Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top Ten Book (Series) I Wish I'd Read as Kid

The Broke and the Bookish are curious: are there any books you wish you'd read as a child?

1. The Redwall Series, Brian Jacques

I did read a few of these books as a kid, but not very many. They're...fantasy novels which star woodland creatures. In the first book, Redwall, a mean rat named Cluny (Cluny! Cluny! CLUNY THE SCOURGE!) decided to attack a pleasant little abby-sanctuary called Redwall and use its high walls as a fortress. He spurs his horde of vermin onward while, a plucky little mouse named Matthias seeks a magic sword to help save his home.  There are over twenty books in the series in all now.

The books were charming and the dialogue fun (a friend of mine and I used to entertain each other by imitating the rabbits of the Long Patrol), but the older I got the more embarrassed I felt about sneaking into the children's section to read books about mice with longbows.

2. The Nancy Drew Series and 3. Hardy Boys Mysteries (Various Authors)

While I enjoyed mystery novels as a kid, I mostly read from the Boxchar Children stories. I may have read from one Hardy Boys mystery, but aside from that both series were untouched. (The actual title of Hardy Boys #3 is The Secret of the Old Mill, but the above image came up in a google search and amused me, so there you are.)

4. Matt Christopher's Works

I was never into competitive sports as a kid: while I liked playing them, I liked PLAYING them. I wasn't interested in keeping score, which was why I tended to spend recess going on unsanctioned nature walks in the woods with friends,  and Saturday mornings riding bikes and building stunt ramps.  Christopher wrote a series of books about kids and sports, and while I read a couple of them (The Year Mom Won the Pennant, and a book about a kid who gets into biking as a way to get in shape),  I ignored most of the series.

5. Sweet Valley High and 6. The Babysitters' Club (Francine Pascal, Ann M. Martin)

I realize these are girls' books, but so were the California Diaries books and I enjoyed them just fine, thank you very much. (I was introduced to that series by a male character, though...Ducky.)  I read one or two in the SVH series from my  older sister's collection back in the day, though all I remember is that Elizabeth fell asleep with her headphones on once, and there was a third twin who was evil and...may have burned down a house?  I am too old to empathize with the characters now, though. As for the other: California Diaries was a spinoff of Babysitters' Club, -- and one character, Dawn Schaefer, carried over. That's the main reason that in high school I tried to find the books to read them before realizing they were meant for preteen girls. While Dawn wasn't my favorite character,  she was the second-nicest person in the series and sort of a hippie, which I liked.

7. More of Ghosts of Fear Street and 8. Goosebumps 2000.  (R.L. Stine)

I was a kid during the Goosebumps heyday, and owned all of the books in the original collection. Ghosts of Fear Street was a kid's version of his Fear Street books (with less  axe-murder and more psychotic sea monkeys), while Goosebumps 2000 was more or less an attempt to remarket Goosebumps for the new millennium. I disapproved of this for some reason and would not read the books, and by the time I'd gotten over my knee-jerk reaction,they'd  vanished from the shelves. D'oh.  Fear Street Adventures was a different story:  the only place in town that sold books offered them only sporadically.

9. More of Starfleet Academy. (Various authors)

My library had two of these (Starfall and Capture the Flag) and I loved `em both, but Selma doesn't have a bookstore beyond the supermarkets (which tend to sell romances, westerns, and Christian fiction exclusively), so I couldn't read more. I would've liked to read the adventures of young Worf and young -- err,...Cadet -- Data.

10. More of Great Illustrated Classics. (Various authors).

As a child I read quite a few "classics" in a shorter, illustrated form -- The Call of the Wild, Robinson Caruso,  Black Beauty, War of the Worlds, etc. There are many more, but I only read a fraction of them. Now I read the 'real' version of those books, but I still would've liked to have read more of the series in this fashion.

11. Harry Potter - -- ? Maybe?
While I couldn't have truly grown up with Harry (being older than him when the first book was released), I wonder how I would have enjoyed the experience of waiting anxiously for every new release and reading through it with great anticipation at what would happen. Instead, I read all of the books in Autumn - October 2007...but I don't think I was so much disadvantaged.  While Harry was leaving behind a world that disliked him and finding new friends at Hogwarts, I left an unpleasant, past and found my own home and friends in at the University of Montevallo, which I began attending that very fall. So I related rather powerfully to Harry in those first two books. Now, when I watch the movies, I'm reminded of my first week and semester on campus, and I like the connection. (When I investigated my dorm for the first time, I said: "It's not Gryffindor Tower, but it'll do.")  So maybe it was best I only discovered the series in my adult days, eh?


  1. Great list of top ten books. It is not necessary that you are a kid to read all those books, you can still read it even though you're a grown up.
    Sherman Unkefer

  2. I think the amended editions of classics is both a good and bad idea. Kids read the classics and think they don't need to go back and read the actual book later. But on the other hand, they get exposed to great stories. I truly hope to get to many of the books on my list some day.

    My Head is Full of Books

  3. @ Anne: Yup, I've been trying to re-read some of them in recent years. It was just awkward to say I'd read "A Tale of Two Cities", when my version was considerably lighter fare than the original! Some, like "Call of the Wild", don't seem different at all.

  4. I loved goosebumps and the Hardy Boys. My Dad used to read them to me). But must say, you can read them as an adult with just as much enjoyment

  5. I forgot all about the Goosebump series by R.L. Stine! I didn't like Goosebumps that much, but I loved Ghosts of Fear Street! I always felt bad for not getting to read the entire series. Here's my list.

  6. Ditto on Nancy Drew. I read my first Hardy Boys book not long ago and found it well-researched (it takes place in my native country) but rather simplistic. Probably would have loved it to pieces as a child, since I was an avid reader of children's detective fiction.

  7. I was a series-a-holic and some of these books were my favorites! Babysitter's Club at the top, but I was big into Goosebumps and Sweet Valley, too.

  8. I read Sweet Valley, Babysitters Club, Fear Street and Goosebumps as a kid. I loved them all!

  9. here's mine http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2011/01/top-ten-tuesday-top-10-best-debut-books.html

  10. I was huge into the BSB when I was about 7-12 then I switched to SVH. Loved them both! I also read a couple of the Fear Streets, they were really big when I was in early high school. You have a great list

  11. I think you find books at the right time for you sometimes...speaking of your experience with Harry Potter. I did grow up with the series though and it really did make my childhood.

    I've read one nancy drew book and I've always wanted to try more.

    As for Redwall, I read one for school in the seventh grade but didn't really care to read more.


  12. +JMJ+

    Redwall made my list, too! I think that if I discovered the series before I was in college, I would have bought every book there was. (Especially since my mother would have been footing the bill at the time. LOL!)

    I haven't even heard of California Diaries! Dawn isn't my favourite character from the BSC, but she is cool in her own way. She is kind of a hippie because of the organic food she likes to eat, but she's also the most organised, task-oriented person in her family. That's a nice mix of opposites, I think. =)

  13. @Enbrethiliel: I wonder if Dawn was concerned about environmental issues and such in the younger series. Looks like Martin just continued that kind of character development!

    Good luck tracking down the Diaries if you are interested in them...some seem to have vanished from market circulation (even used) completely.


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