Old School Book Favorites!

I was a voracious reader growing up; I would read a book in a day, easily, and quickly collected quite the collection of books in my preteen and teen years by going to the grocery store with my Mom. They had a section of paperbacks, and I got one on every trip. The fact that I had the book read before I went to bed that night did not please her any, but I always reread my books. I lost so many of those paperbacks when they were stored in my parent’s basement and they had a water issue. To replace them now is near impossible as these older books are very expensive.

If you have followed me for a while you know that William W. Johnstone was my favorite author as a teen, and I could not read his horror stories fast enough. I honestly cannot believe my Mom bought them for me, considering what the covers looked like. Go Mom! “Rockinghorse” sent me down a path that literally had me typing a letter to him on my sister’s typewriter, telling him how much his story inspired me, and that I wanted to become a writer. It led to several back-and-forth correspondences, and I am so blessed that he sent me a couple autographed books which are among my prized possessions. As well as the letters I received from him. He went on to write many Western series, which have always been on the best-sellers lists.

Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators were another set of books I always checked out of the school library. I read the series several times, but unfortunately now, they have become collector’s prizes and to even get a hard cover book is very expensive.

Encyclopedia Brown anyone? How I loved those stories. And who could ever not read Beverly Cleary? She got me through some tough teenage angst! And my favorite elementary school book was “The Adventures of the Black Hand Gang”. A picture after every 2-3 page story for you to figure out the clues. That one will set you back over $30.00 if you try to buy it now. I have my beat-up-worn-out-copy in my library.

Adventures of the Black Hand Gang Cover Image

What are your favorite books that you cannot let go of?

53 thoughts on “Old School Book Favorites!

  1. amydwestphal June 15, 2018 / 5:34 pm

    I’m a terrible book hoarder and have every book I’ve ever owned since I was about 8 years old. But I have a 2nd edition Gone With the Wind that is particularly special to me

    • Angela June 15, 2018 / 5:35 pm

      That is amazing! One of my favorites! I have some first edition Wizard of Oz books I bought at an auction (My favorite movie ever, I can recite the whole thing), and they are proudly displayed in my library!
      Thank you so much for sharing that!

      • amydwestphal June 15, 2018 / 6:02 pm

        That’s crazy because I also have a super old Glenda of oz that I display!

      • Angela June 15, 2018 / 6:06 pm

        OMG do you want to sell it? Just kidding; kind of, but I am so happy that someone has that! even if it isn’t me LOL

  2. omnivourousreaderbookreviews June 15, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    My early reading years had definite similarities; You were very lucky to get a book that often. We lived in a non English speaking country for many years; I only got books a few times a year when we visited a second hand bookshop in the capital! I read, and re-read and re-read….

    This has something to do with my tendency to book hoard and I still have a few old favourites of mine that I have never let go of 🙂

    • Angela June 15, 2018 / 6:33 pm

      Oh my goodness I will literally send you books from my library! Everyone has the right to read! I host a girl through Compassion.org and I want everyone to have the joy of reading!

      • omnivourousreaderbookreviews June 16, 2018 / 10:17 pm

        Yeah – that was back in the 80’s long before the internet solved so many of these types of problems 😉

  3. HCNewton June 15, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    I had completely forgotten about the Black Hand Gang until this moment. Wow. I remember almost nothing about other than the title, author, cover and a vague memory of enjoyment.

    • Angela June 16, 2018 / 2:11 am

      One of the best!!! Lol

  4. soniabellhouse June 15, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    I empatise with reading abook in a day,I did that all the time- and the local library woudl not exchange them until the next day.

    • Angela June 16, 2018 / 2:10 am

      Lolol ! I love my library 😊

    • Matthew Weimann June 30, 2018 / 6:56 am

      I wonder if your name is Sonia; my wife’s name is Sonia, and it’s pretty rare. I can’t believe your library wouldn’t exchange the book into the next day! What kind of library was that? Mission statement: “Provide books to the public in a sensibly rationing way/inspire reading, but not too much.” Ha ha!

  5. mrbooks15 June 15, 2018 / 11:23 pm

    The Three Investigators–I really enjoy those–their plots are so much more imaginative than many other children’s/teen detective stories. I’ve been picking up all that I have second hand whenever I can find one. I’d never heard of the Encyclopedia Brown books–must look them up.

