Over the years my reading preferences have become quite varied. Fantasy, Sci-fi, Romance, Comedy, Horror, Fiction and Non-Fiction in general. If a story is told well enough I’ll read just about anything. Mind you, there are some books where I simply dislike the plot, or characters created. But that’s not the focus of this post ^_^
Some of us had parents who read bedtime stories, regularly or rarely. While those stories always hold importance and meaning, there’s something magical about the first time you purchase your own book; using money either earned, or stolen in secrecy of night! (I don’t judge your methods :p ).
For me, it was a Goosebumps book. Originally, I stumbled upon them in my school’s library, housing only a couple in the “Teen” section. I was immediately enthralled.
A few things stood out about this book series. Not only were they creative and entertaining, but also relatively easy to read; requiring only a two-to-three hour commitment. More importantly, they were the first books I read where the ending was undetermined. Unlike books such as the Berenstein Bears (and yes it was Berenstein! not Berenstain lol. I don’t know what cosmic wormhole changed it), the Little Critter stories, or Magic School bus, Goosebumps were the first children’s book where the “hero/heroine” could fail.
I remember finishing ones like “The Girl Next Door” and “Welcome to Dead House”, being completely blown away by how circumstances ended. Even though some of these characters tried their absolute best, were not bad people by any stretch of the word, and even got help by those around them, an ideal ending was beyond their grasp.
These short worlds were my introduction into a universe drenched in imagination and uncertainty, something beyond your after-school cartoons or happy Disney endings.
Even though I was only eight, I can still remember with surprising clarity my first purchase. Wide-eyed, excited, clutching the little bit of money earned from doing chores around the house as I carefully manoeuvred the school’s annual “Book Fair”. An event which only lasted a few years, and though sparsely populated, was still a little too crowded for my liking. Books were expensive for a child. Actually, still expensive for an adult… However, the most perplexing moment was probably when deciding whether I wanted to use the last bit of change on two bookmarks, or one bookmark and a really cute eraser set made to look like a see-through mechanical pencil.
I purchased the eraser set.
For anyone reading this, whether you have children who may enjoy unique stories, or are interested yourself, I do urge picking up at least one Goosebumps book within your lifetime. To this day I still own /collect, and occasionally read Goosebumps books, because there’s no age requirement on enjoyment.