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Alexandra

What were your favorite books as a child/teen?

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Wow. Reading these book titles is bringing back a flood of memories. Doris R -- like you, I loved, loved, loved Little Women. I think I read it a dozen times. It got me through my adolescence, almost unscathed. The other books I read -- Pippi Longstocking, The Bobsey Twins, The Little Peppers and How They Grew (these were all inherited from either my mother or older sisters) -- I barely remember the plots. It was Little Women that I always returned to.

Some of the other titles, I enjoyed more as an adult, reading them with my own daughters. Anne of Green Gables helped me through a post-partum depression. Black Beauty taught me that we all have a soul. Little House on the Prairie reminded me that life is sweet.

glebb, I just finished a biography of Joan of Arc a few months ago. It was written by Mary Gordon, if you're familiar with her. She's written novels and travel essays. I've enjoyed her other books, so I decided to read her version of the Joan of Arc history as well. It was an interesting read.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this forum develops. The on-line book club idea sounds great.

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Thanks for the Jeanne D' Arc info Obbligato. I've never read "Little Women" but I love the most recent movie. I look at the women and think this is what Taglioni and her contemporaries must have looked like.

Diane, though I didn't read Hesse until I was in my twenties, I have to say that he is one of my favorites. I often return to "Narcissus and Goldmund" and "Siddhartha" -- two of my favorite stories ever!

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Another very moving and eloquent account of the Holocaust years - suitable for teens - is "The Endless Steppe" by Esther Hautzig, about a young Jewish girl called Esther who is deported from Vilna to Siberia by the Red Army. Although the surname of the heroine in the book is not Hautzig, I have always assumed it to be autobiographical.

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I also read a lot about the Holocaust when I was growing up. I started (as noted above) with "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," and then became interested in it and read everything from "The Diary of Anne Frank" to "Exodus" to a wonderful book by Andre Schwartz-Bart called "The Last of the Just" which was probably the first truly adult book that I read. Adult in that it was uncompromising and terrible (the hero is a French Jew who chooses to go to a concentration camp because he is one of the Twelve Just Men who must bear the world's sorrows, a tough assignment in any era, but particularly difficult in his).

I also read a lot about, of all things, the Alamo. That was also sparked by a movie -- "The Alamo." :( I had a crush on the guy who played Colonel Travis and it never occurred to me to get a movie magazine and read about him (I was 11 or 12). I wanted to read about Travis. In doing so, I taught myself how to research without realizing it. I wanted information and I was determined to find it. There were only two books in the Alamo in our local library, but it occurred to me that there might be information in books about Texas history, and then in biographies of other people involved in the battle -- a skill that came in handy later :(

In writing this, I realized how important those dinner table conversations were -- vagansmom, we had the same family :) They didn't care whether I was reading "Anne Frank" or "Exodus" or "The Last of the Just" but I was told, in no uncertain terms, that "Exodus" was a popular novel, with different intent and of a different worth in the history of civilization than "The Last of the Just." Likewise, with my Alamo studies, I noticed that some books were very pro-Sam Houston, others not, some more superficial (I learned there was such a thing as "serious history" and "popular history.") My aunt had ready pretty much everything (she'd routinely complain how the New Yorker of the 1950s was not the New Yorker of the 1920s, when she started reading it -- the Dorothy Parker and James Thurber days -- but she still read it, and saved special issues, like John Hersey's "The Wall," handed over to me during my Holocaust days. And if I was reading something she hadn't read, she'd read it too and discuss it with me.

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well I was a Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry fanatic - believe I read them all. Also Dr. Doolittle was a great favorite, long before the movie was made. And the Pippi books. A favorite picture book was The Swans of Ballycastle. A favorite young adult book which I later found out my older sister liked so much she tracked down (out of print) as an adult was "Sawdust in His Shoes" - which I still think would make a great kids movie (a teenage trick rider in a circus is orphaned when his father, the lion tamer, is killed. He runs away from the horrible institution where he is placed landing up with a hardscrabble farm family wheer "Ma", especially, doesn't know what to make of him). I also loved Le Petit Prince, which let to "Wind, Sand, and Stars - in English! (I believe it was called) also by St. Exupery, but about his experiences flying the mail over Africa etc. - which led to me going for a gliding (soaring? - plane with no engine) ride in Vermont one time - which was fantabulous (when I was younger and more brave-hearted). I spent my first pregnancy toughing out morning sickness reading the big fat books of Leon Uris.

