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Weekly Geeks and a Blogging Meme

May 14, 2008

Meme first!  Kim L has asked for us to give our top blogging tips, and if you leave a link to your post in a Mr. Linky on her blog, she’ll enter you in a giveaway for a $15 Amazon gift certificate!  So I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you want a shot at the prize, go ahead and share your tips. :)  I’m impressed with all of the tips so far, and the one recommending the use of photos made me realise that while I used to have lots of visual stuff, lately I’ve been slacking. I’ll be working on that from now on! I have a couple tips myself…for newbie bloggers, it’s sad to write a post and not get any comments (I know that from experience).  I found that the best way to get comments was to really get out into the community and leave lots of comments on other peoples’ blogs: I know that when a blogger I don’t know leaves a comment on one of my posts, I always follow the link back and check out his/her blog, and many bloggers are the same way.  The other is for anyone who wants to increase their blog’s traffic.  Other than more frequent posting, in my experience the best thing you can do is start a meme.  It helps if you bribe bloggers to link back to your site (I said I’d link to their answers if they linked to my site, and I did a book giveaway), but that continues to be the single post with the most views, and it helped really spike my viewing numbers.  Plus, it’s a bunch of fun!  I happen to have to have made up a new meme a few days ago, but I’m waiting for a lull, since memes are everywhere right now. :)

Now on to Weekly Geeks!  This week, we’re invited to talk about our favourite childhood books.  I was a huge reader from a very early age, and I’ve talked a bit about my favourites before.  But it’s always fun to revisit them! All of the cover images below are the ones whose books I actually had, though sometimes it took a bit of searching. :D

Koula LouMy favourite picture book was Koala Lou by Mem Fox. It’s a wonderful story about a baby koala whose mom becomes busier as more koalas are born. Koala Lou is determined to get her mother to love her again, so she enters in the Bush Olympics and trains really hard, thinking that if she wins the Gumtree Climbing event, everything will go back to the way it was. I still have my copy (although it’s on loan to my neice right now), and in my head I hear my mom and I saying “Koala Lou, I DO love you!” (that’s what the mom says several times) whenever I think about it. My mom tells me that my other favourite read-a-loud was Rapunzel. She read it to me so much that when I was two-and-a-half, I almost tricked my parents into thinking I could already read, because I’d have the book in front of me, “read” all of the sentences, and turn the pages at the right time. In actuality, of course, I’d just memorised it. :)

The Magic Faraway TreeI learned to read when I was 4, and I progressed quickly. I don’t remember the title of the first chapter book I ever read, but I do remember the plot: a little girl who lives in the country finds a duck egg and brings it home. When the duckling hatches, she raises it; as a four-year-old, I loved that, and I still remember looking very carefully at stones when we went on walks, in case one of them was a duck egg. My other favourite book at this age was Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. You can read about how I got my copy here.

A Little PrincessIn elementary school, I had a wide range of tastes. My mom and I read classics together, including Little Women-I always wanted to be Amy, The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, Phantom of the Opera, Jane Eyre, a little bit of Robinson Crusoe, which we both thought was horribly boring, A Tale of Two Cities, and more.

AnimorphsMeanwhile, on my own I got really into The Babysitter’s Club and Animorphs (for those who haven’t heard of it, these fivekids get the ability to morph into any animal that they touch for two hours from an alien who crashlands on earth. They must use this ability to fight a different race of aliens, who are like slugs that creep into people’s brains and take control, who are trying to conquer earth). I liked animals, what can I say? I also loved three books from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the Green Knowe series (you can read about both of those in the post I already mentioned), and the Anne of Green Gables series (I read them all, up through Rilla of Ingleside, so often that I can tell you all of the plots to this day).

The Dollhouse MurdersOh-and I absolutely adored ghost and horror books! (written for children) I never read Goosebumps (I did read two Fear Street books, by the same author though), because I thought they were stupid instead of scary. I still remember the plots of some of the books I read: one girl had gotten amnesia in a car accident, and her somewhat odd older sister was taking care of her. But it turns out the “older sister” was actually a stalker who had caused the accident and kidnapped her, and there was a great scene involving a huge butcher’s knife and the girl running for her life. In another one, a girl at boarding school discovers this doll that ends up being evil and possessed. I’ll never forget the scene where the girl has buried the doll out in the forest, and she’s in bed when she hears something clunking up the stairs. Slowly, it gets all the way to her door. Then it pounds on the door, which flies open, and the doll is standing there, smeared with dirt and with leaves in its hair. Oh! And here’s another one that I found on Amazon called The Dollhouse Murders: it’s a ghost story. I loved being frightened. :D

Misty of ChincoteagueAnd of course I can’t forget the horse books: The Black Stallion (my favourite: the race scene at the end is so incredibly thrilling; somehow, I didn’t know that there was a whole series), the Misty of Chincoteague series, Black Beauty, My Friend Flicka (although that one was really sad)-I ate them all up. Did anyone else read Where the Red Fern Grows? It was about this boy and his two hunting dogs, which he raises from puppies, and it was the first book I distinctly remember exactly where I was when I read the ending, because I just bawled uncontrollably.

