The books that shaped me [Reading]

in #life6 years ago (edited)

Young and Dumb

Setting the scene

A long, long time ago...

There are books I always recommend, the ones that kind of just stuck with me. Back when I was young and Dumb I would even bother to remember the title of a book, now I kind of just know it is the one with a dragon and a boy and there was grass... You know the one?

I will try to recollect a list of the obvious ones I enjoyed growing up and then scroll through my "Ebook Reader", flexing, and share a few of the ones I enjoyed from that collection and it means each time I want to tell someone to read a book I can just send them a link and save myself quite a few words.

We had quite a nice routine as kids over the weekend since Saturday was Grannies hair day which meant you either go suffer with her at the salon or you go to the library and spend 2 hours looking for books. In my sister's case, I think she just liked the pretty pictures but we both liked not hearing the cows voice.

Hiding fromt eh hag.jpg

I was always a picky reader and could never understand how my pissface father could literally just take any book and read it from cover to cover, even the damn cover was ugly what would lead you to believe the author can write a proper story when they can't even decide on better-looking cover art. Not that pretty is much better, look at real life - pretty fucked-up, am I right? In the end, it is really a toss-up but with books, I find it is still a good indicator.

Our library had 3 floors, the bottom one is for the kids, the second floor is adults and the third was for reference books and sex, I am assuming since I never got to that level, since I never did homework.

My first language is Afrikaans so it is understandable that I vehemently refused to read anything in that language, it was bad enough I had to think in it, thankfully later I found that this was not a have to kind of thing.

List Dude?

Backstory first dammit, this is my post, my writing and you will not influence me one iota. Do you understand me?

The Ground Floor

To be able to get books from the kid's section I needed the green cards which pissface got for me and my sister, which allowed us to get 4 books each. Baller.

If I had to try and guess a good age for me at the time I would say 8 or 9 which I think is quite late and maybe explains why I was so excited to always go get new books apart from getting away from the hag.

The Hardy Boys

So the books I most remember reading was The Hardy Boys, they were the main ones I started with. Consisting of the classic intro, intrigue, build up, climax and closing. I don't think my taste has deviated much since those books, I expect it, am agitated if I don't feel like I received it. All in all, I just want it bad.

Nancy Drew

I actually read only The Hardy Boys for a while, read both the classics and The Casefiles not all of it but enough. There were obviously a few other titles thrown in between but nothing I can really recall apart from the fact that The Famous Five was a little bit shitty, Sweet Valley High was not sweet at all but I really gave it a shot maybe 5 books but that is it nothing more just a fair shot and that I preferred the more solo approach of Nancy Drew.


Obviously, I have to mention Goosebumps with the main one that got me is those damn lawn gnomes, those are the times you skip down the hall to get to the light. I read only a few of the Goosebumps books but the ones I read were always pretty good getting you from start to end effortlessly.

There was the one other title in the library which I remember always looking at but never reading, every fucking week, I kept wanting to give it a shot but each time I scanned the book it really just pissed me off, it had little animals on the cover and a mouse with a sword and I thought wow this is going to be cool but it was just animals in medieval times like seriously not a lot of imagination went into this if all you are doing is replacing the Musketeers with furry creatures. Honestly, a mouse with a sword will never be able to stand up to a badger.

I googled for the book above since the cover will remind me but even Google decided it was too shit to show. Seeing the lists of what people consider classic children's literature I think I did follow the mainstream but then again not so mainstream that I had to suffer through Charlottes Web or Narnia.

Asterix and Obelix

Asterix and Obelix was freaking amazing and while you have some downtime you can give The Adventures of Tintin ago but I don't recall caring much for that either. Asterix and Obelix though, hell yeah.

This is getting longer and longer as I try to recall the books that came in between but just picture the scenes more than the books, the one I really enjoyed was when I learnt the word: Unorthodox. I mostly remember the fight scene where he jump kicks some douche in space. He had a different way of fighting than all the other people he was battling, because of his home planet or something, come to think of it the story reminds me of Riddick.

Looking at the above not much made an impression on me apart from the series I read. The generics like Harry Potter and any books I could find on magic.

The Second Floor

I got older and taller which meant I could reach the second floor, still it was fortunate they had a walkway to upstairs since I really did not get that much taller.

Still, in primary I eventually got the blue cards which allowed me to gets books from the adult section, but mostly because instead of doing homework the adult section still had cool books on a bunch of subjects that I never really got into but really liked to peruse. The two books I remember from these early days into my little bit more in-depth reading were actually school books, now I am not sure if this was primary or early high school but they always just stayed with me.

