GUEST POST on There's A Book
“The Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual” by Gary Gygax
Before I ever started reading novels, in third grade this was my introduction to fantasy. A friend’s older brother turned me onto it and after I purchased it and brought it home, I read it cover to cover. There’s no story, just a list of magical monsters in alphabetical order, but each one was like a story to me. And an excellent primer on mythology, both Greek, Norse, and Babylonian.
“Spell for Chameleon” by Piers Anthony
In fifth grade, my dad gave this book to me. Up until that point, I wasn’t really interested in novels at all. I’d rather read my dragon magazines and make up stories of my own. But on his recommendation, I started it, and couldn’t put it down. It was funny and the world of Xanth was like nothing I had ever seen. Plus with surprise twists and turns it got me hooked on the art of storytelling.
“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
The first Tolkien I ever read, and yes, still my favorite even over “The Lord of the Rings.” The classic hero’s journey tale and the book which all other fantasies are indebted, including mine!
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl
Notable not because it was the first book I ever remember reading, but because my 2nd grade teacher allowed us to keep a candy bar in our desk and take a bite each day during reading time.
“The Whipping Boy” by Sid Fleischman
A clever, twisty yarn that I returned to over and over again as a kid.
“Encyclopedia Brown” and “Two-Minute Mysteries” by Donald J. Sobol
I had a shelf full of “Encyclopedia Brown” books, and “Two-Minute Mysteries” take me back to family road trips and hours spent with my older brother trying to determine what happened to a man hanging from the ceiling over a puddle of water. (He stood atop a block of ice!)