    • Angela June 16, 2018 / 2:09 am

      Keep your hands on those Three Investigators books! I am glad someone is seeing them on the market!

      • mrbooks15 June 16, 2018 / 4:33 am

        I will–enjoyed them too much to let them go.

  6. rappmoffett June 16, 2018 / 12:00 am

    Oh my gosh, William Johnstone! I loved those books – any idea where to find them now?
    Also a huge Encyclopedia Brown and Three Investigators fan… by chance do you like Trixie Belden Mysteries?

    • Angela June 16, 2018 / 2:08 am

      I have not read Trixie Belden, but will definitely look them up! William Johnstone books, I would say a second hand shop if you are lucky 😔 I had all of his books, now I only have a couple that he signed and sent to me…

      • mrbooks15 June 16, 2018 / 4:32 am

        Do read the Beldens if you get a chance–they’re very good fun.

      • Angela June 16, 2018 / 5:26 am

        I will be going to my library in a couple days; I will definitely grab a few if they have them, and I’ll let you know what I think of them!

  7. amysm June 16, 2018 / 5:51 am

    I joined the ranks of the voracious readers quite late, aged 11. I basically read the majority of my high school fiction section before I left aged 15, to go to upper school for GCSEs. The ones that stayed with me are Pratchett, Pullman, Rowling (via fanfiction… there’s plenty of good stuff if you’re prepared to dig for it), McCaffrey. However, I read a lot of non scifi/fantasy at the time, it just didn’t stick!

  8. J.C. June 16, 2018 / 9:20 am

    I had some of the Encyclopedia Brown books and some of The Three Investigators books as a teenager. But, the books I’ve never been able to let go of are The Hardy Boys series. I had a good chunk of the books from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, all as hand me downs from older relatives or garage sale finds.

    • Angela June 16, 2018 / 9:42 am

      That is amazing! I have been reading Nancy Drew; I never read them as a child!

      • J.C. June 16, 2018 / 10:37 am

        My grandmother went to garage sales every weekend, and she would often pick up books for my siblings and I, so I got the Hardy Boys books, and some Encyclopedia Brown and Three Investigators books. My sister would get the Nancy Drew books, and from time to time I’d read them as a companion to the Hardy Boys.

  9. Sharon E. Cathcart June 16, 2018 / 11:10 am

    I was beginning to think I was the only one who remembered the Three Investigators series!

    A great many of my childhood books made it my way a few years back, although one box was lost in shipping. 😦 The book I could never give up was “The Hundred and One Dalmatians,” by Dodie Smith. My childhood copy is held together with tape. I bought an eBook edition so I could re-read it without further damaging the old one.

    • Angela June 16, 2018 / 12:56 pm

      There is a website dedicated to the books, you can buy old copies, etc!

  10. tylerus June 16, 2018 / 2:20 pm

    Trixie B and Nancy D – I could still read them now! LOL Still enjoy Ray Bradbury (gave me goosebumps as a kid). Thanks for taking me back.

    • Angela June 16, 2018 / 4:19 pm

      Thanks for sharing Tyler!

  11. flos56 June 16, 2018 / 8:09 pm

    I, too, was a voracious reader but I had to rely on the public library for my blog old as we didn’t have the money to purchase paperbacks although I did raid my father’s Collection of hardcovers when I ran low on reading material.

    I read many of the same titles and authors as you, as well as several series such as the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Cherry Ames (about a nurse). Add in the classics including A Little Princess, Secret Garden, anything by Alcott, Little House books, Anne of Green Gables, Hans Brinker, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Treasure Island, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc. I also loved fairy tales and read all the Lang books and owned Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

    Is it any wonder I chose a career in my dream job – a librarian.

    • flos56 June 16, 2018 / 8:13 pm

      Blog old should have read books

    • Angela June 17, 2018 / 6:05 pm

      I enjoyed Anne of Green Gables as well!

  12. Cozynookbks June 18, 2018 / 8:13 am

    I can’t part with Anne of Green Gables, Heidi and The Secret Garden. And I read a lot of Judy Blume growing up. I’m not sure what happened to those books. 🤔

    • Angela June 18, 2018 / 8:16 am

      Judy Blume was amazing! I’m not sure what happened to all of mine, either… 😦

  13. Richard June 18, 2018 / 8:26 pm

    I still have my copy of “Pioneer Astronomers” by Navin Sullivan, which I must have gotten through the Scholastic Book Service (anyone else remember that?). I don’t recall when I got it, but it is in pretty good shape. And the text still holds up!

