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What were your favorite books as a child/teen?


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#31 Ed Waffle

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 06:51 AM

Originally posted by vrsfanatic
Or I just plain, ol' missed that one. I know there was a lot of controversy over her writings for various reasons, but always found them peacefull, kind and thought provoking.


Here is a link containing an interview with Nin's recent biographer. It addresses a lot of things, including how factual the diaries are.

I think that their authenticity couldn't be in doubt--they stand or fall as literary works as such.

Her biographer describers Nin as a "major minor writer" which makes sense.

http://www.salon.com...bair960729.html

#32 vrsfanatic

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 07:00 AM

Thank you so much Ed Waffle. Interesting reading...I will just have buy that biography now. Actually I am running out of town, airplanes, trains, cars...I need a good read! Thanks again.

#33 Ari

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 08:08 AM

When I think of my childhood reading, the first name that comes to mind is Dr. Seuss. The only other books I can remember from early childhood are the Madeleine series and the Bobbsey Twins, which were succeeded by Nancy Drew. I also loved Dorothy Canfield's Understood Betsy (and still have my copy!), the Beezus & Ramona series, the Happy Hollisters, Hans Brinker, the Pippi Longstocking series, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Harriet the Spy, The Peterkin Papers, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, A Wrinkle in Time, and Noel Streatfield's theater books. I didn't read much non-fiction, but one book I loved was Gods, Graves, and Scholars by C.W. Ceram, about the pioneering archeologists.

As a teen, I was passionately devoted to The Catcher in the Rye. I thought it had been written about myself.

I read Jane Eyre at ten and loved it, but Jane Austen was too sedate for me at that age. I had to wait four years until we read it in school to become a convert. Something similar happened with Dickens. When I was in sixth grade, we had a student teacher who foisted portions of David Copperfield on us, and we all hated it. Years later, in college, I loved it. Our summer reading list after seventh grade included The Warden, and that began a lifelong love of Trollope.

#34 Alexandra

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 08:17 AM

It is frightening, isnt it, the power that a grade school teacher can have over our reading? So many people have been either turned on or turned off a particular author...

Libraries. I lived in Baltimore until I was ten and it had a wonderful library. When we moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, the library there -- at least the children's section -- was so terrible that I think that was part of the reason I turned to nonfiction (at first the Landmark series of biographies) and whatever adult, almost exclusively 19th century (becuase it was "clean") books I was allowed to read. But I can still see the children's room at that library. It was scaled for children -- low shelves, so you could see everything, and at the time seemed like the largest room in the world. I'd be frightened to see it now.

It's been wonderful reading everyone's memories -- and made me remember some I'd forgotten. Babar -- gave me an excuse not to eat mushrooms for years! I read the Bobsey Twins, although I didn't particularly like them, and Nancy Drew, all of them. I was awed by having $1,000 a year to spend on clothes without anybody telling you how to spend it. I couldn't read "Little Women" until I was in college -- I didn't like to read about girls; they didn't do anything except gossip and cook and sew -- but I adored "Little Men" and read it every summer. I also read "Understood Betsy," Ari. I remember there was a chapter called "If you don't like conversation in a book, skip this chapter," and so I thought, for years, that it was bad to have conversation in a book! And two of my absolute favorites that I'd forgotten about were "Johnny Tremain" and "Rifles for Watie" (the first about a boy in the Revolutionary War, the second about a 16-year-old soldier in the Western Civil War.

#35 Hans

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 09:37 AM

Well, I am just a bit of a bookworm, so this list might be a little long. When I was growing up, I read the Encyclopedia Brown books, the Hardy Boys (terrible writing, but kids don't know that!), Le Petit Prince (in English, though now I know it is much better in French), Dr. Seuss, Good Night Moon, I read the Betsy-Tacy books along with my sister, Chronicles of Narnia, E. Nesbit (though I can't read Nesbit now--the boys are so patronizing to the girls), Swiss Family Robinson, several Robert Louis Stevenson books, Winnie The Pooh, Call of the Wild, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Three Musketeers. I'm sure I've left some out. Then when I got to middle school, I started in on Jane Austen, Henry James, Edith Wharton (The Reef and The Age of Innocence are my favorite books), To Kill A Mockingbird, the short stories of O. Henry. Now I favor ballet books, opera books (I will "read" the music and "sound it out" in my head), Gail Godwin, whatever long-lost Edith Wharton books are coming back into print, dancer biographies, technical ballet manuals...I even have a book about character dance technique. I used to like horror books like Frankenstein, Edgar Allen Poe & such. I like The Fall of the House of Usher and The Cask of Amontillado particularly :).

