Favorite Books from Childhood

The first actual book I ever read was L. Frank Baum’s “Ozma of Oz.” I was in first grade, and my book-loving third-grade brother wanted to introduce me to the Oz books, which were among his favorites.

I turned up my nose at “The Wizard of Oz” — I’d seen the movie, and so I figured I’d be bored reading the book. The second Oz book, “The Land of Oz,” had a boy as the main character — and I wasn’t so interested in that. So I started with the third Oz book, “Ozma of Oz,” and that started me on a lifetime of loving books.

As a kid, I used to make lists of my favorite authors, and favorite books. Ten of each wasn’t enough — so it became “my ten favorite authors” and “my other ten favorite authors” and “seven others who are also really really good.”

At different points in grade school, my different lists included authors such as Edward Eager, Louisa May Alcott (always top ten), L. Frank Baum, E.L. Konigsburg, Joan Aiken, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carol Ryrie Brink, Natalie Savage Carlson, Eleanor Cameron, Mary Norton, Noel Streatfeild (also always top ten), Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Alexander Key… By sixth grade, C.S. Lewis and Tolkien were on the list, with Diana Wynne Jones to come along just a year or two later. (Hmmm, I see if I go on I shall need more than just a top twenty-seven!)

I read the Nancy Drew books too, and the Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden, but my favorite books were any sort of fantasy, or books set in the past.

So — what books turned you onto reading as a child? Which ones did you love best? Which authors stirred your imagination, or inspired you, or drew your greatest devotion?

If you’re a writer, which books made you want to start writing?

All answers welcome!

Cara King, author of My Lady Gamester, and obsessive reader and buyer of way too many books

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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