Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Alexandra

What were your favorite books as a child/teen?

95 posts in this topic

Just out of curiosity, what were books you loved reading when you were growing up? I'd be interested in knowing, especially, childhood favorites and the first "grown up" books you read. I'll go third. :)

Share this post


Link to post

I remember always wanting to hear Dr. Seuss, it may have been the funny voices my Dad did reading them. And "Goodnight Moon", The Growing Tree, those were my most requested. I thought Judy Blume was adult reading, but I guess my first "real" book was "Rebecca" it was an elective "required reading" (we were given a list to choose from) that was in 7th grade and I was hooked on books from then.

Share this post


Link to post

I was always reading, and two books that I read while still in grammar school were Gibbon's Fall of the Roman Empire and Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. I still quote them, and dip back into them from time to time. My teachers had to break me of the habit of constructing compound/complex sentences in the 18th-century manner when I got to junior high. It was the diagramming that broke me of it!

Share this post


Link to post

My favourite 'baby' book is 'Go Dog Go'. It's so funny and witty, but with more heart than Dr. Seuss' books IMO.

Childhood books - I read incessantly so luckily there are so many series of children's books, Narnia, E. Nesbit, Louisa May Alcott, Chalet School, Sadlers' Wells stories (Veronica West), Noel Streatfield. Does anyone else know 'The Winter of Enchantment' by Victoria someone? A lovely fantasy. But also Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice. Good, bad, indifferent - my elder sister and I would read anything...

The first book I read which I felt was trult adult was Gone With The Wind during the summer between 6th and 7th grade. I've reread it many times since then, and I'm still forgiving of many of its faults.

P.S. Alexandra, I'm very rude posting third - but I don't think I'll be able to be online tomorrow

Share this post


Link to post

Great question!

I loved reading repeatedly Le Petit Prince (the Little Prince), Days of Ulanova, although I must say I probably looked at the pictures more than read, and anything Ayn Rand or Anais Nin when I was in my a budding adolescent of the late 60s early 70s. I still can re-read any of it anytime quite happily!

Share this post


Link to post

Ayn Rand -- now there's a forgotten name! (GWTW, by "I'll post third" I just meant that I didn't want to be first.)

I was also always reading -- anything. Golden Books, Grimm, Andersen (I prefered Grimm), Andrew Lang's books, a lot of my mother's and aunt's children's books, like "The Little Colonel" (all 15 of them) and the whole "Anne of Green Gables" series. And nearly all of the Landmark biographies -- and Winnie the Pooh, the poems. (I was also very fond of the war poems of Robert W. Service and Rupert Brooke :) )

My first "grown up" books were "Oliver Twist" and "Jane Eyre" when I was nine, and then I pretty much refused to go back to the children's section. My reading was heavily censored -- I had "Gone with the Wind" read to me the summer I was 12. I wasn't allowed to read it until I was 14. So I read a lot of nonfiction, especially biography. The most traumatic thing I read, at 11, was "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" -- I'd seen "Judgment at Nuremberg" and come out of it convinced by Maximilian Shell (who played the Nazi apologist) that the Germans were all nice guys just following orders. My aunt, who totally shaped my reading, marched me up to the attic and gave me her pre-War copy of "Mein Kampf" and then made me read "Rise and Fall" which had just come out, and then "The Tin Drum." An example of how family can counteract pop culture (vis a vis another thread).

I forgot -- Calliope, I also LOVED "Rebecca" I first read it when I was ten and thought that growing up, going to Monte Carlo and marrying Maxim De Winter was a viable career path. :) I've read it several times since then, and knew I'd finally grown up (at about 35) when I could read the scene where she stuffs the broken china in the back of the drawer without blushing -- I'd have done exactly the same thing. I think I read all of DuMaurier after that, and she wrote about 24 books.

Share this post


Link to post

How could I forget the Anne books?!!

Are the Andrew Lang books the Golden Book, Blue Book, etc.? If so, they were always referenced in the E. Nesbit books, and I never found them in book shops.

Share this post


Link to post

My favorite reading as a child was an illustrated volume called "Who's Who in Baseball." There was a new edition every season and my older brother bought it for me for maybe six years in row. I wish I still had them.

