Which One Did It?

I was clearing out a bookshelf the other day and came across one of my old Nancy Drew books, a hardback copy of The Secret of the Old Clock, the first in the series.

Mine is the 1959 version which had been revised from the original 1930s version. They made Nancy 18 years old instead of 16 and gave her a spiffy Mustang convertible rather than her original roadster.

I read every single one of those books. No, I didn’t read them. I devoured them. I gulped, guzzled and gorged myself on them. Even at the time I knew they were all basically the same story, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t wait to share the adventures with Nancy, Bess, George and Ned.

She had a housekeeper and no mother! And a convertible! And a girlfriend named George! What a strange and exotic world!

Ahhh. I loved that world and my visits there turned me into a reading junkie. If I didn’t get my daily fix, I got the shakes.

It made me wonder about the books that other people loved.

So, tell me … what turned you into a raging reader?

0 thoughts on “Which One Did It?

  1. Donna

    My first book was “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell. I was 5 and it was a Christmas present to me from Santa at my Dad’s office party. I recently found an identical version at an antique (!) store. I had to get it. Ever since I have been enthralled by books about animals. Albert Payson Terhune wrote “Lad, a Dog” about collies; that series kept me reading all summer. “Big Red” by Jim Kjellyard (sp) made Irish Setters my next passion. When we were growing up we were always so excited on Tuesdays — library night! All the kids would check out the maximum number of books allowed and by the time we went back the next week, we had ALL read ALL the books! I made Dad take me to the library right away when they called me about a special request. He was a little put out when I read the entire book while I waited for him to run into the store for milk! Reading has been a lifelong adventure. Thrillers, spy novels, mysteries, historical fiction, true crime, romances, science fiction (a legacy from Dad), fantasy….you name it, I’ll read it. Am I gushing?

  2. Jessie

    The Redwall books … but you knew that! They were my first thick chapter books. There wasn’t a day of the week I was without one. They had everything: action, adventure, romance, big feasts, puzzle-solving, riddle-cracking … and all of the characters were small, cute animals, except for the villains: rats (notably Cluny the Scourge), foxes (Chickenhound comes to mind), weasels, ferrets and snakes (Asmodeus!). Oh, I want to go read one right now!

  3. William M. Brock

    All About Dinosaurs by Roy Chapman Andrews
    (the real Indiana Jones)

    Five Boys in a Cave by Richard Church

  4. beckycc

    Wow. Such great memories!

    I had another one too. One year for Christmas, the year we were poor, I got a hardbound copy of Bambi. It had those ragged, antique-looking edges to the pages. The cover was white and it had a clear plastic dust jacket. I remember thinking that was the pinnacle of maturity because everyone KNOWS you don’t give white things to little kids. I was sure that meant I wasn’t grubby anymore.

  5. Charlotte

    I was a voracious reader before Nancy, but I definately remember needing to read all her books. I didn’t make it. My teacher made me stop and read Little Women, then Oliver Twist. That wonderful teacher opened up my world, but I’m still a mystery fan. I tried to introduce my only neice to Nancy, but she had already found Trixie Beldon and wasn’t switching. She even tries to write her own Trixie Beldon mysteries:-).

    Proud Aunt signing off

  6. beckycc

    I have fond memories of reading Trixie Belden too. And I own a copy of “Janet Lennon at Camp Calamity.” Jealous?!

    I don’t know how serious you were, Charlotte, about your teacher ‘making’ you stop reading Nancy to turn you on to ‘the classics.’ Obviously, you turned out fine, but it makes me a little bit crazy.

    I talk to parents about how to turn their kids into Reading Maniacs and one of the things I say is to let them read whatever they want. Even if you as a parent or teacher or librarian aren’t wild about Nancy Drew or Goosebumps books or Sweet Valley High, understand that when your kid plows through the gazillion of them on the library shelf …. he or she has BECOME a reader. They’ll naturally advance to “better” books.

    I also hear lots of teachers and librarians lament that by forcing kids to read “what’s good for them,” the kid loses the sense of fun reading provides.

    Reading is sometimes turned into icky tasting medicine forced down their throats. Let them have a dose of Mary Poppins’ spoonful of sugar too!


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