Oh, man... you just brought back great memories for me of Pilot Down, Presumed Dead. If I'm not confusing it with another stranded-on-a-desert-island book, I was awed by the fact that he chewed on his leather boots for nutrients, and also I believe he dreamed of a girl back home who tasted of raspberries...?
I read so many YA novels growing up that it's hard to name favourites, but one that comes straight to mind is Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I loved stories of girls doing things they weren't supposed to do.
When I was 15-16, e.g. barely knew English (I recall my 8th grade standard English test results were something like 3rd-4th grade vocabulary level but 12th grade reading comprehension...), my friend told me about Tolkien. He was actually telling the stories from the Simarillion. So I tried to tackle The Fellowship... and failed utterly not passing beyond the Preface. A few years later, another friend told me not to read the Preface which made it a long easier to get started and I read the book 3 times so I can understand 25% of the words :-P!
Any case, the first attempt did get me interested in Science Fiction so I started with the usual Asimov, Clarke etc. I love Clarke because it was written in easy to understand language. With books like Rendevous with Rama, it was like adventure in every other page - what could he think of next?! Good time, good time.
Oh my gosh there is so many, I will need to work on this and get back to you. One of my very favorites was The Last Unicorn.
Ah the Last Unicorn. Also the Once and Future King. To Build a Land - my 5th grade library teacher assumed I was Jewish. I'm working on it too!
hoo boy. i will get back to you
The 13 Clocks by James Thurber is one, though that's slightly younger than YA, but one I still go back to and read and re-read
That was my absolute favorite book from childhood. I'll even admit to rereading it many times far past childhood... I recently lost my copy and I'm really sad :(
Jane Langton's Hall Family Chronicles
"The Astonishing Stereoscope"
Eddy and Elenor Hall are taken on strange adventures with the help of 5 stereoscope cards.
Who is the mysterious benefactor, and what does that person want them to learn?
I remember this one best for my family had a stereoscope when most of my friends had not a clue what stereoscopes were.
How I wished some kind person had sent cards like this to me.
All of the stories were wonderful, however.
"The Diamond in the Window" was one of the first mysteries with undertones of the supernaturally magic books that I had read.
Kinda ruined me for mundane adventure stories.http://www.amazon.com/Astonishing-Stereoscope-Hall-Family-Chronicles/dp/0064401332
2009-02-22 09:15 pm (UTC)
Have Spacesuit, Will Travel Heinlein
2009-02-23 12:26 am (UTC)
Yep, that's the leading one on my list in my head right now (I'm reading through before posting myself). Such a great book!
If we're talking childhood rather than teenage years, it was Karl May
, Burg Schreckenstein (sorry, couldn't find any English links) and the German translations of The Three Investigators
by Robert Arthur.
Oh, and of course Tintin.Edited at 2009-02-22 09:24 pm (UTC)
I totally loved the Three Investigators -- I tried a Hardy Boys and found them pale and shriveled in comparison. I still have a couple of the books and got more for my nephews.
lol i've either saved or re-found a lot of my favorites and have them boxed up out in the studio until we get some book shelves. years ago the downtown library had an awesome sale and you could fill up a brown paper grocery sack for like $6.
by far my favorite is Over sea, Under stone
by Susan Cooper.
*laughs* strangely enough i had no idea it was the first of a short series until i just looked it up. i wish i had known that back then.
anyway it's the story of 3 children who go visit their grandfather in Cornwall. they find a map in his attic and the story is a treasure hunt to find what turns out to be the Holy Grail.
like Kyle's first review it's full of adventure, battles of good and evil, a treasure hunt and awesome English settings. A creepy old house, a dusty attic full of secrets, and of course a cave!
I would highly recommend that you revisit this series.
It has the benefit of adult enjoyability, and Authurian mythos.
There are sigils! and reincarnation! and time travel!
Betrayal, true love, good vs. evil, "the chosen one", long standing rivalry and a world wide circle of watchers....
Ah, good times.
"The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster made a big impression on me as a young lad.
yes! yes! yes! i discovered it in 4th grade and was obsessed with it. i recall my parents finding out that the movie was playing in the basement of the penn museum and taking me to see it -- i'm not sure what type of theatrical release it got -- but it was like meeting the characters. i'm not sure how it holds up -- i bought a VHS tape of it years ago but i don't know if i ever watched it -- i was afraid that it wouldn't hold up. but i love the P.T. -- I wish Norton Juster had written more.
My reading wasn't very deep,I'm almost embarrassed to say, but I loved Louis L'Amour books....I remember when I started to loose interest in them, I felt sad, because I really enjoyed them. But I must say the one book that made me cry no matter how many times I read it was Where The Red Fern Grows.
