The List by Donna

This week we're writing about our favorite books from childhood and I took a little trip down memory lane.  I was a voracious reader, working my way through stacks of library books in record setting time, but I haven't thought about the books I loved as a child for awhile.

I decided to do some research (and was procrastinating).  I googled all the popular, best selling books from my childhood years.  It was so fun to remember books I absolutely adored and had completely forgotten. I made a list of some of my top choices and tried to see if there were any themes or insights to be gained.

My first realization was that I had some interesting inconsistencies.  I didn't think I liked to read certain genres, yet there they were on my list.  I don't like much science fiction, but there was A WRINKLE IN TIME.  I don't read fantasy, but I loved the Arthurian legend series (THE CRYSTAL CAVE, THE HOLLOW HILLS) by Mary Stewart and, of course, CS Lewis' CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.  I'm not much into historical settings, right? But then I devoured every single one of the LITTLE HOUSE books and, later, was a huge of fan of WUTHERING HEIGHTS.  Horror?  Not so much.  Yet I was obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe.  Especially (for some reason) ANNABELLE LEE.

I also saw a lot of books on the list that had strong, opinionated, quirky main characters.  Remember HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh, FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E.L. Konigsburg, and PIPPI LONGSTOCKING by Astrid Lindgren?  I loved Harriet so much I immediately began keeping a spy journal on all my friends and I dressed up like Pippi for Halloween.

I think there's something to be learned.  There's a reason I loved these books and perhaps it can inform my own writing.  I need to tell a great story with wonderful, flawed main characters.  If I'm able to do that, I will reach across genres and preconceived notions.  And who knows, maybe someday someone will remember one of my books with fond memories.

Here's a few others from my list.  Do you remember any of them?  What would be on your list?

Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls 
Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell 
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare 
The Pigman, Paul Zindel
The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton 
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


I loved Harriet, too, Donna! And Fitzhugh's companion novel, THE LONG SECRET. And I adored FREAKY FRIDAY and, of course, THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH.

I love so many of the books you have listed--I think I went through everything Mary Stewart ever wrote! Joan Aiken's books, especially THE CUCKOO TREE, are historical fiction/magic, with young, plucky Dido Twite thwarting conspiracies to kill Richard The 4th in misty olde England. I still have my copy from 1975--apparently never returned to the Oxford City Libraries...

I read every Little House book, Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking, I just recently read From the Mixed Up Files, and still love it. Love, love, love, Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. And loved the Chronicles of Narnia. Used to skip Sunday School and read them in the church library! Anyone heard of The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles? by Julie Andrews (yes that one) I loved that one. Recently bought a copy for myself. And I think I've read every fairy tale written in English. In elementary school the fairy tale books used to have beautiful pictures to go along with a single story. I can't find those books today.

I always thought I didn't read fantasy, I cut my teeth on fantasy!


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