Hear the Rainbow Sing - Chris Pelser

Hear the Rainbow Sing was about a kid who lost his hearing and use to play the piano then could not, I can't recollect how it turned out really because the main scene I remember is him in the rain kissing a girl he has been pushing away since he was all sad and shit about being deaf. Little broken birdie got him some in the end though.

I am David - Anne Holm

I am David, this one has to be my all-time favourite it felt real, I did not care so much for the fact that he was going to meet his mother whom he has never met or known but the journey he goes on to accomplish something he can't even be sure would turn out well, being protected in a sense from the real world due to growing up in a Nazi encampment there are many things he has to learn which others take for granted.

I think of this book fondly although I can't completely recall. I remember it because I related to the boy and could understand a little bit of the difficulties he faced going into the real world with no real understanding of people.

None of these books is in a so-called chronological order and more leading into what I can recall. Like a monkey, I am going Oooh Oooh and that one, that one is awesome.

Nathan's Run - John Gilstrap

Thinking of I am David I have to remember Nathan's Run, another book about a boy who escapes a penitentiary, I do not recall where he is going all I know is on the run after they think he killed one of the guards, making his way to safety he hides out in houses that it is pretty certain the people are on vacation.

Listening to the radio he gets to tell his story to one of the hosts of an Adult Radio Show called The Bitch and so there is a lot else happening but I remember it for how well it was written although not exactly a story that I would usually read it still was a good choice.

Monsoon - Wilbur Smith

The first real adult book I read was Monsoon from Wilbur Smith, Tom the eldest brother in the story was quite the Casanova and there is a sexy scene of him between the legs of one of the more uppity girls that had me check if anyone is at home. Set in the olden days when people still had wooden ships, it is a great adventure story as the family travels from England to the Indian Ocean to battle some Corsairs, pretty sure they stop somewhere in Cape Town. there is a follow up called Blue Horizon which I waited for but then realised it is set in South Africa so there was no way I was going to read it.

In the library, there are entire letters I learnt to avoid for example the letter R, which had Ann Rice books and they kind of just sucked, almost as bad as David Eddings trying to convince me he has an imagination.

The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay

Although I usually refuse to read anything to do with South Africa, which excluded a great deal of Wilbur Smiths books I did read The Power of One from Bryce Courtenay, I really enjoy underdog stories and the writing was very good compared to what I was reading before it. The story of an English boy growing up in Apartheid South Africa who becomes a boxer, very much a montage style story an element which every underdog story should have.

Once... - James Herbert

Actually I just remember the title and that it had a very sexy scene between two woman. Once... is about witches and fairies, a cabin in the woods and unrealised power. I know exactly on which shelve it is but can not for the life of me find or remember the author - I did remember that it was the dude that wrote Ghosts of Sleath so updated the author now. - I might be wrong about that sexy scene but will be leaving it in because I am pretty sure I am right, how many lesbian love scenes in a cabin can there be? I hope so.

Apart from some sexiness, it was the main book that displayed a darker side to magic instead of all this fluffy type of magic within stories, where even the witches really aren't all that bad.

The Philosophical Ones

Jostein Gaarder writes pretty good books of which I remember at least 3 which are a must read, not sure if it is his only 3 though.

The Solitaire Mystery

The Solitaire Mystery is an amazing book of true imagination, a story inside a story which is something you will find yourself looking forward to while reading the one you will be like damn I hope we get to read the story from the sticky bun book soon.

Sophie's World

I remember Sophie's World because it was some heavy fucking reading filled with parts of philosophy, I think this is what made me want to read Plato's books but turns out he is a bit of a bore. I liked Sophie's world mainly because she was a character breaking out of an actual story and I did enjoy feeling quite smart with the more advanced literature included. To close out my Jostein Gaarder phase was Through a Glass, Darkly a good book but really not very memorable especially if read after Sophie's World and The Solitaire Mystery.

Proper Fiction

As one book comes into mind I remember flashes of others, but since they were not first they are not the ones I truly recall although they may have a bit of an impact on what I chose to read next or were one-hit wonders that made a slight impression.

Druss the Legend and Stephen Kings Thinner are books like that, they are good but you can really do without reading them, more so Thinner than Druss the Legend - Druss the Legend had me searching more specifically for epic fantasy which I enjoy to this day.

Paradise War - Stephen Lawhead

My first real trilogy started with Paradise War from the Song of Albion Series, there are three books, obviously, the next two in the series is The Silverhand and The Endless Knot.

This also started my interest in historical fiction as I like to call it. A boy and his friend pass through a cairn which is an old burial mound in Scotland. Ending up in a new world, the foreigners become the perfect example of how people can change and be drawn to either good or evil.

The story follows the better of the two friends journey from alien to greatness. Maybe a bit like Virginia - or John Carter if you wish.