    I wonder if it’s a mere coincidence that I now have a Master’s in Astronomy….

    • Angela June 19, 2018 / 5:10 am

      That is great Richard! I loved the Scholastic Book service, I know that is where I got the Black Hand Gang book!

  14. messybookcaseblog June 21, 2018 / 5:54 pm

    I didn’t really get to save any of my books from childhood either. I’ve searched a couple out now that I’m grown up (ha!) though it’s my adult books I have a hard time letting go of now!

    I read and reread Golden Daffodils by Marilyn Gould from my elementary school library. Another one I read and reread was Daphne’s Book by Mary Downing Hahn. The one book I do have a copy of, that I went and searched out even!, is Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein. Definitely not your normal teen book!

    I read Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden when I was younger too. Loved Nancy Drew. Trixie was so so. I also loved The Boxcar Children! My mother was forever lamenting about spending money at book stores and I’d have the book read before getting home (it was about a 30 minute drive from one city big enough for a book store and 45 from another.) She never stopped buying them though. And I reread a lot of them.

    Thanks for the blast from the past!

    • Angela June 22, 2018 / 2:16 am

      I loved reading the Boxcar Children as well and will grab a few from the library once in awhile. Thank you for stopping by!

  15. KatValdezWriter June 24, 2018 / 10:07 am

    Enjoyed your post, Angela! I loved the Austin family series by Madeleine L’Engle. I was thrilled to find two of the old paperbacks at a used bookstore, The Moon By Night, and A Ring of Endless Light, with the cover artwork I remembered as a teen.

    • Angela June 27, 2018 / 7:14 am

      I am not familiar with these books, but I am writing them down to look for them 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and sharing!

  16. thebookwormdrinketh June 26, 2018 / 11:22 am

    I loved Encyclopedia Brown and Beverly Cleary definitely 2 of my favourites! Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and the Babysitter’s club were also big ones for me!

    • Angela June 27, 2018 / 7:12 am

      Thanks Potpurri!

  17. thebookchiefblog June 27, 2018 / 6:02 pm

    I loved Alfred Hitchcock’s series too but unfortunately they were rarer than hen’s teeth! I only have two paperbacks

    • Angela June 30, 2018 / 5:04 am

      They definitely are! Upwards of $30.00 for a hardcover… my library got rid of the whole series and I don’t know what they did with them, but I wish I had known about it 😔

  18. Matthew Weimann June 30, 2018 / 7:10 am

    I was victim to book covers at my local library’s spinning paperback display. Hooked by “The High King”(‘s) illustration and title, I naively borrowed the last book of the Chronicles of Prydain. After loving the tail, I went back to read all of the rest. They served as sort of prequel’s, since I had read the finale. I look forward to re-reading Newberry award winner as part of my pet project.

  19. survivethriveschool June 30, 2018 / 11:34 pm

    Absolutely love your site all of your posts are really interesting and capture my attention from start to end!

    • Angela June 30, 2018 / 11:43 pm

      Thanks so much! 😊

  20. veronicar617 July 2, 2018 / 9:20 am

    My absolute favorite books to read were the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High Series. I also enjoyed Encyclopedia Brown and Amelia Bedelia. My dad has all my teen/tween books in the attic. I’m glad too. Just went to Target the other day and saw that they remade the Babysitters Club into a comic-book style book. Glad I still have the originals. 🙂

  21. mirtai4 July 15, 2018 / 7:26 am

    There were so many, I loved Christopher Pike when I was a teenager. My favorite by him was Remember Me. I loved Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. Tiger Eyes was my favorite, as well as Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. I still have many of my books from back then, well I gave them to my daughter but they are still in my house (she’s 22).

    • Angela July 15, 2018 / 7:39 am

      I loved Are You There God, it’s me Margaret!

  22. Karla J. Strand, DPhil, MLIS July 15, 2018 / 8:03 pm

    What a blast from the past! I liked Beverly Cleary but my favorite was definitely Judy Blume. I still have some books from when I was a kid but not many. I have a couple Shel Silverstein, Black Beauty, and probably a few others. So fun looking back on these!

    • Angela July 16, 2018 / 7:50 am

      Thanks Karla! I love spending a rainy weekend reading books I read as a young teenager!

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