Thursday, August 7, 2008

Favorite Books of My Childhood

There are three books I remember that really got me into reading for pleasure, and the set the tone for the types of books I'd continue reading. I'm a genre guy, specifically a science fiction and horror guy, and I'm okay with that. At least I read. Isn't that the most important thing?

I'm not sure which book came first, so I will talk about them in random order. I hope that is okay with everybody.

The first is The Hero from Otherwhere, by Jay Williams. This is actually a fantasy book, which I don't normally read, but I loved it as a kid. I can't remember all of the story, it was over 25 years ago, but I remember what really clicked with me; the magic bowls. These two boys that were in this magical land were given two bowls, anything they wanted to eat would magically appear in them when the tapped them. As an added bonus the bowls cleaned themselves as well. As I young boy that was enough to get me hooked and keep me reading. I imagined all the cool food I could eat as I walked around my own little town. I didn't want to go to the magical landthey were in, it was a little scary.

Of course, being a young adult book, there was a message. From what I remember, the two boys were not friends by any means, but they had to learn to work together to get back home. This was accomplished by coming up with the perfect magical words to get two stone pieces to magically become one. From what I see on Amazon, it looks my memory is pretty good. See, it did stick with me!

The second book really got me stuck on science fiction. It was a series of books actually, the Lucky Starr series, by Isaac Asimov. I found the first one in the library at our grade school and ended up devouring the whole series. It was perfect for me, a series of books about a space ranger who fights crime on different planets in our solar system. So not only did I learn that crime didn't pay, but I learned about our tiny piece of the galaxy.

After reading that series I read science fiction books all the way through high school and into college. My advanced reading teacher in high school was kind enough to let me continue the trend, and even offered up some other suggestions. That's for a different post.

The last book was The Gismo from Outer Space, by Keo Felker Lazaruas. See the trend yet? I'm not sure where this fell in the timing of my "Big Three", all I know is I read this book a lot. I think I would pull it out and read it twice a year. It's not like I forgot what happened, I just enjoyed it that much.

In the book, two boys find a weird little gismo (that's how it is spelled in the book), and they have no idea what it is for. On a whim, one of the kids hooks into into his crystal radio set (the books is from the early 70's) and the end up communicating with somebody. After a while they realize they are talking to aliens who dropped this piece off of one of their spaceships. Eventually they meet the aliens and that is all I can remember. I think they keep the piece and can talk to them for a while, but I could be wrong. I'm pretty sure the book is in our garage; I may search for it. If I find it I will pass along the ending. I know you are on the edge of your seat.

So, those were the three books that got me into reading and I haven't stopped yet. If you have kids I recommend any one, or all, of these to get them to enjoy reading. Maybe you could try them out, too. If you do, let me know what you think.

This post was inspired by the Bookworm Carnival. This month's theme was young adult books and is being hosted by Florinda. She is going to post links to some posts on the same topic. Go check it out.

6 comments:

Florinda said...

Thanks for submitting this to the Bookworms Carnival! Sounds like all of these books made a big impression on you.

When I was younger, I'd re-read certain favorite books every year or so too. Can't do it anymore - too much new stuff out there.

And yes, the most important thing is that you read, period :-).

dc said...

I haven't read a good book recently. I need to do that soon. But, I have a read some pretty good cereal boxes! :P

Mike said...

Florinda: I guess they did, especially since I remember specifics from over 25 years ago. I guess my memory is still OK. :)

DC: have you read the latest Lucky Charms? That guy is crazy. :)

Heather J. said...

Ah, another genre lover! Ok, ok, I've branched out over the years, but as I kid/teen I was TOTALLY into SciFi/Fantasy. I devoured all the books by JRR Tolkien, David Eddings, Frank Herbert, and Robert Jordan. I even went through a Peirs Anthony phase. I never did read the books you mentioned, but they seem a bit to "science-y" for me ... I'm more of a Fantasy gal myself. :)

Karen said...

I was never into sci-fi as a kid. But as I grew and branched out a bit, I found that I enjoyed much of what I read in the genre--thanks for the tips on three more.

Mike said...

Heather: It's okay to admit it. At least you have branches out. I haven't too much. :) I have never read any Tolkien, I don't know why, but I read almost every book Frank Herbert put out.

Yes, my favorites were more science-y. :)

Karen: I hope you can find the books! The Asimov should be relatively easy, not so sure on the others. Good luck!