Thursday, July 23, 2009

Young Adult Literature

I read voraciously in my youth. It was rare to see me without a book. And I read most books very fast and then read them half a dozen times. I still love to read. I have a lot less time to do it. But I am usually reading some book- it just takes a lot longer and the retention of what I read is a lot less. But the books of my youth are what really stay with me. My biggest obsession in elementary school was horses. Album of Horses was a constant companion. I read Black Beauty 20 times. I played imaginary stable games in the hallway and stairwell of our apartment building. Entering middle school and into high school, I was reading the "classics" for school and also reading them because I just loved to read and was deeply intrigued by what I learned. Lord Of The Flies, Animal Farm, Catcher In The Rye. I also loved reading unassigned books... Judy Blume, Paula Danzinger, Cynthia Voigt. Eventually moving into trashy romance novels, VC Andrews, and more. Through a series of links, I discovered Lizzie Skurnick today. A collection of essays about the YA Lit that formed our youth. And I clicked over to this page of a collection of articles that Lizzie Skurnick had written about various YA Lit from her own youth and how it impacted her. Side note: Lizzie Skurnick authored 10 Sweet Valley High books. So she must be my soul sister on some level. Jessica and Elizabeth were so much a part of my growing up!!! But that collection of articles... I've read almost every single book listed on that link. And have serious sentimental and emotional attachments formed. I think I'm going to make a list, hit the library, dig around at Half Price Books... I know I kept a good collection of some of my fave YA Lit from my youth. So I must know. What's your fave YA Lit? Books from when you were growing up... recently written (The Book Thief is a must read)... old books recently discovered...


Nancy said...

OMG! I clicked on the link and I think that I have read most of the books on her list. I read all the time as a youth, it was my escape from everything!

I have wanted to go to library and raid the YA section. I think that will be on my list of things to do Saturday.

Thanks for reminding me that I need to hit that section of the library!

Teacher Tom said...

I heard Skurnick interviewed on Rachel Madow's radio show a few weeks back. It sounds like a great way to walk down memory lane with grown up glasses on.

"Animal Farm" was definitely an influential YA novel for me, as was "Lord of the Flies", and "All's Quiet on the Western Front" blew me away. But like a lot of boys I gravitated toward sci-fi ("The Martain Chronicles", Bradbury) and nonfiction.

My daughter, however, is a huge consumer of YA fiction. Lauren Myracle ("ttfn", "ttyl", "l8r, g8r") dominated her reading list last year and now she's moved on to Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series. And, of course, Harry Potter gets read over and over . . .

yodaobi said...

I worked in a school library for two and a half years in my early twenties...
Almost read the entire library.


mimbles said...

Oooh! Books I loved as a kid! You've asked one of my favourite questions :-)

Lots of Enid Blyton and the like
The Hobbit (2nd grade)
The Lord of the Rings (3rd grade)
All the Marguerite Henry books (which I still have on the bookshelf in my lounge room)
Lots of Walter Farley's Black Stallion series
Black Beauty
Arthur Ransome - Swallows and Amazons etc
The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
Johnny Tremain
Francis Hodgson Burnett - The Secret Garden, A Little Princess
Robert Louis Stevenson
E Nesbit - Five Children and It etc
National Velvet
Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time etc
Nicholas Fisk's sci-fi
Harry Harrison - The Stainless Steel Rat
The Doctor Dolittle series
The Magic Pudding
Storm Boy by Colin Thiele
Animal Farm
Vanity Fair
Pride and Prejudice
Gulliver's Travels

Actually I should probably stop there because this list could really go on forever!

My adult forays into YA books include John Marsden's Tomorrow series, Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, Terry Pratchett, Isobelle Carmody and others I can't bring to mind just now.

Garret said...

Books... the things with letters and stuff?

Unknown said...

Wow, what a great list. Although I don't remember most of what I read (I kind of just went to the library and grabbed a whole bunch of books in the section I was allowed to go in and read whenever I got the chance). I do remember Sweet Valley High, VC Andrews and there was also a book series called Choose Your Own Adventure that I enjoyed.

Thanks for bringing back these memories! I have just recently re-engaged in reading and am really enjoying it. I forgot how many good reads there are and how fun it is to get lost in them :)

Boozy Tooth said...

Have you ever noticed the connection between highly intelligent people and voracious readers? I have. Her name is Liz.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Aw, shucks, Alix. You made me blush!

Garret said...

Yeah, she complimented you and insulted me.

She's always so mean to me.

Alison said...

LOL, Liz you're it!

Oh my gosh, I've even forgot about a few I've seen mentioned in others' lists. But I too, was horse-crazy, reading all the Black Stallion books, plus Misty of Chincoteague and of course Black Beauty. Somebody bought me a collection of condensed books, so I had some weird ones in there too--20k Leagues Under the Sea, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, etc. I just re-read the Wrinkle in Time series a couple of months ago!

Then of course, there was Judy Blume et al; can't even remember them all. Narnia, Lord of the Rings, the usual gang of suspects. Going a little bit younger, does anyone remember Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle??

As an adult, I'm a confirmed YA fantasy fan, with multiple and continued re-readings of Harry Potter & the Eragon series. But Twilight? It seems too teen-angsty for me; after spending all that time teaching high-schoolers, enough is enough!

Mary Ellen said...

I loved to read, anything and everything I could find, from Nancy Drew to Life in the Iron Mills. I especially loved Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, and anything by Mark Twain. My most-often-reread book was probably Little Women, but I'd have to stop and think about what books made the biggest impact.

A great subject to think about.

Little Lovables said...

I like Twilight, Eragon, The Lightening Theif for the teen stuff, I feel some of the older books just get too graphoc for me so I like to play it safe.

As far as when I was younger though, I loved Charles Dickens, Hemmingway, Faulkner, Tolkein, Austen... I still read them to this day though I do enjoy reading contemporary and historical lit as well.

I read VC Andrews too, but her later books (which weren't written by her anyways) lost the touch and it just got old and depressing

Eternal Lizdom said...

@ LL: I agree- once the family started writing in VC Andrews' name, it lost the touch that was uniquely hers. I thought they should have finished the series and been done.

@ ME: I remember thinking it was so cool that the girls called their mother "Marmie." I tried it a few times with my mom but it just wasn't right.

@ Flartus: I agree on Twilight. I tried. Read the 1st 2 books and it just doesn't do it for me. I'd forgotten about the Black Stallion! My fave was The Black Stallion and The Girl. I was also a big fan of the Narnia series- I was so excited when the movie came out. I thought it was really well done, mostly.

I also loved The Neverending Story. I remember the books being printed in 2 different ink colors so you knew if it was Fantastica or real life. ATRAYU!!!

Anonymous said...

I was OBSESSED with Sweet Valley High as a kid- I loved it. It was my most favorite. Anything Judy Blume, tOo. Especially her book "Summer Sisters". ahhhh, I loved to read! Still do, just don't always have the time!