Edited at 2009-02-22 09:50 pm (UTC)
hah. I'm just finishing up a final draft (I hope!) of an article about young adult girl-horse novels. They all have basically the same plot:
Girl separated from horses due to tragic event.
Girl meets special horse who is IN TROUBLE.
Girl helps horse get better through power of LOVE.
Girl and horse win race! (or some other competition)
Girl gets horse for their bravery and love.
When I returned to some of these books, however, I noticed something I hadn't picked up on when I read them as a child. This example is from the first book of the Golden Filly series (a Christian girl-horse series). Let's see if you can see what I missed back when I was a kid:
“Come on baby,” she crooned. “Let it out. Let’s go all the way.” The horse gave a little more. His heavy breathing drowned out the thunder of his hooves. As they passed the entrance gate, Tricia remembered her father’s instructions. She eased back on the reins.
“That’s enough for now, fella.” She chuckled as Spitfire shook his head. She pulled the reins tighter. . . . Gobs of lather splashed past her as he shook his head again. Tricia ducked her face into his sweaty mane for protection
"This Perfect Day" by Ira Levin has stayed with me from the first time I read it. The story of a society run by a computer with the people being kept cooperative and satisfied by regular injections and how one man tries to reclaim his individuality.
I loved this book and it is sadly out of print today.This Perfect Day
The Tripods Trilogy, made up of The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of fire, written by John Christopher.
End of Exile by Ben Bova. It's the third book in a series and the first two are not young adult books. But it's the first science fiction novel I ever read, so it's special to me. Oddly, it was better to read it without reading the two previous books. The book became more of a mystery since I had no idea what had already gone on and why these kids were living like savages aboard a decaying generation ship.
Oddly enough, I was just at Ben Bova's house last Saturday. I'm reading Voyagers II: The Alien Within right now. Fabulous Ben Bova photos coming soon.
For a long time my favorite was a book called Time Windows, by Kathryn Reiss, about a girl and a dollhouse, ghosts, time travel and secret rooms in the attic.
There was also a series I can't remember the name of, but I remember the protagonist was helped by the ghost of a boy who resided in a lighthouse, and it had something to do with pirates and treasure.
Oh, and there was The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope, which I suspect I was too young to be reading at whatever time I read it, because when I read through it again recently I saw a lot of stuff that had gone right over my head. Ah, well.
I did like the prisoner of Zenda very much. Time windows sounds fantastic. Ghosts, time travel, and secret rooms are all ingredients for awesome.
I was one of those weird kid who'd read adult novels, like _Catch-22_. Now I'm adult who reads Daniel Pinkwater, who is an angel in tubby human form.
The one young adult novel I remember really loving (3rd grade, I think) was _The Twenty_One Baloons_, by William Pene do Bois. The main character was this guy who tried to travel the world in a hot air balloon. He crashes in Krakatoa, where he finds a hidden civilization of about twenty familes. They all have restaurants in their houses, and they trade off prepping meals for all the other families. They're fabulously wealthy because the nearby volcano creates caves full of jewels. But they have to evacuate because the volcano's getting ready to blow... LOVED that book.
But it got me into trouble. Because the library had another book by du Bois called _Call Me Bandicoot_, abouta guy who earned money by telling fabulous stories on the Staten Island Ferry. I signed out to go to the bathroom, wandered into the library instead, sat down and started reading... and three hours later, the teacher came and got me and yelled about how I'd broken rules and prevented other kids from using the bathroom.
I adore The 21 Balloons. I just re-read it a couple summers ago and wasn't aware in my youth the comparisons to Fitzgerald's A Diamond as Big as the Ritz. I loved the houses with the elevators and automatic bed-sheets. And, of course, the balloons....
I´ve read mainly poetry when i was in my teens.........
Rilke, and all the other German poets ( my mother tongue is German)....
i´ve read theatre plays a lot too.......i was fascinated by the different takes on the same myth, for example following the story of Antigone or Medea through the centuries and see how different authors interpreted the story....
i´ve only read young adult novels when my daughter was that age since i always bought books for her and wanted to know what she is reading....
She complained that i always picks books with "problems" and social issues when she just wanted to read to have fun....:-)
In the days of my youth, I
was told what it means to be a man
lot of books. Here are some of them. I tried to just grab a few
examples but then others from my shelves
out to me plaintively, and I suddenly had a gigantic towering pile of
books, all demanding to be included. Please tell me if this is
too much--and I'm sorry I'm not being terribly eloquent about
what each one is about or how or why it affected me.
Must start with The Chronicles of Narnia
. With the exception of
Prince Caspian on the left, these are my childhood copies. I read
and read and re-read them (and still re-read them) until the covers
became soft and worn and falling apart and stained and taped together.