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Aren't we all a nostalgic bunch? :)

More books I loved - "Friday's Tunnel" and "February's Road" by John Verney about the very enterprising members of the very eccentric Callendar family. Child detective novels with a twist!!

I read Josephine Tey too. Her book "The Daughter of Time" sparked a Richard III obsession with my older sister - an obsession which lasts to this day, and I was "forced" to read numerous books - soft history and hard history - on the subject.

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Oh, The Mouse That Roared--that's Leonard Wibberly. I went through a Wibberly phase and read all of them. Also all of the Nero Wolfe. Etc. But my first favorite book was called "Mr. T. W. Anthony Woo,the Story of a Cat, a Dog, and a Mouse," by Marie Hall Etc. Of course I did not read it--it was read to me (and it's right here now on the shelf behind me), as was A. A. Milne. I loved many many of the books above (though I noted Edward Eager's Half Magic et al are missing, as are THe Borrowers), but my all time favorite book--in any category whatsoever--is a childern's book, of sorts. It's called Mistress Masham's Repose, and T.H. White is the author.

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diane - 'nurse nancy' was a little golden book. i had that one, too. i believe it came with a bandaid or two in the book, so you could acquire practical experience! you could probably find it second-hand at a garage sale/swap meet/car boot sale/whatever-YOU-call-it-where-you-live - but i'm NOT suggesting that you'd necessarily WANT to. ;) however, it IS quite interesting, IMO, to SEE again the images or ideas that caught your fancy then - and to ponder WHY.

not meaning to turn this thread into baby-level books ~ but didn't anyone else have 'noddy'?

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Little Red Lighthouse: All these many years later when riding along the Henry Hudson Parkway, I always crane my neck to see it.

Another book suggesting empowerment -- The Little Engine That Could.

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The Poky Little Puppy. Don't remember a thing about him except he was slow, and got to eat chocolate custard, but I loved the name.

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:D

Aha! Nurse Nancy was a Golden Book!

Now that helps a bit; perhaps I _will_ be able to to find it sometime!:)

The Poky little puppy was one of our (my bros. and I) favorites when we were very young.

Especially the part where the puppies heard the sound of the custard being spooned into their bowls. ;)

We always wanted some, too. ;)

-ah- the memories!

-d-:D

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All the Narnia books, with either Prince Caspian or The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as favourite.

Jane Eyre (read when I was ten - the only "adult" book in my primary school library).

Biographies of composers.

Nevil Shute (!) - read about half a dozen of them on holiday when I was ten/11.

Lord of the Rings (summer holiday before I started secondary school, so ten again), followed by The Hobbit in school a year later.

A wonderful book called "After Bath" that my mother read to us sitting on a harbour wall in Brittany, France when I was four, and I read for myself a few years later - don't know who it was by, and it's disappeared from my parents' house.

Astérix (from which I learnt most of my early French)

Treasury of Golden Verse

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A Kid for Two Farthings, and the like (my mother's old Book Club editions). Also Bonjour Tristesse (Francoise Sagan - must have been about 12 by then).

Le Petit Prince - about 12 I guess, although I think it was read to me when I was yonger.

Isaac Asimov - again around nine or ten, I guess.

Evelyn Waugh - around 13?

And - as a grown up child - I have recently discovered the Redwall books and am loving every minute of them, although they will have to go on hold on 21 June - Harry Potter 5!

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All the stories I remember from toddlerhood came from a collection of books whose title I probably don't correctly remember but it was something like "The Children's Story Hour". They were hardcover, red books. I read them to my own children when they were young. Each volume covered a different genre.

My favorites were The Velveteen Rabbit , a poem whose title may have been Belinda and the Dragon ,The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins , and The Selfish Giant . Because there were 5 children in my family, all close in age, my mom would read the same stories to all of us at the same time.