The first book I had to read for school that I remember enjoying was "David Copperfield." That didn't lead to any great passion for Dickens, though. I loved James Thurber's "Fables for Our Time" and "Thurber Carnival." I attempted "Anna Karenina,"at an early age and though almost all of it was over my head, I liked the few parts that weren't.

Share this post


Link to post

My first adult read was Jane Eyre in seventh grade, and I loved it. Then Rebecca in eighth grade - the first book that I read where I could not go to sleep until I finished it. (My teenage daughter had the same reaction at the same age!) I never enjoyed any of the other DuMaurier books as much.

As a younger child I was a Walter Farley fan, and read all the Black Stallion and Island Stallion books over and over (pretty bizarre actually since I am kind of afraid of horses...)

Share this post


Link to post

Calliope, we seem to be on some bizarre wave-length today :)

Dr. Seuss and "Good Night Moon" were favorites when I was very small, along with the Francis the Bear books, Grimm, Winnie the Pooh (all Milne, really) and Babar. I read my older sister's Judy Bloom books when I was in 1st or 2nd grade and then went on to Gone with the Wind, which I loved and read in one day (even in the women's clothes section at Alexanders in Roosevelt Field where my mother was trying on clothes), and Rebecca. Once I stepped up from children's books when I was about 7, I never went back. But the Pushcart War by Jean Merrill was one of my favorite young reader-type books. Another book I loved when I was in elementary school was a young person's guide the Watergate and another on political shenanigans. And of course, Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

Share this post


Link to post

The Secret Garden, My Friend Flicka, Lad a Dog and the others by Albert Payson Terhune, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind and The Complete Works of Sherlock Homes to name a few. And I recall an Agatha Christie summer in 8th grade, I think.

Favorite book that I remember having read to me: Scuppers the Sailor Dog :D

Share this post


Link to post

As a little child, the Pooh books, but above all, "The Red Balloon." Never took much to Dr. Seuss -- "Cat in the Hat" was too frenetic for my minimalist disposition, but I liked the humanitarianism of "Horton Hears a Who."

Next: Pippi Longstocking and the Beezus and Ramona series.

In adolescence, "The Member of the Wedding."

As an adult, I realized that both Balloon and Member were dominated by themes of alienation. Hmmm. :confused: :D

Share this post


Link to post

I loved reading, still do. As a child I would read Grimm Brothers, Louisa May Alcott. Any books about horses, I devoured Elyne Mitchell's Silver Brumby series probably my favourites then. Long time passing (don't remember the author's name) Also poetry, Henry Lawson, Banjo Patterson. First adult book was Wuthering Heights read it when I was about 10. From then on many of the Bronte sisters' works other classics as well.

Share this post


Link to post

My favorite Dr. Seuss tales were "Green Eggs and Ham," "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew," and "The Lorax." Then there was the stage when every girl read the Little Babysitters Club books, and then the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley series. I read all the Little House on the Prairie books and then some of the Rose Wilder Years (when I was finished those, more were still being written, and I must have gotten tired of waiting). There was also the American Girl books.

The first time I felt like I accomplished reading a great piece of literature was when I read The Count of Monte Cristo in 7th or 8th grade. I still think that must be one of the greatest novels ever written. I don't think I could ever tire of it. Some people mentioned Rebecca as a favorite; I'm sorry- I absolutely hated that thing when I was required to read it last year. :D

Share this post


Link to post

When I was in elementary school I had no patience for reading but really liked the pictures of Joan of Arc praying to the archangels and burning at the stake.

I did read a book called "To Dance, To Dream", which had short stories of great ballerinas. I especially remember the chapter about Taglioni.

In high school I loved "Giants in the Earth" by Ole Rolvag and "Nicholas and Alexandra" by Robert K. Massie.

I read "Rebecca" after high school and loved it. "My Cousin Rachel" is another good one by DuMaurier.

Share this post


Link to post

Glebb, you perhaps missed the edifying experience of parochial school. My 8th grade teacher (Mother Angelita Marie, may she rest in peace) loved reading aloud the stories of the martyrs to us. Her favorite was Maria Goretti (sp?) a 13-year-old who was raped and knifed to death -- slowly, oh, ever so slowly -- by her cousin. The rape details were NOT read, but the knifing ones were, down to that her stomach was so punctured all the dear little saint-to-be asked for was water and they couldn't give it to her......