They're very Velveteen Rabbity to me. These books were among the
first I can remember being read to me, before I could read.The Satanic Mill
by Ottfried Preussler is another one of the
books I read a billion times (and still re-read) as a kid. It's such
book. Set in early 19th c. Germany, and it's basically about love overcoming evil,
black magic, friendship, death. There's something about the story,
the writing, the ideas, that really affected me. Rascal
by Sterling North
is a favorite, an autobiography about a boy and his racoon, in 1918.
Smart, funny, sad. National Velvet
by Enid Bagnold is about a girl
and her horse Pie, which she rides in the Grand National Steeplechase.
Being a girl who grew up with horses, I couldn't help but love this book. A Wrinkle in Time
(and all the others in the series) by Madeleine L'Engle
is a book I read first in 6th grade, I think, and have revisited often. Love, evil,
travel through space and time. What more could you want? Jitterbug Perfume
by Tom Robbins I read first in junior high school,
I think. I never thought of beets the same way again. It's not a book
I've read a billion times, but it did have a big impact on me the first time
I read it, so I have always thought of it as one of the important books of my youth.
No, these are not novels. But they are, nonetheless, books
I read and pored over--and over, and over--as a kid, books
which helped fuel my interest in photography. Now when I look at
them I can't help but get drawn into how wonderfully vintage the
photos are now (late 50s to late 60s); yet the advice remains as useable
today as then and I know it affected my photography in ways I'm sure
I'm not cognizant of. Some of the photos in Walter Chandoha's book
are still being used in greeting cards today; I noticed one of them recently.
More books I grew up reading, over and over; they were certainly
a huge influence on my sense of humor and love of the absurd. Amphigorey Too
by Edward Gorey and the Kliban books were
technically my mom's, but I sort of glommed onto them as a kid
and never let go. When I look at Kliban's books now, I am so glad
I had the sort of mom who would let a kid read look at stuff like
that without being all uptight about it. Glinda of Oz
by L. Frank Baum was among my favorite of the Oz books.
I loved Ozma. And John R. Neill's illustrations. Misty of Chincoteague
and King of the Wind
by Marguerite Henry are just a few
of Henry's books that I read a billion times as kid. I love King of the Wind
in particular. My mom bred Arabian horses and I grew up riding and caring
for them, so this book, about the origins of the Arabian horse, really
spoke to me. By the Shores of Silver Lake
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
is one of my favorites of the Little House series. This copy in particular
was not my childhood copy (I don't have it anymore); it was my step-mom's
childhood copy and she recently gave the whole set to me.
I read a lot of "classics" like Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott. I lived and breathed The Chronicles of Narnia, of course. I remember loving "Time Tangle" by Frances Eagar (still do!) The "Green Knowe" series by L.M. and Peter Boston, The "Dido Twite" and "Wolves of Willoughby Chase" series by Joan Aiken, "Tom's Midnight Garden" by Phillipa Pearce and Susan Einzig, a host of lovely creepy stories by Mary Downing Hahn, The "Stravaganza" Series by Mary Hoffman, the "Dark is Rising" books by Susan Cooper, the "Wind in the Door" / "Swiftly Tilting Planet" series by Madeleine L'Engle, "Five children and It" and "The Phoenix and the Carpet" by E. Nesbit, everything ever written by Avi...Er... as a child I was obviously a reader!!
Thank you for bringing this up, it's made me remember so many books I used to love! I think I am off to Amazon. com now, to search for some old friends!
Edited at 2009-02-22 11:32 pm (UTC)
I lived near the author of Green Knowe. Her garden was just like in the book and every so often you could go round it.
that has always been one of my fantasies of a house too!! Secret rooms!! I still dream about it to this day from finding them in the house i grew up in to buying one now. Should be a requirement if I ever buy another house. I think there is on in Magnolia, not to far from where Cindy lived. Apparently it was part of the underground railroad and has hidden rooms.
Now I have to think of favorite young adult novels.
There were so many.. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Robert Heinlein, Madeleine L'Engle, etc. were all big favorites.. but the one book that really stands out from the mix was Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. When I read it, I was just young enough to read it without any hint of cynicism, and I recall being shocked by how evocative and fresh his language was, despite the nostalgic sheen. I really think that that book is responsible for waking me up to the possibilities of the English language. And I still have to smile and think of that last bottle of sunshine in the cellar whenever I see a hill coated with dandelions.
Two jump out at me:
Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassidey (some distant relation)
An...orphan? goes to live with her two maiden aunts in a big old girls boarding school. She waits for the other girls to show up and then figures out that they will not show up. So you imagines herself to be in charge of a gang of made up girls. She keeps hearing voices and trying to find them in the giant old house (I LOVE A GIANT OLD HOUSE WITH SECRETS!!) She finds them and they are dolls and she learns to have real friends from these talking dolls. SO GOOD.
