I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Favorite reads of my childhood

Book blogger Paper Cuts had a post a while back about books that she enjoyed before blogging, and that inspired me to have a post like that too!  There have been many I have adored over the years and I wanted to spotlight a few, starting with the ones I loved to read in elementary school.  The library was (and still is) my friend, and I loved to go browsing there yet always seemed to leave with an unread book from one of the following series. When I was young though, mystery stories really appealed to me, and they were the genre I would most often check out.

Nancy Drew series
by Carolyn Keene

I had a teacher in fourth grade with shoulder length strawberry blonde hair, and I always kind of thought of her as a grown up Nancy Drew.  And she was a fantastic teacher.  But anyways.  I devoured this series when I was young - I so wanted to go solving mysteries with my friends and a boyfriend in a nice car.  Nancy is just so logical and brave and curious, and that really appealed to me as a kid.  I haven't read Nancy Drew mysteries in a while, and in a way I am afraid to. They were so perfect to me when I was young, that I fear some magic will be missing when I re-read them.  The things I enjoyed about this series, really stemmed from the mystery, and I don't want to find the mysteries too easy now that I'm older.

The Three Investigators series
by Robert Arthur

"The Three Investigators" series first caught my eye because they used Alfred Hitchcock's name on the cover.  Not sure why he was included, but because my Mom is a Hitchcock fan and made me watch some of his films (for the longest time though we were too afraid to watch Psycho), I was attracted to reading this series.  And what an awesome premise!  Jupiter, boy genius, has an Uncle who owns a scrapyard, and he has created a headquarters in the middle with it completely covered with all the junk.  But with secret passages in and out.  So cool!  This book also inspired me to try to learn Morse code (with indifferent results) and also carry a bit of chalk around with me. You know, in case I get kidnapped and have to make markers.  The adventures these three boys went on were so much fun, and Jupiter was such a great detective.

The Boxcar Children series
by Gertrude Chandler Warner

When I think of these books, I don't remember the mystery aspect as much as the idea of children living in their own little home.  Growing up I didn't have my own room, so having a secretive boxcar to sleep and arrange the way I wanted would have been heaven.  The characters of the Boxcar children were also especially vivid to me, and they worked so well together.  I think just those two aspects make this story immediately appealing to children.  And the author would create such descriptive passages about their lives that it was easy to really believe in this world.  And for some reason it made me crave bread and milk.  And I don't even like milk.

Encyclopedia Brown series
by Donald J. Sobol

I still like to read these stories!  Encyclopedia Brown was another boy genius who was always able to solve a mystery within a few pages.  And the best part was the opportunity given for the reader to solve the mystery as well!  I was never very good at solving the mystery when I was young - partly because I wasn't patient enough to really sit there and think over the details, but flipping to the back and reading how Encyclopedia solved the mystery was always such a highlight for me.  I think I just preferred to have him tell me than to try to guess.  (Now, if I reread these stories,  I need to figure out how they were solved, because I can't be beat by a 10 year old boy!  I still am though.... sometimes...)  Another fun part of this series is the recurring cast of characters - Encyclopedia's friend and body guard Sally, the ever mischievous Bugs Meany and a whole slew of well meaning and less well meaning kids that inhabited the small town of Idaville.  The stories are so clever and inventive, and great for quick entertainment.

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  1. This reminds me of something I wanted to e-mail you about! I love Nancy Drew!

    1. Hee, yes, I'm surprised you didn't pick Nancy Drew for the PMR discussion!

  2. I never really got into mystery--still haven't--but I think I read one or two Boxcar Children! Looking back now, I wish I had read most of these books when I was younger, especially since they hold such fond memories for so many people.

    Lovely post! I'm so glad you told me you did it today! :)

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

    1. The first Boxcar Children book wasn't much of a mystery if I remember correctly, so maybe that was why you picked it up. I do find that I don't read as many mysteries now for some reason. Other genres seem to appeal to me more. Thanks for the idea and for stopping by Rachel!

  3. I remember Encyclopedia Brown! I loved those books!

    1. Oh yay, they do bring back such great memories reading them and giving up trying to figure them out! :D