Monday, May 23, 2005

Reader Survey, 2.1a(c)

Direct from his interlude in Phoenix, Middlebrow wrote about watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with Son and family. This spurred a discussion of Tim Burton movies, with SleepyE contending that Burton hasn't had a decent movie since Pee Wee's Big Adventure, which, of course, is a pretty damning statement since it was his first major movie, and therefore condemns movies like Edward Scissorhands, Beatlejuice, and Ed Wood.

All this got me thinking about how much I hated Willy Wonka because Gene Wilder scared the bejesus out of me. As a child I was unprepared for his total lack of care for the kids who messed up and his outright mean-spiritedness. The scene where he literally screams at poor Charlie is etched in my memory. This, of course, contrasted wildly with Roald Dahl's book Charlie and the Chocoloate Factory which is one of the books that got me really hooked on reading as a kid.

Now this is not a survey about Tim Burton or the scariness that is Gene Wilder at all, but a survey on which books got you hooked as a kid.

I'll start: Where the Red Fern Grows (ahhhh poor dawgs!), Old Yeller (ahhhh poor dawg!), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Box Car Children, any Hardy Boys, and, most importantly, I think, James and the Giant Peach.


  1. There's different books at different developmental stages. So I'll start at earliest.
    Childcraft volume one poetry. I would start at page one every night and reread every poem and try to get a page further.
    Boxcar Children
    Biographies of famous people
    Believe it or not, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I know I read those books before I was 10.

  2. I forgot this author, John MacDonald. I think that's what got me hooked on mysteries. My grandfather lived with us and there was always a John MacDonald mystery on his bedside table.

  3. Anonymous1:25 PM

    "My Brother Sam is Dead" is about a couple of brothers enduring the revolutionary war. It was good.

    So was Ice Station Zebra. I actually got cold reading that book in 8th grade english class.

    Oh, and The Citadel--awesome climbing story. and that one about the two guys out in the of em' kills the other to survive...

  4. I read My Brother Sam is Dead. I was going to put it on the list.

  5. I don't ever remember not reading. Certainly Where the Red Fern Grows was a big one for me. Of course I'll never read it again or watch the movie. I can't even keep from squeezing out a tear if someone even mentions coon hounds.

    Dickens was probably another big one for me. Assigned in school I was amazed at how much I loved it and started looking forward to assigned readings.

    What I read over and over as a kid until the books just wore out was the James Herriot series.

  6. Charlotte's Web was the first book I ever read. It seems a short leap from there to Where the Red Fern Grows, which I read every year for awhile when I was a kid. Then, of course, Little House on the Prarie, The Happy Hollisters (a family with a set of twins and many other children who solve mysteries. My father recently gave me the set we bought from the public library in Morning Sun, Iowa), and, of course Nancy Drew. Then Judy Blume.

  7. I was a fantasy freak. I will even admit here that I played Dungeons and Dragons. I read Piers Anthony, David Eddings, Stephen R. Donaldson, and, of course, Tolkein.

    In elementary school I was fond of reading those Tab books or Scholastic mini biographies of sports stars.

    I also read, as it happens, John MacDonald (in high school).

  8. Something else came to mind. I didn't have much access to children's literature in elementary school. Checking out 2 books a week didn't do it for me. But when I got to middle school and had unlimited access, I would start at the A's and start reading. I would work down the shelves. I also remember doing this in High School. I also became a library aide so that I could have more direct contact with the books.

  9. Where the Wild Things Are, HG Wells, James and the Giant Peach (way better than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and, finally, a mystery called The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I read it near the end of third grade and it blew my mind.

    BTW, I'm in such an anti-Tim Burton mood these days that I'll go a step further and say that Pee Wee's Big Adventure is a great movie in SPITE of Burton, not because of him. It was written by Paul Reubens and the late genius Phil Hartmann after all.

    I just read an interview with him saying that the Gene Wilder version was "way too sappy and sentimental" and that they are going to do something darker.

  10. A Splinter in Time. I forgot that one too.

    I'm starting to agree with you, Sleep. Burton seems to be good for only one thing: a certain design/feel/look. Everything else just falls apart when it is not based solely one appearance for him (thus the train wreck he called Bat Man.)

  11. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
    The Dark is Rising books by Susan Cooper
    Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

    All scifi/fant lovers should know that Andre Norton died a couple months ago. Fortunately she left marvelous stories behind.

  12. A Wrinkle in Time
    Indian in the Cupboard
    Are you There God It's me Margaret?
    James and the Giant Peach

  13. OOps, I think I meant a Wrinkle in Time. Isn't there a book with splinter in the title?

  14. Ooo, and you know the other ones I could not get enough of? Encyclopedia Brown. And did any of you Utahites (Utahians?) metion The Great Brain? Did I miss that.

    Any series were good.

  15. I forgot about The Westing Game! And Encyclopedia Brown! And the Great Brain! I read all those. I was addicted to Encyclopedia Brown. Where all great mystery lovers begin!!
    (when I came to SLC I actually thought it was so cool that there is a ZCMI just like in the GB books!)

  16. Anonymous2:51 PM

    Maybe you meant swftly tilting planet? that is the sequel to wrinkle. splinter something sounds familiar too though, and I think there may be yet another sequel.
    I read Archie comics non-stop, and those crazy 70's Chariot of the Gods type books, and I loved the Little House on the Prairie books. I remember the first episode of that show, I tried to follow along with my book--silly.

  17. Hey Richelle, I really liked the Schick Sun Classic movies. Particularly their version of Chariots of the Gods. Remember Schick Sun Classic? Who could forget them?

  18. Chronicles of Narnia.

  19. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Hey, what about "choose your own adventure" novels...they were totally cool. and that one about the Jewish kid...hmmmm.

    and the Hardy Boys (well...).

  20. I admit, as a young girl, to having a whole L.M. Alcott thing, including rereading the books. Harriet the Spy. A Wrinkle in Time. There was a big romance novel also by Madeleine L'Engle called Camilla that I read until I'm pretty sure it caused brain damage. A big pile of Nancy Drews and Trixie Belden books.