Lurlene McDaniel\'s Six Months to LiveBy sixth grade, and during middle school, I read a bunch of Nancy Drews (my mom had collected them as a child and gave them to me in sixth grade: after that, I always got a few more for Christmas), and I was really into Lurlene McDaniel books. There were a bunch of mini-series and stand alones, but each book involved teens with big medical problems: cancer, weak hearts, comas, etc. They all found love, and sometimes they died and sometimes they didn’t. I remember my dad picked up a few for me on a business trip back to the States (we were living in England), and when he came back he was concerned that I was growing a bit too morbid, lol. This is also when I discovered Jane Austen, with Pride and Prejudice first (I still have my copy-it only cost me a pound in a British book store). For my thirteenth birthday, one of my best friends gave me her other five completed novels, which was awesome!

David Edding\'s PolgaraI also read quite a bit of fantasy at this stage: my mom really liked it, as did one of my other best friends. My favourite authors were David Eddings, Piers Anthony (but only his Incarnations of Immortality series), and Tad Williams. I also really loved this book that the same friend leant me, which of course I can’t remember the title of, that involved a high school girl who realised that she was a reincarnated Egyptian Bast priestess, and that she and a popular clique in her school could all turn into panthers at will. Now that I think of it, it kind of had a Twilight vibe, and I read it over and over again! I just spent ten minutes doing an internet search, and it turns out it’s a trilogy called The Year of the Cat by Zoe Daniels; my friend had an omnibus edition. I’m so tempted to see if my library has it and do a walk down memory lane…

Well, that’s probably more than enough. :D High school’s still close enough for me that I don’t really consider it childhood, and I’m sure half of y’all are bored to tears. But it is fun to reminisce!

25 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2008 3:54 am

    I mentioned Enid Blyton as well!

  2. Christine permalink
    May 15, 2008 4:48 am

    Ah, I’ve read many of your childhood books. I had forgotten completely about Animorphs — but I definitely tore through those around about grade six or seven. Didn’t you think that the ending to the last one was a cop-out? I remember being pretty indignant that it ended so ambiguously.

    Misty of Chincoteague and The Magic Faraway Tree were also well-read books for me. In fact, I think I’ll re-read them now!

  3. May 15, 2008 5:03 am

    Bored to tears…not a chance!

    I just bought my 7-year-old a few Animorphs books from a used book store. I don’t think they were around in the Dark Ages when I was a kid, so I’ve never read them…but they really look like something he’d enjoy.

  4. May 15, 2008 5:10 am

    What a great list of books . . . I hadn’t thought of Misty in years.

  5. May 15, 2008 5:21 am

    Wow I completely forgot about those Animorph books! It has been a long time. Sounds like you’ve always been a bookworm :-)

    Great tips! Thanks for playing along. I definitely agree. The best way to have other people come to your own blog is to visit other people’s.

  6. May 15, 2008 6:31 am

    So pleased to see A Little Princess here! My childhood copy in the basement is just destroyed – there is no binding left. Also loved the film with Shirley Temple.

  7. May 15, 2008 8:36 am

    I never read a lot for pleasure until I discovered David and Leigh Eddings the summer before high school. I’ve read all of Belgariad, Mallorean, Elenium, and Tamuli. Polgara is one of my absolute favorites.

  8. May 15, 2008 8:53 am

    Great children’s classics! I loved horses and Henry’s books flew me away to a wonderful place. My kids enjoyed reading Animorphs and we all enjoyed going to the store to pick up a new book.
    I did read Where the Red Fern Grows but am not a fan of stories about children falling in love with their animals that then die or they have to put down. The Red Pony, Old Yeller, books like that. They are too grim so I also did not read them to my children. I wanted them to have positive thoughts and emotions in their books so I chose more upbeat topics. Time enough in the real world for heartbreak is how I looked at it.

  9. May 15, 2008 12:34 pm

    I am following your advice and leaving a link to a meme I created for this week’s geeks challenge:

  10. May 15, 2008 2:12 pm

    Your post reminded me that I did read some Goosebumps books when I was in middleschool. I did think they were stupid, but also strangely addicting.

    I loved your first meme, so I can’t wait to see what else you have come up with. And you’re absolutely right – commenting on other blogs (as well as participating in community-oriented activities like challenges and Carnivals and now Weekly Geeks) is the best way to get readers.

