Eventually I want to do a post about my favorite books of ’07, now that the year is gone. But for some reason I started thinking about books I enjoyed when I was younger, so I’m just going to write a post about that.
I wasn’t a big reader when I was young (actually, I’m still not that big of a reader… and I’m still young) but every now and then I came upon a book that really engaged me. Here are some books that I remember very fondly that really aren’t famous… of course I read Avi and Nancy Farmer and Brian Jacques, but their books are still around and still very well known in the children’s sections at bookstores and libraries. The books I mention here are more of the “underdog” books… books that didn’t really become famous.
One of my favorites was called The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan. (Looks like it was recently just rereleased in paperback in 2007.) From what I remember, it was basically a collection of short stories, each a different daydream from one quiet kid. I remember losing track of time reading this book, which is probably the best thing that can happen to you while reading. The daydreams were sometimes a bit creepy, but they had a flow to them so that I always wanted to know would happen next. It hasn’t gotten the greatest of Amazon reviews, but I remember checking it out of the library more than once because I enjoyed it so much.
Unfortunately these next two books are out of print as far as I can tell, but I remember loving Anne Lindbergh’s Travel Far, Pay No Fare and Bailey’s Window. The former book involved a young girl with a magical bookmark which allowed her to travel into the world of a book, and so with her cousin or brother (I can’t remember) she would dive into some classic novels like Alice in Wonderland and mess things up. She couldn’t go into contemporary novels, of course, since that would involve copyright infringement. (By the way, do the Potter Puppet Pals pay any license fees, or is that just more infringement?) Bailey’s Window portrayed a young lad with the power to paint pictures (windows) of other worlds and then walk right into them.
Finally, I remember reading all of Bill Brittain’s “Coven Tree” books, such as The Wish Giver, Dr. Dredd’s Wagon of Wonders (I remember reading that book in one night being so captivated), and Devil’s Donkey.
I’m not sure what I’d think of these books were I to read them today; surely I’d be much more critical. But I have fond memories of these books… always nice to have books that you look forward to reading… it’s when you start those long stupid books that reading seems a chore.