I truly believe that it’s those beloved childhood authors, the one you couldn’t get enough of back when you were in elementary (primary) school that shape you, influencing your creative and character in those formative years. Your sense of humor, personality and, in some cases, your artistic output can be traced directly back to these early influencers.
There’s no doubt that these five writers (my favorites growing up) made me the writer (and the person) I am today…
Comedy! Tragedy! Romance! Children being baked into pies! What more can a six year old ask for? My mother gifted me The Complete Works of William Shakespeare in first grade and cherished that leather bound edition, reading each play and assiduously writing up summaries for every act in a dedicated notebook.
Arthur C. Clarke
Of course I read (and watched) a lot of science fiction and there was no author I loved more than Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End still remains one of my very favorite SF reads.
Given my proclivity for twists, turns, shocks, and surprises, is it any wonder I was such an avid reader of the Queen of Mystery?
I didn’t read very many children’s books growing up and, I’d argue, that Marshall’s George and Martha series, about two hippos and best of friends, was really written for adults with a quirky sense of humor.
I’ve been reading comic books all of my life and no series has had a greater impact on me than Chris Claremont’s seminal Uncanny X-Men run.
16 thoughts on “January 14, 2018: My Favorite Childhood Writers!”
Totally agree on the first three – I think I’ve read all the Christie books but a few, but I’m not familiar with the last two.
I do find that Shakespeare is *much* easier to follow when it’s actually being watched as a play. There’s no doubt he was the master though – he was to the English language as Bach is to music.
I loved Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton. The Famous Five books were my favourite.
Not related, but I was wondering – have all the lucky recipients of Dark Matter swag been picked and the items sent out? I am only asking because both myself and my 13 year old sent in letters and he asks me regularly if anything has arrived in the mail yet.
Thank you so much.
I rank Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Robert A Heinlein and Anne McCaffrey as my goto authors. Honorable mention must go to Terry Pratchett.
Love Agatha Christie! One of my absolute favorites. I think in high school I read everything she wrote.
I was forced to read Shakespeare in High School. I can’t imagine choosing to read him when I was 6! I have a deeper appreciation of his genius now, as an adult.
I don’t remember reading a lot when I was young but I’m sure I did. Most of my earliest reading memories are from my teens.
My Mum was an avid science fiction reader so I would often pick up books that she’d finished. I have her to thank for my reading and watching proclivities these days.
I have memories of reading The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy when I was around 12 or 13. That had a seminal effect on me.
Other memories are of Adrift in the Stratosphere by A.M. Low (published 1937), I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (A first edition that I still own. Thank goodness I didn’t ruin it as a child!) and everything by John Wyndham.
Also a lot of Doctor Who novelisations by Terrence Dicks.
There was also a smattering of what would be called “Young Adult Fiction” these days but were just books in the library at school back then. One that stood out what a ghost story about a boy who sees another boy in his back yard one night and follows him outside. It turns out the other boy is a ghost of a boy who died in a coal mining accident decades earlier. I can’t remember the title or author but I would love to find it again.
Anne McCaffrey, whom I’ve mentioned here a few times over the years. My current “mental bedtime story” borrows from the space-colony beginnings of her “Dragonriders of Pern” series.
My favorite authors from back in the day were Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Alan Dean Foster and Robert McCammon (before he went to his slice of life stories).
The first SF book I read and what started a lifelong love of the genre was H.G Wells’ War of the Worlds when I was in elementary school.
I was never able to get into Shakespeare, though. I always needed a translator for him, which detracted from any enjoyment (or understanding) of his stories.
Loved Claremont’s X-Men, as well as John Byrne’s.
J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, then in later years Ted Dekker. I read the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia more times than I can count when I was young. I really should go back and read them again one of these days.
I read a lot as a kid. I loved:
All Dr. Seuss
Whoever wrote the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mysteries
Westerns by Louis L’Amour
and anything Stephen King
Tolkien (epic storyline), Agatha Christie (jolly hockey sticks), Wilbur Smith (smut)!
I only began noticing authors at about age ten, when I swiped my older brother’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Fritz Leiber, Harlan Ellison, Heinlein, and Mom’s Agatha Christies were always on hand. Clarke and Asimov and Bradbury too, and Fantasy and Science Fiction every month. As for fantasy, I faithfully read Dragonriders of Pern, Aspin’s Myth series, C.S. Lewis, and Marion Zimmer Bradley, but nothing was as grand as Tolkien’s trilogy to me. Edgar Allen Poe was another staple, I devoured every word. A little later, I developed a taste for Huxley, Burgess, and Vonnegut.
Stranger in a Strange Land was far too influential on a teenage girl in the 70s.
I have to pick five? I’d do better picking five books!
I read a lot when I was young and looking back, I went through phases.
Animal phase with books written by Joyce Stranger, Helen Griffiths and Paul Gallico (Snow Goose, Little Donkey & Thomasina etc)
My horsey phase had me reading the Brumby books by Elyne Mitchell, Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and then I read John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony. That haunted me for a long time
At high school my personal reads were more grown up and dark –
John Master’s books (esp. about India),
Philip K Dick
Eric Von Daniken (Chariots of the Gods etc) – ah, that’s why I loved Stargate!!! Just realised that. Ha!
I could also put in there Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy although I actually heard it first on my favourite radio programme at the time, ‘A Book at Bedtime’. Brilliant and impossible to better.
I have kept most of the books mentioned above. They sit, waiting to be reread one day.
My favourites? All my Helen Griffiths books and one ‘Stig of the Dump’ by Clive King. They are ‘my precious’ books!
I love James Marshall’s George and Martha series! I agree with you about them being written for adults with a quirky sense of humor. I enjoyed reading them to my kids when they were little. I discovered James Thurber when I was in the 5th grade and have been a fan ever since.
Some of my favourite childhood authors – Ray Bradbury, John Wyndham, Douglas Adams
At age 8 I discovered my first science fiction, Tom Swift’s galactic adventures. And so begins a lifelong live affair with sci fi. At age 10 the other nerd at my school who read sci fi apart from me introduced me to Andre Norton. Wow, my universe suddenly became so much more exciting. I still remember the wide eyed, breathless excitement of holding a new Andre Norton book like “Catseye “.
Frances Hodgson Burnett and Charlotte Bronte were my faves, there is a tattered copy of Secret Garden once a year from age 7 to 12, and the first book to TV adaptation I evaluated was Jane Eyre (the book was better). Where the Red Fern Grows and Charlotte’s Webb where the books our teachers read in class that made us sniffle and well up in class.