Also, The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
A bunch of kids meet in an old shop and a vacant lot and do all sorts of awesome Egyptian stuff and there's a mystery. This book made me even more obsessed with Egyptian stuff and made me want to find a kick ass vacant lot!
2009-02-23 12:47 am (UTC)
Heinlein juveniles, definitely. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel
is great, combining small-town life, tech geekery (restoring the spacesuit), aliens, traveling to Pluto, traveling beyond the solar system, representing humanity before a galactic court, and eventually returning successfully to Earth.
I also have a very very great fondness for The Rolling Stones
, in which the Stone twins Castor and Pollux convince their family to buy a spaceship and head for Mars. Fascinating discussions about the ships, about the process of refurbishing it, and various times later about various things done to adapt to different situations. Then out to the Asteroid belt, and finally on out to Titan I think it was. All financed by various family members writing a bad science fiction serial.
It feels strange describing those. It's just such a given in my social group here that of course everybody knows those. But I'm sure that's not actually true.
Eric Frank Russel's Men, Martians, and Machines
is one I know I had before I was in 6th grade, and I've read it over and over again. Stories about exploring various new planets, featuring "Jay Score", a humanoid robot, who isn't perfect, but is pretty good.
Alan E. Nourse, Raiders from the Rings
, about a culture exiled out from Earth that has to raid Earth for women since radiation renders too many of them sterile out where they live. The book is about bringing the cultures back together by overcoming lots of past history. (One of his books provided the title, though nothing else, for the movie Bladerunner
, too.) Oh, and he was a doctor. And his surname is pronounced the same as "nurse". The Mystery of the Electronic Mind Reader
, one of the Rick Brant juvenile books, by John Blaine (house name, I believe). He lives with his father on Spindrift Island, and is an amateur radio operator, and has a pilot's license, and gets involved in adventures. I only ever found this one as a kid. The Tom Swift books were more available, but less interesting (less well written).
back, there's also The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree
by Louis Slobodkin, and Sprockets, A Little Robot
by Alexander Key, both of which I remember from the school library at Longfellow school in Northfield, where I was only for third grade. Sprockets is only "semi-positronic", and the young protagonist flies the family helicopter because his brilliant father is too absent-minded to pay attention long enough. I've written about those here
And way WAY back gets me to The Mysterious Island
and The Wind in the Willows
, which I refuse to summarize because you can't possibly
not know about them, or if you can't there's stuff all over the web about them (including mine here
Also of course Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
, which I adapted as a puppet play in 5th grade. That project caused me to learn to touch-type, because transcribing the script onto ditto masters by hand was clearly hopeless.
I was such a cliche book nerd when I was a kid. All I did was read.
From my youth:
Me by Katherine Hepburn
The Harry Potter series was significant (and no I am not ashamed)
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Perks of Being a Wall Flower by Stephen Chbosky
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Sword of Truth novels by Terry Goodkind (but I got terribly bored with them after the 8th one)
Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever by Judge Judy (I was 15)
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by John Foer
I think those were the important ones.
2009-02-23 09:38 pm (UTC)
Re: book slut
Time moves so differently as you get older; Harry Potter is a *current* series. There are still two more movies to come, aren't there? So having it be something "from my youth" sounds so strange.
Lad: a Dog and The Way of a Dog by Albert Payson Terhune were probably my favorites, along with Misty of Chincoteague and myriad other animal books. But I went through many YA works fairly quickly and jumped right into the thick of it - Kon-tiki and The Grapes of Wrath when I was 11 - then all the James Bond books. LOL And biographies. I read every biography I could get my hands on. I had cut quite a swath through English literature by the time I was 14 - Silas Marner remains one of my favorites.
I grew up in a house of readers. TV was always off - and everyone would be sitting around with books. The sibling closest to me was 11 years older than I, so I read what they were reading. My mother did not believe in censoring anything but television. Consequently, I never watched it, I didn't even own one until I was 36 years old.
I guess I must be much older...because the Harry Potter books were NOT in my youth...hah
what comes to mind for me first was...Lisa bright and dark. I particularly recall the image of her walking through the glass door quite vividly.
Johnathan Livingston Seagull. Yes yes...I know.
I read Weave World about 6 times I loved it so much. I think that might have been 6th grade. which was also right about the same time of my infatuation with Clan of the Cave bear.
I read the tolkein books when I was about 9 and revisited them again in the teen years only because I had a troll doll named frodo and none of my friends understood.
Nothing earth shattering there.
Heh. I read the Clan of the Cave Bear books when I was... 9? I know I had finished them by the time I was 10, because that's when I started grade 7 and I remember thinking how stunningly inappropriate it was for our teacher to put them on the grade 7 reading shelf, even for a gifted-readers class.