5 Things :: what I grew up reading

Can you believe that it’s already been almost a month since the auspicious inauguration of T3?

That’s right, my friends! This coming up Thursday marks the one-month anniversary of my fledgling linkup with Selah @ A Bibliophile’s Style so grab that book/blog post/article you’ve been reading and dream up a pretty for us. Don’t say I didn’t remind you.

In preparation for the day and perhaps to rev up your imagination, I give you my 5 fave childhood books. As with all great ideas, this one did not originate with me but I think it’s apropos to the upcoming occasion, so I shall appropriate it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, n’est-ce pas?

Anyhow, without further ado and in no particular order:

1. Nancy Drew – I started with The Secret of the Old Clock and stopped collecting them with The Secret in the Old Lace, around about the time my family made the big move from the Philippines to the good old USA. I made my parents pack up all those hardback books and brought them with me – each of us sisters got to pick one major thing to bring with us and the books were my choice – and I still have them to this very day. Too bad they’re so antiquated – both in presentation and content – that my daughter refuses to even look at them. Tragedy.

2. Bobbsey Twins – Who knew the history of this series was so fascinating? Not I. I just knew that I felt like the luckiest girl alive when relatives would come home from “overseas” with the newest edition. Yep, another pre-immigration fave and one that also traveled across the ocean with me.  Gods, the cost of shipping all these hardbacks (I had them all up to #71) plus the Nancy Drews must’ve beggared my parents!

3. Trixie Belden – Now these I remember collecting once I arrived in America. I’d stalk the local Waldenbooks (remember them?) or Crown for the newest installment. Sadly, the series stalled on #34 in 1980 and by the time the last 5 books in the series picked up again in 1984, I was a grown-up twelve-year-old and had graduated to fantasy novels and never remembered to revisit much less complete the series. I hear these last 5 books are now collectors’ items. I smell a Mad Hunt coming on…

4. Anne of Green Gables – Not just the first book, of course, but the entire Anne Shirley chronicles, right up to the tales of her daughter in Rilla of Ingleside. This was how I was first introduced to Tennyson and British literature and I guess I never looked back. Ah, the Lady of Shalott!

5. Little Women/Little Men/Jo’s Boys – Yes, I was a Louisa May Alcott junkie. So much so that when I interviewed for my first teaching position and the English department head ingenuously asked me which fictional character I identified with the most, I unhesitatingly and definitively responded with “Jo March”! Are the stories hopelessly old-fashioned and irrelevant in today’s society? Sure. I doubt I could get even the most sycophantic kid to read them. But do I cry every time Beth dies or Jo says yes to Mr. Bhaer? Every. Flipping. Time.

Having now compiled this list, I realize that, even then, I was a series whore. I think it’s the inveterate bookworm in me that makes me want to immerse myself in a world and stay there for as long as possible. I wonder if that’s why I’m so drawn to fantasy? That genre is a cornucopia of sequels, trilogies, and endless installments.

Things that make you go, “hmmmmm…”


Week in review – Nothing in life is free? I beg to differ.

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17 thoughts on “5 Things :: what I grew up reading

  1. […] thought to use my freebie T3 month by talking about childhood reads but then I remembered a post a long, long time ago that did just […]

  2. dapperdolly says:

    A nice list and of course wouldn’t expect otherwise. I’ve read books from 1, 4 and 5 – never heard of 2 and 3 so will have to check them out. I probably would of put What Katy Did and Black Beauty on there.

    Wanting to do T3 this week but things don’t look so bright.

    • mtsedwards says:

      Hrmmm…I wonder of the Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden were mainly American books? Btw, I managed to pick up the Mysterious Benedict Society books. Read the first two but may just have to give up on the third. Not that it isn’t splendid – I guess I’m in the mood for a faster-paced read right now.

      Oh, no! No T3 for you? Hope all is well?

      • dapperdolly says:

        Yeah it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen unfortunately. I will get Fancy Friday up as you know there’s bloggers depending on me though it’ll be a real squeeze. I look forward to seeing what you ladies will come up for T3 though, it was very interesting last time 🙂

  3. Yeah, I’ve found my kindred spirits! And, I thought I was the only dorky *serial* reader. Hahaha! Your list is my list, but I must add C.S. Lewis. I was mesmerized by the wardrobe series! I’m a sucker for series books too…

    • mtsedwards says:

      Yes, I was hard-pressed with this list too. I’m wondering if I should rename it my top 5 fave books pre-USA. Because when I moved to America in 1982 and had access to more books and a super-amazing school librarian, my focus shifted from mysteries to fantasy and Narnia is top on that list.