Share this post


Link to post

Oh my gosh! I guess Bernadette really did have nothing to complain about!

Share this post


Link to post

As a young girl, and even now, I loved the Betsy-Tacy books and of course, Ballet Shoes, etc.

Share this post


Link to post

I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who sent me books that I didn't know were classics.

Robert Lewis Stevenson--"Kidnapped", "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", "Treasure Island", "The Black Arrow."

Mark Twain--"Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn"

"Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin"

Many of the Hornblower series by C. S. Forrester.

When I was in grammar school, it seemed we played baseball, basketball, football or hockey, depending on the season, every day of the year--except for me, when a book from my grandmother would arrive.

And getting a library card at the local branch of the Chicago Public Library was like getting a passport to the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Originally posted by Alexandra

Her favorite was Maria Goretti (sp?) a 13-year-old who was raped and knifed to death -- slowly, oh, ever so slowly -- by her cousin

When we were read this story at Queen of Peace Parish School a long time ago she was still "Blessed" Maria Goretti--Blessed (two syllables) was a stop on the way to sainthood. Sister Anita of the Sisters of Charity, who taught a combined fourth and fifth grade and ruled it with an iron hand, spoke about Maria Goretti "defending her purity".

About which, of course, we had no clue.

Share this post


Link to post

Absolute favorite as a child? Little Women, and I gave both my girls a copy when they were around ten years old.

Share this post


Link to post

Favorite children's books? These are all going to mark me as being of a certain age.

Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

A Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle - part of an entire, much loved series

The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster

Share this post


Link to post

Roughly in chronological order:

Dr. Suess

The Doctor Doolittle books

The Black Stallion books

Mark Twain

H.G. Wells

Jack London

Sherlock Holmes

1984, Brave New World and Animal Farm

Ray Bradbury

James Thurber

The Annotated Alice

The Lord of the Rings

Bored of the Rings

The Man Who Was Thursday

.... and many others. Generally, if I was awake and not in class, I had a book open.

Share this post


Link to post

Leigh, fear not for I am much older than you and I LOVED the Phantom Tollbooth and A Wrinkle in Time!

I was also a Black Stallion seriesaholic, too. :)

All these great remembrances make me want to reread a bunch of them. :)

Many thanks for prodding the memory banks!

Share this post


Link to post

Liebs, the Betsy-Tacy books were my all time favorites. Have you seen the "Betsy-Tacy Companion", published a few years ago? It has photos of all the people Lovelace's books were based on. They were largely autobiographical, right down to the letters and stories that the main character, Betsy, wrote.

I loved those books so much. I read them all over and over again and my sister (named Betsy) gave me the complete hardcover set as a wedding present in 1976. I loved it that so many of the characters (and their real-life counterparts) were involved in the arts: Betsy a writer, Julia the opera singer, Tib a dancer, Tacy a singer, Tony an actor/singer, etc. Those books were a great education.

Vrsfanatic, what did you think of the Anais Nin scandal that erupted after her death? As a teenager, I idolized her. I got the chance to meet her when I was 17 and waiting outside the 92nd. St. Y to hear her speak. The line was very long and we were told that we'd never make the cut-off to get inside. Soon afterward she walked up to the building and I spoke to her as she went inside. I told her how much I'd wanted to hear her speak. She thanked me, went into the building and within moments someone came out and escorted my friend and I to front seats. Ms. Nin sat with us and talked afterwards for nearly an hour.

So despite all the negative things that've come out about her in recent years, my memories are of a very kind and thoughtful woman (much like her diaries, despite how they've been disparaged).

Alexandra, being the very good Catholic girl in a parochial school, I read every martyr story I could get my hands on. I even - this is hard to confess - fashioned myself a "hair shirt" and went to sleep wearing it once in awhile during that stage. It was made of a very itchy wool. I wanted to be a martyr quite badly for a year or two. My Confirmation name is a martyr's name; hers was another particularly gruesome story.

I guess one could say the slasher films so popular these days could've been modeled after some of those martyr stories that we young innocents read with the blessings of our clergy.

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0