Alexandra, I remember Johnny Tremain! Also "Middlemarch" by George Eliot and how could I forget Thomas Hardy books--he ranks next to Edith Wharton as my favorite author. Also The Wind in the Willows and The Willows in Winter.

#36 Ari

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 10:04 AM

Originally posted by Hans
I can't read Nesbit now--the boys are so patronizing to the girls

That reminds me, another favorite of mine was a German novel called Emil and the Detectives. It was about a group of boys, but there was one girl too, and I was thrilled that the boys all liked her and accepted her as one of themselves. She was a bit tougher than most girls in books at that time. Unfortunately, when Disney made it into a movie, they changed all that, and the girl became a subject of scorn. :)

#37 dirac

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 10:33 AM

I was especially fond of books about animals, especially horses: "The Black Stallion," "Man o' War," and Marguerite Henry's books, including "Misty of Chincoteague." Also "Lad: A Dog." I loved Streatfeild's "Ballet Shoes" – my first ballet book.

#38 Alexandra

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 10:43 AM

For Johnny Tremain fans, there's a grown-up version called "Paul Revere and the World He Lived In." It was an assigned book in a Colonial American History course I took in college, and I vividly remember that all of us put off reading it until the night before we had to discuss it, thinking it would be dumb and boring :) And then had to stay up all night finishing it, it was so good. It's a social and cultural history. (Esther Forbes?)

I read all the Black Stallion books -- I liked books about real animals, but didn't care for anthropomorphic animals, although Pooh was an exception. I remembe a New Yorker cartoon once where a little boy, looking very worried, is asking his father, "Daddy, why do all the animals in my books talk?" and that expressed my sentiments exactly!

I also read a lot of mysteries as an early teen (during my censored reading days) -- all of Nero Wolfe and Hercule Poirot, and some Josephine Tey ("Brat Farrar" was a favorite). And then political science fiction-- the Fletcher Knoebel (?sp?), amost of which have come true, and "The Mouse That Roared." (I had to be told to stop reading. Flashlight under teh covers, paperback in the hymnal, the whole works. When I was 7 I announced that I intended to read every book in the world. I thought the world was the Enoch Pratt Free Library and I'd counted the shelves and multiplied them by the number of books on one shelf, and figured that if I read 10 books a week I might just manage it. Then they told me that the Enoch Pratt Free Library was not the world. My first crushing blow.)

#39 Ari

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 11:51 AM

Originally posted by Alexandra
And then political science fiction-- the Fletcher Knoebel (?sp?), amost of which have come true

I liked the Knoeble books, too. One of them was about a president who developed psychological problems while in office and was forced to resign. I remember thinking, a president resigning? How ridiculous. That'll never happen! :)

#40 Alexandra

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 12:03 PM

Yes! Exactly! And then there was one where one of the political parties began to collect data on its delegates and knew the biography, financial situation, and pressure points of each individual, and squeezed/pushed every one of them. And that, I thought, might possibly happen.

There was also a companion to "The Mouse that Roared" in which the Vice President (obviously modeled after Lyndon Johnson, who was Vice President at the time) was sent to a small emerging nation in Africa and did everything wrong, including patting the chief on the head, which violated an unforgivable tribal taboo. The entourage had the terrible duty of cabling back: "The Vice President has been eaten. What should we do?" Now, one does hope that that will never happen! But it was a funny book -- don't remember the title. I think it was "The Vice President Has Been Eaten," actually :)

#41 svemaus

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 12:05 PM

What a lovely thread...

I started reading when I was 4 years old or so and was therefore not allowed to read every book that I wanted to...but I did anyway in my room ;)

I first read different fairy tales such as Cinderella. I loved anything by the Grimm brothers and later on, fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. I can still remember that I was pretty shocked and scared by “The Snow Queen” because of the boy with the splinter in his eye - after reading that one, I put the book away and have been scared of hurting my eyes ever since :eek: ...Today, I am convinced that I shouldn’t have read it because it is too scary for a 4 or 5 year old.
I then started reading books by Astrid Lindgren, esp. “Pippi Longstocking” (Pipi Langstrumpf in German)and Erich Kästner, which I still love. These books were followed by “Around the world in eighty days” - which I read after watching the TV series - and “The animal farm”. Of course I didn’t get the intention of the book when I was young, but I was worried about the thought of pigs ruling the world! :)
At the age of 10 or 11 I only read non-fictional books, mainly about the First and Second World War and the Nazis. I thought that “I had to”, because of the fact that I’m a German citizen. During my stay at my mother’s family’s house in the Philippines, which was at the age of 14, I had the only opportunity to read “Mein Kampf”, as this book is still strictly forbidden in Germany.
At that time, I was also able to start reading English books, and the first book was “The picture of Dorian Grey” by Oscar Wilde; I don’t know why, but I liked that book so much that I haven’t stopped reading books by Irish writers, including James Joyce, ever since...