  11. May 15, 2008 4:27 pm

    Oh my gosh – Misty! I loved Misty!

  12. May 15, 2008 8:00 pm

    What a wonderful post, Eva! I really enjoyed reading it. I’m glad you mentioned Enid Blyton because she’s my favourite author during my childhood as well! :)

  13. May 15, 2008 9:45 pm

    What a great post. I both reminded me of my own old favourites (I’d forgotten about avidly reading my way through all The Black Stallion books at one point in my life) and introduced me to others I’d never heard about before. I’m very impressed you managed to find the actual covers of your books. I tried when I did mine, but for one or two it was just too difficult. Hasn’t this week’s challenge been a wonderful walk down memory lane.

  14. May 15, 2008 11:06 pm

    Ha! My oldest loved Animorphs when he was in about 3rd grade. He exhausted the public library’s collection by rereading them so often.

    Great tips. Great post.

  15. May 15, 2008 11:32 pm

    Marg, yay for Enid! :)

    Christine, I don’t know if I read the last one…I think I own up to around number forty, and some of the special editions, but eventually I burned out on them. :)

    Debi, they were brand-new when I started reading them, in maybe fourth or fifth grade: it was always so exciting when a new one came out! I bet your seven year old will really like them!

    Andi, glad to see another Misty fan!

    Kim L, yep-definitely always been a bookworm. :D

    Tara, I never saw the Shirley Temple movie, but I loved the newer one (and I thought the ending was much better!).

    Kylee, Polgara’s one of my favourites too!! I’ve read all of those as well, and The Redemption of Althalus, which is a long standalone in a similar vain. So glad to meet another Eddings fan!

    Jaimie, my mom warned me not to read books like The Red Pony and Old Yeller; I particularly remember a friend gave me The Yearling for Christmas, and Mom said I shouldn’t read it. The Red Fern is the only book like that I ever did read; iit actually contributed to a big irrational fear I have that I’m going to somehow gut myself-remember the boy who was running with the ax and fell on it?! Nevertheless, it was a beautiful story.

    BeastMomma, great! I’ll check it out. :)

    Nymeth, I hope people will like my new meme-I’m a little nervous, lol. I’ll probably break it out next month. :D

    Ted, awesome!

    Melody, another vote for Enid. :D

    Petunia, oh Animorophs-I’m glad to see they’re still well loved. :D

  16. May 16, 2008 12:04 pm

    I was just a few years too old for the Goosebumps books but I did read Where The Red Fern Grows and it remains one of my favorite books, and guaranteed to make me cry big, heaving, all-out body-wrenching sobs.

    I went through a (brief) horse phase too, although I remember almost nothing about the books (which is unusual for me, usually I remember favorite books in detail). I do remember illustrating The Black Stallion (I think that one was my favorite).

    Girl Books: I really loved A Secret Garden.

    And I think I actually read that “Six Months To Live” book too!

    Fun stuff. You have inspired me to check out what this Weekly Geeks thing is and to post about my own childhood favorites (coming soon!)

  17. May 16, 2008 6:26 pm

    Ah…I remembered the inaugural days of my blog. I would sit patiently, click on the reload button and wait patiently for any comments that might have turn up! Those were the days! It took a few months for the blog to get a little attention….

    Idea of starting a meme sounds good but I don’t know what kinda questions to ask?! :)

  18. May 16, 2008 7:43 pm

    I haven’t read Animorphs myself, but when I worked at a public library one summer, there was one girl–the daughter of a local English prof–that LOVED Animorphs. To the point that mother had to limit her to two at a time to integrate other books into her reading. There must be something to ’em!

  19. May 16, 2008 8:01 pm

    Omigosh, I forgot Black Beauty! I looooved Black Beauty when I was a kid. I wish I still had a copy. I would read it again (she says as the mountains of never read books teeter and fall).

  20. May 20, 2008 3:27 am

    I remember exactly where I was when reading Where the Red Fern Grows, as well. At a family cabin for Thanksgiving holiday. My mother, sisters and I were reading it together and I kept getting in trouble for reading ahead! I’ve read and loved all those horse books you mentioned, too (the rest of the Black Stallion series aren’t nearly as good as the first one) and the Little Princess. Great books.

  21. October 25, 2008 12:51 pm

    Hi, My pictures of my new emo hairstyle


  1. links for 2008-05-16 « delicious tags
  2. Weekly Geeks #4 » The Hidden Side of a Leaf
  3. Weekly Geeks #8 - Scavenger Hunt « That’s the Book!
  4. Weekly Geeks #8: Scavenger Hunt « A Chain of Letters

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