What books from childhood have stuck with you the most?

#1

I loved Diana Wynne Jones as a kid and reread her books a lot, even now. Whenever I go visit my parents I have access to my childhood bookshelf again and I always end up picking up one of hers. Most recently I reread the crown of dalemark and the dark lord of derkholm…just as good as I remembered.

What’s stuck with you?

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#2

Hey, great question! For me the first that comes to mind is definitely Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy — amazing worldbuilding, compelling characters, awesome dark mysterious fantasy plot that stays strong across three novels — I reread all three recently and it held up really well.

I haven’t read any Diana Wynne Jones yet but will have to borrow a couple favorites of yours :smiley:

Others that stand out…

Well, Harry Potter, but what millennial wouldn’t say that? Actually a series I started reading earlier and thus was probably more formative is Redwall. Rollicking good adventure epics with a cast of woodland creatures and famously sumptuous feasts! Haha I probably read around a dozen of those, I think I still have them somewhere…

Oh, also Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…and the underappreciated (or maybe justly less appreciated) sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Lots of great Roald Dahl, his story collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More I remember pretty fondly too.

Not exactly childhood but in high school (AP English summer reading project I think) I had to choose an author and read at least 3 of their books. I chose Gabriel García Márquez and really loved One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. I should probably re-read them at some point!

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#3

Oh yeah, Henry sugar. Wasn’t that the one where a guy gets magic powers by staring into the black part of a flame? I still stare into black parts of flames to this day, inspired by that story lol

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#4

+1 for Roald Dahl! My favorite was always Fantastic Mr. Fox. It holds an extra special place in my heart for also helping me discover Wes Anderson earlier than I otherwise would have.

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#5

Same for Roald Dahl, Redwall, Harry Potter

I will say comics have been a big part of my childhood, like manga (Doraemon) or Calvin & Hobbes or Mafalda (which was translated to Chinese for some reason)

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#6

I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid. The books I remember reading over and over again: Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, and Animorphs. I liked animals as much as most children.

As a teen, I remember connecting on a deeper level with immigrant tales, like The Assistant by Bernard Malamud. Probably because there were parallels to my own upbringing.

But sometimes the connections are too strong, the stories already stuck. My mom stopped reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories almost as soon as she picked them up: “this is too similar to my experience, why would I read it?”.

Deep cuts, ma. Deep cuts.

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#7

OMG ANIMORPHS!!! I think about Tobias and how he got stuck in hawk form all the time.

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#8

I used to beg my parents to take me to Barnes and Nobles every friday night, where I’d sit in the graphic novels section for hours and just read. Shoutout Magic Knights Rayearth, Fushigi Yugi, and Fruits Basket…

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#9

Yea I used to go to the library to read Ranma comics haha

I think the first school assigned book in middel/high school I liked was Brave New World

Altho it may have been because i got an A on the paper I wrote. English was not my strongest subject…

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#10

Such an interesting question!

My first real “dive” into a love of reading, was when I was starting grade 6. Life turned on its head, and several years of pretty severe poverty ensued.

I grabbed the first thing I found, that I could escape into, and, quite by accident, ended up reading the entire Necroscope series by Brian Lumley.
A series about a psychic anti-espionage government agency in Britain. It has a ton of supernatural content, but is mainly focussed on vampires, except not like we typically read about them. Instead their horrifying and vile, in myriad ways. Too much to mention here.

A very adult and complex series for my age at the time. It essentially opened the door for me to new worlds. And pushed me to a college reading level before I hit grade 7.

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#11

I also read the Boxcar Children, Roald Dahl, Calvin and Hobbes. My family also all read a series called Swallows & Amazons by Arthur Ransom which I’m excited to read to my children one day (I guess I should reread them at some point before that).

In middle and high school I read quite a lot of very trashy fantasy. Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms. Probably too adult for me at the time. The Star Wars extended universe (booo Disney).

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#12

@ElderKane wow, always amazing how much a book can really affect your life. Looking back, I think I read a lot for escape too…even now I read to escape, come to think of it. One of the most magical things about reading imo, it’s so absorbing that it takes your mind off of whatever else you’re worried or stressed about.

@spike man you just made me remember when it felt like everyone I knew was reading Dragonlance! I think I only didn’t get into it because the library never had the first books so I could never start from the beginning and have it all make sense. I also remember everyone reading Anne McCaffrey. Everyone just wanted to read about dragons basically.

More in the vein of childhood books that really affected my life/shaped my worldview, I also remember reading The Princess Bride for the first time in middle school and getting incredibly attached because one of its messages is that life isn’t fair. It felt like it respected me enough to let me in on this adult truth that I’d sensed, but that no other book had yet articulated or acknowledged to me. All while remaining a highly entertaining story.

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#13

@jinjin omg i also used to sit in Barnes & Noble and read Fruits Basket. i feel seen.

as a kid i read pretty much any fantasy series i could find at the library. there were a few that were basically knockoff Harry Potters, but I still really enjoyed - Septimus Heap, the Bartimaeus Trilogy, Eragon.

also i LOVED the Little House on the Prairie books. for whatever reason, i was super into reading about people building log houses and taming horses and churning butter.

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#14

+1 to Redwall. I was a huge fan of Redwall, I still think about those books often.

There was another series I don’t hear people talk about too often but I really loved, My Name Is America. They were fictional diaries from different young boys and men experiencing America at very different times throughout history, I devoured those.

My mom is an English teacher and my dad is a huge history nut, so between the two of them they were always willing to me to the library or bookstore and pick up some new history read, so I typically strayed away from the more common childhood books. Though I did get a first edition Harry Potter and The Sorceror’s Stone from my aunt and uncle who are now a very vocal protestors of the “teachings” of J.K. Rowling online.

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#15

Omg, that reminds me, I used to read and really like the Dear America series which I think is the same thing as My Name Is America, but starring all girls. Thinking back it’s sort of weird the genders were so separated…

#16

Yeah! The separation was so odd, I guess it lines up with the idea of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew? It seems like those separations aren’t happening any more, which is dandy.

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#17

Also a huge Redwall fan! I think Redwall was a gateway drug into fantasy.

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