The Taita Books - Wilbur Smith

I call them the Taita books because he is my favourite Eunuch and the books really are mostly about his rise. It covers the lives of the Pharaoh, the Queen and the main Warrior of Egypt as they face threats not just to Egypt but in their own ranks. The books are all great starting with River God, although I read the second book The Seventh Scroll First which was actually a good thing. Ending with what at the time was the final book Warlock, I see now there are more that have been added and I sure as hell will be reading them. FYI the actual name is The Egyptian Series.

Small Gods, Sourcery, Feet of Clay and Hogfather
- Terry Pratchett

All the Discworld Novels are great, [Small Gods] ( was humorous and funny as a tiny little God lands in the world and goes on a mission to find believers so he can become a big God again.

Sourcery is a great book about proper magic and in Discworld that is a scary thing, Hogfather dealt with the Assasins Guild being hired to get rid of the Hogfather (Father Christmas), the main character is a bit fucked in his head which makes it really fun to read.

Feet of Clay about a Golem that is terrorising Ankh-Morpork's citizens just one of the things that piss off captain Vimes of the watch who in a previous book kicks ass when it comes to assassins.

Dark Prince and Lion of Macedon - David Gemmell

I had a really good taste of old history mixed with some fantasy in this series, the book I most remember reading was Dark Prince dealing with the history of Alexander the Great as a child and how if I can recall it accurately he was driven to conquer due to the demon in his soul.

Dark Prince is actually the second book and in it, there is the commander Parmenion which I am later to also read about in Lion of Macedon.

The Gates of Rome - Conn Iggulden

A lot less fantasy and a lot more historical fiction, The Gates of Rome is the first book in a series but I have not read the rest since the library did not have them and over the years I just could not be bothered.

Telling the story of two young roman friends on different paths, growing up with privilege but still in the cruel roman world this is a great book and well written which made it very difficult to find something to read after since in comparison most peoples writing just suck.

Ooh Ooh and...

The Black Magician - Trudi Canavan

A great series The Black Magician series is about someone from the slums who discovers she has magical abilities and enters the magicians ranks, starting with The Magicians' Guild, she starts her training in The Novice and shit really hits the fan in The High Lord.

She is more powerful than the average ones though and gains a special interest from one of the strongest mages. All in all, I just loved the whole magical aspect, the writing at times did get a bit too descriptive of the trees and I did not care much for the romantic parts.

Still, all three books was a definite binge read for me as she tells the story effortlessly and always gives another little twist as you progress.

There are others

This covers the most memorable books I read up to roughly the age of 16, I think the Trudi Canavan series was after deciding I really need to read a bit more a few years later but mostly all are from my younger years.

I have quite the ebook collection now but find that out of 100 I might really care for maybe about 10 of them, a big maybe.

I hoard things so although I have plenty of books and at times just add an ebook dump to the collection does not mean I read the stuff. I really like collecting science books and such but have not read more than the cover, when reading I prefer to be lost in that world for a while and if the writing is not up to par I will not feel bad to just stop and put the book aside, forever.

Although I can't always remember the exact plot or even names of the characters - which happens while reading also - I remember them because of how they made me feel, changed my taste or just taught me something new. What books do you remember from your younger days? Those books you will always bring up if asked, hey what can I read?

Read them

Thank you to @Tamala for providing me with referral links to Amazon for all of these books. - All the links are Amazon referral links and do not cost you anything extra but can help her make a few more cents to buy bread.


This is my opinion.....I feel like you deserve wayyyyyy more views, upvotes, and followers!....By Far!

I agree @bjjlifestyle! @penderis has a style, flair and wicked sense of humor that's a rare find. But, he does hate work so.....

Definitely. Checked your page out too and gave you a follow. Cool page. I like that you promote encouragement and health. That's a good lifestyle to have.

So kind of you to help him out with the lists!

Haha Thank you, but that might also cause me to have to actually do more, which would make it feel like work.

Hi penderis,

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Woohoooo! Congratulations on your Curie @penderis! A well derserved one, TRULY!

I love those childhood classics. We had very similar readings lists by the looks of it. The one before you reached the higher shelves - I just kinda roamed around aimlessly and picked up a few from my brother's collection as I grew a little older. Hahaha.

You lost me there when you went up to the higher shelves and the second floor! You are so impressively well read in fiction! I feel so ill-educated now .....

But one thing I will always love - THE SMELL OF BOOKS!! Libraries especially.....the idea that so many fingers would have sieved through the pages (these were my pre germaphobic days) - and that so many would have gained from the books. Just a very special place - full of many dreamy young minds!

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Wow you got Curied! Haha congratulations! 🎉

I also like reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. So much so that I was having my own adventures with a team in my dreams. Oh I love those childhood dreams. 😂 Filled with so much adventure.

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