@ Ari: I also read “The catcher in the rye” and could relate to what Holden “said”. I had long discussions about that book with my English teacher (who, afterwards, didn’t really like me anymore), because he read it for the first time when he was 24...too old to understand the thoughts and feelings of teens, IMO.

There are so many other books that I could mention, as I was constantly reading when I was younger, but there's just not enough space ;)

#42 carbro

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 12:49 PM

Originally posted by Alexandra
And then political science fiction-- the Fletcher Knoebel (?sp?), amost of which have come true


You remind me of a Polit. Prof. who -- in every single class, it seemed -- encouraged (but did not assign) us to read science fiction as for its predictive value. I thought she was nuts, but Alexandra I trust. Maybe I'll pick some up!:)

#43 Hans

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 03:26 PM

Alexandra, I was exactly the same--in fact, I still have to be told to stop reading, sometimes. During the last year, I was torn many times between getting to the class I had to teach on time and analyzing just one more exercise in "100 Lessons in Classical Ballet." Teaching always won, though:)--the alarm in my datebook told me exactly when to leave. Then there are the books I read more than once just because they're so interesting, or because I look through them to clarify a detail and get caught up in them all over again.

#44 vagansmom

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 04:52 PM

Gosh, more and more books from the past come to mind as I read everyone else's posts. I forgot Herman Hesse: as a young teen, I read every book he wrote - there must be at least a dozen or so.

Because of Anais Nin, I tried to read Antonin Artaud's "Le Théatre de la Cruauté" but I remember that it was difficult to understand him. I also read a book of his letters, and books by Gore Vidal, Henry Moore, and virtually anybody associated with Nin.

Poetry in high school: primarily Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. I went through a period of specializing in dead poets.

And then there's C.S. Lewis's Narnia series, everything by Madeleine L'Engle (I'm presently rereading her Crosswicks Journals). I also read, as a high school senior, Lewis's trilogy: "Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra" and "That Hideous Strength".

As a much younger child, I read many Lois Lenski books (she illustrated the early Betsy-Tacy books) because she didn't shield children from truth. Her books dealt honestly with life and death issues. I couldn't have articulated that, of course, but I knew her books were REAL.

I read everything published by Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the "Anne of Green Gables" series. Her "Emily" books easily rival the Anne series. I also really liked her "Mistress Pat" books, bought on a visit to Prince Edward Island as a teen.

Someone else's reference to the "Wolves of Willoughby Chase" reminded me of all the other wonderful books by Joan Aiken: "Nightbirds on Nantucket", "The Runaways", "Swallows and Amazons" and several more whose names escape me. I'm thinking now that I'll add "Wolves.." to my list of reading for the 5th graders next year.

As a child, I gobbled up books. I was sick a lot in my early elementary years and spent most of second grade at home. That's when I read all the Cherry Ames, Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drews. Several years ago, I had the great-granddaughter of one of those authors (there were several) in my class. That girl loved a good mystery herself!

#45 grace

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 07:33 AM

carbro - i had 'the red balloon' too. can still summon up those lovely photos of the red balloon over paris, in my imagination. :mad:

i also had the original 'madeleine' book (hans bemelmans). but i'm not going to try to respond to this thread properly, till i've thought about it a bit, because it's really quite hard to remember.

as a child, i had little golden books - and have since bought most of them again, just for nostalgia ('What Do Daddies Do All Day', 'Mister Dog', 'Tootle', etc) - and of course, noddy. but i know that children's books is not really what this thread is about...

vrsfanatic, i have been a fan of anais nin too, over many years - and also regard 'the little prince' as one of the most special books of a lifetime. vagansmom, (i was also a hesse fan) re nin: i am unaware of 'the scandal' - so i must follow up the link provided, and find out more. i loved those diaries...

you people are reminding me of books long out of my mind.


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