      Huzzah to kindred spirits!! You know you’re a reader if you’re a sucker for serials. 😀

  4. Nancy Drew for me too! I had dozens of them and would re-read them. She was so plucky!

    • mtsedwards says:

      I formed my earliest impressions of America from reading the Nancy Drew books. Imagine my shock and disappointment when we immigrated and there was no welcome wagon or friendly neighbors waiting for me when we got here in 1982. It wasn’t until much later, when my teachers introduced me to the concept of the copyright, that I realized how woefully out-of-date the novels were.

  5. Val S says:

    I never got into Nancy Drew or the Bobbsey Twins, although my sister had them. And I never read Anne of Green Gables. I somehow missed the classic children’s books while I was reading all of Mary C. Jane’s mysteries.

    You might enjoy this challenge – I managed to get 43, but could have added a couple more if I’d read the whole Harry Potter and Dark Materials series. I bet you’ve read them all!

    • mtsedwards says:

      I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only read 36 from this list. Then again, I didn’t click on Shakespeare because I’ve not read the complete works – this historicals bored me – and you did say the Dark Materials and HP books count as more than one? Still, I feel properly put in my place; some English major/teacher I am, eh? :/

      • That list is weird. The Complete William Shakespeare is on there, and so is Hamlet. The Chronicles of Narnia are there, as well as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a separate entry. Also, numerous Jane Austen and Charles Dickens novels listed separately, but Shakespeare is a compilation? Anyway, I scored about the same as you. A few were kind of questionable (I’ve read lots of Shakespeare, but not ALL, ditto the Bible).

        • mtsedwards says:

          Oh, thank goodness I’m not the only one. Yes, the list is weird. Silly BBC! I do like these lists, however, because it helps narrow down my choices for reading material. I suppose I should vow to read one “classic” for every brain candy YA novel, eh? I tell my students all the time to expand their horizons; I should practice what I preach.

          • Yeah, if I wasn’t a huge Austen fan and a fairly big Dickens fan, my number would’ve been WAY lower. 🙂

            I like how one book can lead you to another. Like, much as I love fantasy, I had never read any Ursula K. Le Guin, until I read The Jane Austen Book Club (because, of course). One of the characters is a huge Le Guin fan, so I read Earthsea, which I loved.

  6. I was never into Nancy Drew but I read all the others, especially Anne (seriously, I think I read everything L. M. Montgomery published) and Jo (even Alcott’s other works Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom).
    Have you read the Cece Caruso books by Susan Kandel? They’re brain candy kind of fluffy mysteries, and the second book is specifically about Nancy Drew:

    • mtsedwards says:

      Oh, yeah. Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom stood me in good stead when I needed more romance in my reading diet.

      I’ve not heard of Cece Caruso. Must investigate…

  7. Anne the SpyGirl says:

    Nancy Drew junkie here! My mom still has the few purchased copies (some may have been HER copies!) the Bray family owns. Mostly I borrowed them from the library. I always enjoyed comparing the endpaper (inside cover) graphics in the various editions — yes, in elementary school I sat in the Sheffield, MA Public Library and looked at endpapers.
    The Mystery genre is rife with series as well. Wait, so are westerns, romance… are serial novels a genre (vs “high” fiction) “thing”? Probably, as a marketing angle.

    • mtsedwards says:

      OMGosh, me too! I’d forgotten about the endpaper! I compared them too! In fact, I’d use them to remember which ones I’d yet to collect.

      Romances are serial as well? I’m sure I trust you on this but I can’t think of one off the top of my head. Westerns, I’m not familiar with at all. Definitely a marketing angle, though. BFF and I were bemoaning the state of YA fiction right now- everything MUST be at least a trilogy, which is irritating when you’re trying to get kids to read and the rest of the series hasn’t been written yet. And I don’t think this trend is going away. It’s almost as if publishers require new authors to have at least a sequel lurking in the works before signing them on.

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