Hi everyone! My name’s Gina and I’m a Producer in the Corporate Communications department here at Scholastic. My job consists of creating content for our various blogs, and helping our websites run smoothly and stylishly! As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved to read. My parents introduced reading to me at an early age, and nearly every night after my mom or dad finished reading a book to me I begged for “just one more!” One of my favorite feelings in the world is opening a hardcover book for the first time, hearing the spine crack and peeling apart the pristine pages. Below, you’ll find the top five books (or, in some instances, series) that made an impression on me so far and stuck out on my literary journey!
The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine
I don’t remember exactly when the Goosebumps books entered my life, but as soon as they did I became immediately obsessed. During the school year I scooped up every title though the Scholastic Reading Club. During the summertime, I didn’t play outside; I bugged my parents to take me to the B. Dalton (remember B. Dalton?! RIP B. Dalton) at my local mall so I was never without the newest book. I proudly stacked these books on my shelves in my childhood bedroom. Goosebumps introduced me to horror stories – which even now I just can’t get enough of!
The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alvin Schwartz
Okay, listing this series as part of my Bookprint is cheating a little bit. The short stories that make up these books are memorable, sure, but not nearly as much as the pictures. (Run a Google Image search if you dare!)
The pictures in these books are what nightmares are made of, which is why I loved them so much. Nothing holds my attention more than a story leading up to impending doom. Just last year when it was announced that new reprints of the books would not feature Stephen Gammell’s creepy imagery, I scoured eBay with the help of my now-husband for older copies to rebuild my collection. While R.L. Stine’s stories laid the foundation for my interest in horror, the Scary Stories books helped my passion for the genre grow, eventually leading me to Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
I connected with Harriet M. Welsch instantly. She was just so cool. From her picky eating habits to just being super noisy about everyone and everything around her, Harriet felt like a kindred spirit. Not only did she have what adults perceived as a crazy hobby, but she also was snotty and wasn’t perfect – just like a lot of kids. Harriet gets knocked down quite a few pegs in her story, but she learns important lessons about friendship and being true to oneself along the way – lessons that remain important even in adulthood. (And, on a more superficial note, who didn’t want their own spy route and top secret notebook after finishing this book? I know I did.)
Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman
In high school, I fell in love with John Cusack. Whether he was an unemployed kick boxer with a heart of gold, a hit man with a heart of gold, or a record store owner with a heart of gold (albeit tarnished), it didn’t matter to me; any John Cusack would do. In high school I also couldn’t figure why the boys I had crushes on rarely performed any John Cusack-esque romantic gestures. In the opening essay of this book, Klosterman explains the concept of “fake love” and just how much John Cusack has ruined modern dating, finally unlocking in my brain the idea that, “No Gina, you will never date John Cusack.”
The book goes on to deconstruct a number of films, TV shows and musicians, introducing to me the idea that popular culture does matter, can be measured and analyzed, and can be an important tool for understanding the world. As someone obsessed with even the dumber aspects of pop culture, this was a revelation to me.
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Suzann
Before there was Jackie Collins, there was Jacqueline Suzann. Probably the first romance novel I ever read, I got completely sucked into the glamorous lives of Anne, Neely and Jennifer – which made each of their falls all the more devastating.
On the few occasions I tried to read other romance novels, none of them stuck – nothing to me compares to this one. As a personal tradition, try to I re-read this book every year.
There you have it – the books that inspired me and have stuck with me over the years! I think they’re quite the eclectic collection. What books do you keep on your shelves?