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Dog and horse books- Lad, A Dog (Albert Payson Terhune), Black Beauty (cried all 8 times I read it- Poor Ginger), every book by CW Anderson on horses. I'm grateful that my daughter did not inherit the horse crazy gene. Riskier than ballet, and a lot more expensive!

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Hi all,

This is a wonderful thread. I also read the Emily books, vagansmom. My best friend shared them with me. Has anyone mentioned the Fudge books by Judy Blume. My favorite one of hers is still "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret". I also read Nancy Drew (Mystery at Lilac Lane was my favorite) and did anyone ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure books? Those were fun. I also read Asterix (I hear there might be a movie coming out.)

My first grown-up book was Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "One Hundred Years of Solitude".

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Ah, what a wonderful thread- but it makes me feel all nostalgic... :rolleyes:

Among the very first books I read, there were some Babars, and also the "Barbapapa" series... A bit later, a lot of books by the Comtesse de Ségur (actually some of them were quite dark, with a lot of orphans, abandoned children, early deaths, etc. I felt like crying each time I re-read the moment in "The memories of a donkey" when the darling little mistress of the donkey died from an illness), and also some books of the "Fantômette" series by Georges Chaulet, of the "Club des Cinq" by Enid Blyton (I don't know its English name), the Moomins by Tove Jansson (actually I still re-read those ones from time to time, they're worth reading at any age, and the drawings are so lovely), some Nancy Drew except that in the French version she was called Alice (and the author was called Caroline Quine [sic])... And many books of tales, especially two about Russian and Arabic tales, and several books about Egyptian and Greek mythology (according to my parents, when I first visited the Louvre at 6, it was quite hard to make me exit it because I refused to leave the Egyptian department, as I had been offered my first book about Egypt shortly before :) )

I loved the "Little house in the prairie" books too, actually all that sounded so strange and exotic to me (as I had no idea of the place and period it happened); the only one I didn't like much was the last one (at least, the last one published in French) after Laura's marriage, because it was so depressing. My favorite was the one about the long winter, I re-read it again and again...

The first "grown-up" book (not specifically written for children or abridged) I read was a dagger-and-cloark book by Paul Féval called "Le Bossu", I read it when I was about 8 and was quite proud of it- well, actually there were many parts of it that I hadn't understood, as it included some long parts about the history of the Regence (early 18th century period) and its political and economic scandals... But the great duel scenes (ah, Lagardère and the Duke of Nevers in the castle of Caylus...) were enough to please me. Later I would re-read it almost every year, and it was great to understand a bit more of it each time. Well, later I realized that perhaps Féval was not such a great author- however, he was at leasty infinitely better than his son Paul Féval Fils, who wrote some sequels to his fathers' books, and probably is one of the worst author I've ever (to the point that it almost becomes comical). By the way, there have been several films after "Le Bossu", but for me none of them is satisfying (especially that they all have forgotten much of the story and many characters).

I also loved Stevenson's "Treasure Island" (in general, I was quite fond of anything with pirates and islands). And there were all the "classical" French-Belgian comics, like Tintin, Astérix, Lucky Luke, Gaston Lagaffe... A bit later, I started reading a lot of Agatha Christie books at my Junior high school's library, and also quite a lot of Dumas (with a fondness for "The Three Musketeers" and "Joseph Balsamo"- by the way, there are some lovely pages by Stevenson about how much he enjoyed re-reading Dumas' books)

and some Jules Verne (and also some adventure novels of the "Signe de pistes" collection). Then, when I was about 11 or 12, I started reading a lot of science-fiction, especially Asimov and Sheckley, and also "Wuthering Heights" which started a period when I tried to read everything I could find by and about the Brontë family.

