the Redwall series along with all of Brian Jacques' other books, Calvin and Hobbes (I have all the collections except for three I think), and the Goosebumps series (read all of 'em except 2, still looking for them)
     
  13. KIMaster

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    Heh, I think you named the three books I hated having to read in school the most, and which I would endlessly make fun of to my father when he asked what I was reading. I could go on a long, long rant on all three. Speaking of which, can we add an Anti-Focus of books that we HATED as children? That would be funny, also.

    Focus-

    Totally forgot, but as a kid, I loved

    The Sherlock Holmes series- I read every single one of the short stories and novels, and thought that Holmes' brilliant deductions were all realistic. I honestly couldn't get enough of this series, with is completely alien yet outstanding description of Victorian England, the eccentric genius that was Holmes, the perfect British gentleman/citizen that was Watson, and the exciting, bizarre murders and other crimes they had to solve.
     
  14. hawkeyenick

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    Where the Red Fern Grows - a book about a kid and his 2 hunting dogs. The first book to ever make me cry.

    The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring series - everyone has heard of them and hopefully read them, but they were great when I was young, and they remain great as an adult.

    I'll second/third/whatever both The Hatchet and The Giver, they were both excellent.
     
  15. Roboto

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    The White Stag by Kate Seredy.

    When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I thought this book was a really cool fantasy story with beautiful illustrations. It was a somewhat mythological account of the Huns and the Magyars as they made their way into Europe, their "promised land." The book follows several generations, and the leader for each generation is named after an eagle (the White Eagle of the Moon, the Twin Eagles, etc.). The conclusion of the book introduces the Red Eagle, who is of course Atilla. A few years later, I was amazed when I found out the Huns were actually real people.
     
  16. MooseKnuckle

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    I'll mention "My side of the mountain" too. My dad, who has probably only read a handful of book in his entire life, would talk non stop about it. After reading it, I secretly hoped that I would somehow get stranded in the wilderness for a few months.

    When I was in grade school, I remember we would have a reading program thing where we would win a free personal pan pizza from pizza hut for ever 5th or 10th or something book we read. They had a list of books to choose from and I would almost always choose from "The Stupids" series. I don't remember a whole lot about them except that they had a picture of a dog (I think) on the wall and it was labeled "cow" or something like that. I thought it was the funniest thing in the whole wide world.

    As far as the first "real books" that I got into, I would say that "To kill a mockingbird" and "Of mice and men" were my favorite. Probably the only 2 books that I have read more than once.
     
  17. PenetrationStation

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    You guys have mentioned a lot of really good ones. Funny how so many of us have read the same things. In France, for example, there is a national reading list, which every French citizen will have read by the time they graduate from high school. It's part of nation building. We have a very informal version of this in America's recommended reading and summer reading programs, but looking at your responses makes me think perhaps it works better than I thought.

    Yeah, I loved My Side of the Mountain, too. My partially formed brain was confused and angered by the sequel to the book, The Far Side of the Mountain, where Sam Gridley's independence is completely compromised by his bitch of a younger sister. The movie they made of this was utterly hilarious, instead of emphasizing Sam's resolve to live alone and for himself, he fervently sets off into the woods to produce a documentary about mushrooms.

    Hatchet was good but I was fixated on the part in the plane where Brian starts smelling the old pilot's farts during his heart attack. At 9 or 10 this was good for a laugh at every reading.

    Hardy Boys of course. Even after the ghostwriters took over and made the series far more adult (read: Joe's girlfriend, the beloved sister of portly Chet, being killed by a car bomb), this series still kicked ass. How else would I have known to cross my hands whenever criminals tie me up, allowing myself a little wriggle room to escape during the several hours I am left alone in a dark room along with my twin? I saved my whole collection for my son.

    Chip Hilton. My introduction to sports writing. Utterly cheesy but good.

    Everything by Chris Crutcher. Introduced me to adult themes like death, physical and sexual abuse, racism, and disability. Even though his books are written for adolescents I take something away every time I revisit them. Stotan and Running Loose, especially.

    Similarly, The Chocolate War and everything else by Robert Cormier. I still can't believe they had some of this stuff in my middle school library. One of his books is essentially a character study of a teenage sociopath killer. Another explores the aftermath of a witnessed rape and disfiguring war injury.

    Oh yeah, and anything by Wilbur Smith, Eric Van Lustbader, or Gary Jennings. My father's adventure novels provided excellent wanking material from 12 onwards. My towering adolescent intellect was stimulated by offhanded erotic prose far more than the naked figures I could call up over AOL. Man, I was a weird little fuck.
     
  18. rei

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    Already mentioned: Harry Potter, The Giver, Hatchet+Brians Winter+The River, Goosebumps, Wayside School series, Maniac Mcgee, and especally Animorphs

    I was really big into the star wars books starting from when I was in grade 5, and most of my friends thought the books were intimidatingly large. Books like Kevin J Anderson's Darksaber, Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy, and Michael A Stackpole's X Wing series.

    I always had a bit of a soft spot for a few Farley Mowat stories, specifically Owls in the Family and Lost in the Barrens (I got in fights with people at school because I called it that instead of 'Two Against the North'. I really should work on getting over my pedantic douche streak).

    There was another book about a fully coherent parrot, I think it was called Harry's Mad - that always entertained me.
     
  19. PIMPTRESS

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    All of these...and the entire Black Staliion series (shocker!).

    The entire Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series was in tatters.

    By 4th grade I was reading books like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and the like. My teachers hated how bored I was with the drivel they assigned.
     
  20. Mike Ness

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    I too loved the Harry Potter series, (easy to post in the anonymity of the board!)

    I also loved "All quiet on the Western Front"

    Let's shift a little, what books did you like that you were FORCED to read by the english department of your school?

    I loved, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I also enjoyed Animal Farm (that was 7th grade I think)

    I enjoyed the Great Gatsby as well.

    I could not stand To kill a Mockingbird and Red Badge of Courage, maybe it was the time of my life when I read them but they didn't do much for me.