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Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

(You are very much not forgotten)

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Blasts from the past...
What novel do you remember most fondly from your pre-teen/early teenage years? For me, it's got to be Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game. It has that rare combination of side-splitting humor, engaging plot, and characters with genuine emotional depth. I've just placed an order for it, as my old copy is, I think, shut in an attic in Pennsylvania.

I've been pretending that my new apartment complex is Sunset Towers and that my neighbors will turn out to be just as wacky and worthy of spying-on as the cast of the novel. But so far, they only play loud music and come in at odd hours. Goddamn, where's Madame Hoo when you need her? Or the makeshift bulletin board in the elevator? I put a note up a couple weeks ago asking if anybody was willing to share their wireless till ours got hooked up in exchange for cookies or something, but the note got taken down and nobody responded anyway. People around here just don't appreciate intrigue. Or cookies.

ETA: At long last, Connie Willis's new novel, Blackout, is being released next month.

Bah, I totally would've shared wireless with you in exchange for baked goods.

You know, I can't think of a novel that I really remember fondly from that time. I spent far too much time being cranky at Tolstoy and Dickens around that period.

This building is full of generally disinterested people. Plenty of wireless signals - I can see them when my AirPort does scans, and now my signal is one of them - but nobody who would put out for consumables. If we get a new neighbor, I will be the first person knocking on their door telling them what our wireless key is so they can use it till they get themselves sorted. I swear.

firynze Expand
ajodasso Expand
OMG THAT ONE TOO. Tears my heart out <3


Her interview about it in the most recent issue of Locus is really good. Made me look forward to it all the more :)

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I probably have something resembling more of a top three or a top five than just one, but The Westing Game gives me so much joy on so many different levels that it's just ridiculous. I also adore Tuck Everlasting and Jacob Have I Loved. Lynne Reid Banks's Indian in the Cupboard series was good until it started getting a bit too cracked-out in the later books. OH. Also Ghosts I Have Been. Richard Peck is a ghost-story-writing genius.

Edited at 2010-01-25 04:41 pm (UTC)

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ajodasso Expand
ajodasso Expand
HOW TO PICK JUST ONE. Um, but anything by Diana Wynne Jones probably counts as the be-all and end-all, with Witch Week probably taking the ultimate prize. Does that count if I still reread it every couple of years?

Yes, because I reread my favorites every few years or so, too ;)

I am so very excited for Blackout and All Clear!

The Little House books absolutely captivated me from age 8 through... well, age 27. I still re-read them every other year or so. I can't put into words what I love so much about them, but no other books in my childhood can compare to the happiness the Little House books brought me. I used to write "letters" to Laura Ingalls and tell her about how things in the world had changed since she was a kid.

The Little House books never really grabbed me - we read excerpts in one of my elementary school reading classes, but I found myself sort of bored by it.

I have very fond memories of that book as well! Unfortunately I re-read it a few months ago and did not enjoy it as much. It's still a brilliant book though.

It'll be interesting to see how it strikes me now that I'm 28, because I think I must've been about 18 last time I read it (and I still liked it then).

The Pushcart War, The Phantom Tollbooth, An Edge of the Forest, and A Wrinkle in Time.

The Phantom Tollbooth was AWESOME!

Also loved the Dark is Rising series. And anything with the following in: druids, King Arthur, eagles, elves, wolves, dragons or sorceresses (note - not witches, at age ten I'd've probably been very touchy about the difference - I think it came down to the fact I liked the word "sorceress" better)

God I used to get through 2 or 3 books in a day way back when - previous to "reading as work" becoming a regular thing. It's so difficult to remember all the brilliant books I read. Also kind of sad when I think about how long it takes me to read stuff now.

ajodasso Expand
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A couple books that stand out in particular for me are Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic, and The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I was also really into fantasy and ghost stories, but most of those have blurred together in my head.

Oh, I loved Egypt Game, too :)

I read so many books, even back then, it's hard to choose. I have a very clear memory of reading "The Chronicles of Narnia" when I was about five, and being scared of it; but I read it again the next year, and immediately devoured the whole series. Mom gave me L. Frank Baum's fourteen Oz books in hardback at that year, too; I read them about six times each! Hm, and then there was "Pride and Prejudice" when I was seven; followed by "The Lord of the Rings" when I was eight; and David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean series when I was ten. I think those are the most memorable works from the early years. Eddings' work hasn't worn well, nor has the continuity of the Oz 'verse, but I still revisit the others often.

In my teen years, Connie Willis' "Doomsday Book" made a huge impression; also Jane Lindskold's "Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls". I devoured a lot of generic scifi, too (Star Trek and Star Wars novels especially) but those two are the ones I remember most clearly.

If you want to know what book period I remember the most from my childhood, and willingly paid more than $45 to order a copy of online when I was in college? The 1939 collection of fairy tales called After the Sun Sets, of which my grandmother had a copy. I read that thing almost every time I visited her for years; and she gave it to my younger cousins, who colored all over it with crayons. *jedismash* I had to have my own.

I didn't discover Doomsday Book until my early 20s, but I've been fiercely loyal to Willis since. And I must have been one of the only kids I knew who wasn't into the Narnia books. I'm still not.

My life since age eight has been totally influenced by two series: Harry Potter and The Vampire Chronicles.

I like awkward magical teenagers and fancy vampires.

I read the VCs when I was about 15 or 16, I think. They took up a good few years of my life, and I occasionally pop my head back in to see what's going on. Nothing like in the old days, sadly...

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Anything by L'Engle, basically. What a genius, and what a loss.

My mother's sister started me on Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series when I was twelve or thirteen. Forty-seven years later and I'm still madly in love with Lord Peter and mourn the fact that I've never found a man who treasures me as much as he did Harriet.

A year or so later, I was introduced to The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series and Middle Earth became the favorite geography of my imagination.

I've never read the Wimsey series, but it seems like everybody else has...

Hm, one of the books my mom read for me as a child, and which I reread myself in my young teens, and which I've bought now myself, is a series of books about a cat named Aja Dobbo by Danish author Charlotte Reuter (Bjarne Reuter, famous children's books author). It's also the title of the first book. He comes from a litter of prize winning siamese cats I think it is, but he has a color error, so he's given cheaply to a girl who dresses him up and plays with him. He doesn't like it and longs to get outside, where he sees the alley cats Fuzzy and Kalle walking around. Soon the free life is too alluring and he runs away with the two street cats. Along the adventures he meets a female cat, he meets and defeats my use of brains, the huge cat that owns the area, and many many other things. He also discovers who his real dad is (obv not a price winning siamese).

The part that I remember the best is when he befriends a dog, Noah, who lives by his dead owner's grave in the graveyard. Together they make up a trick to scare two burly cats that are after Aja Dobbo away and they promise to always be friends. One winter Dobbo returns to the graveyard to visit Noah and finds him sitting my his owner's grave as usual. Dobbo speaks to him but doesn't get a response. When he comes closer and looks into Noah's eyes, he realizes that Noah is not there anymore. Dobbo silently thinks that now he is happy with his owner again. That part always makes me cry like a pig, even writing it down makes me teary eyed.

It's just such a good story, but unfortunately they're out of print and I haven't been able to find all of them.

I hate when that happens (out of print).

Oh, I LOVE The Westing Game! That book was beyond awesome.

My favorite book has been my favorite since I was 12 years old: So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane.

Never read the Duane book. I'm discovering a lot I haven't read!