When I was around 15 I became interested in Carson McCullers and Stefan Zweig (strangely, those are associated in my mind , because I was given a book by each for a birthday by my aunt), and also, in a less serious style, all the Arsène Lupin and Sherlock Holmes books, and some French popular novels of the 19th century (Eugène Sue, Michel Zévaco...), and some Daphné du Maurier (with a special fondness for "Rebecca" and "The King's General"). It reminds me of a friend of mine who really didn't like reading, I had convinced her to try some Du Maurier, and her mother was baffled to see that she even was reading it during dinner- and she bought be a new copy of "Jamaica Inn", because the one I had lent her had fallen in her bath when she was reading it... Unfortunately, we lost contact shortly after that, so I couldn't continue that "experiment". :) I also loved quite a lot "Les Misérables"(realizing that it was far bigger than the abridged version I had read as a kid...)

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i am amazed that you all remember what you read 'first' (e.g. 'first adult book'). as you mention titles, i recall that i read a book and that it was important at the time (example - anne frank's diary, du maurier's books, and of course: wuthering heights and thereafter ALL the bronte works) - but i cannot recall the order of things, or what made MOST impression...i am still trying!

most of the books that 'mean' the most to me now are ones i found as a teen, while in california (please don't be scornful - it's too easy!). the fact that i still HAVE them and that they 'mean' the most to me doesn't mean i READ them, any more, but i have to KEEP them....these include 'the prophet', 'le petit prince', nin's journals, a sierra club book called 'on the loose' by jerry and renni russell, joan didion, all of hesse but especially 'siddhartha', 'sisterhood is powerful'!!!, richard brautigan, and the poetry of e.e. cummings (which i don't even want to open the cover of, NOW, for fear of it no longer having the magic that it HAD). also thomas hardy (tess, etc).

i also recall loving american literature (thoreau, emerson, hawthorne, steinbeck, arthur miller), which i was introduced to at an american high school - after studying ENGLISH literature in australia - NOTE: NOT australian literature: that tells you how old i am, floss! ;)

maybe anne frank's diary was what i might call the first 'adult' book? - can't remember what age i was ...

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Grace, I don't recall reading any Australian lit. at school, not even High School. Read some American, Streetcar named Desire, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Huck Finn And much English lit. Shakespeare, loved Macbeth not so keen on Romeo and Juliet I always thought they should have eloped. We had to read Donne which I didn't like either. At home I would read poetry loved Shelley and always wished we could have read it at school. I would also read Australian poets too, we didn't read Aus. poetry at school, shame.

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oh, i see.

i got that impression because you posted - "Henry Lawson, Banjo Patterson" - which stood out, 'like a sore thumb', from all these largely american references! :)

i thought you were suggesting that - as is probably the case - at school NOW, in australia, they probably study australian literature, at least as much as english...

i guess you realise that 'summer of the 17th doll' is (very) australian..?.

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Sorry, Grace should have remembered that "Doll" was Australian. The fact was many of our required reading novels at school wasn't too my taste and many times I would only read bits and pieces from them and try to cobble together essays on the books. Which probably explains my mistake, that, and it is a good 20 years ago. The Aus. poetry (Shelley and others) was read at home, except I did have a teacher in primary who would read a bit of Aus poetry to us. She was the same one who introduced the class to poetry with "The Highwayman". I think the only literature that i liked from school were Huck Finn and Macbeth. It really was a shame that in the 1970's Australian literature didn't play a larger role in our schooling. Even these days my daughters still are not given much Aus lit, but maybe there is more balance some American, some English and some Aus.

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Sorry, I tried to edit but I still can't figure it out. I realised I wasn't very clear. I meant Australian poetry plus Shelley and others.

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How could I have forgotten these--

Richard Halliburton. Seven League Boots, Royal Road to Romance, Flying Carpet and possibly a few others.

Halliburton toured the world and did extremely neat things--swam through the Panama Canal, road an elephant over the Alps, got robbed by pirates in Macao and climbs Mt. Fuji in the wrong season. Terrific stuff for a boy to read.

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Grace's post reminded me of that whole impassioned, introspective teen period - Siddhartha, the Prophet, etc. The Prophet was subsequently ruined/enhanced for me, reading a spoof called The Profit .....

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...by "Kehlog Albran". I got it as a present for my eighteenth birthday, and it immediately cleared my head, so I tossed my original "Prophet". I've still got the spoof.

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thanks for the memories, Mel - the book put me into a permanently altered state of humor .... which can only help a person's occasionally bumpy glide through life ... :)

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