Big surprise here, not a one I have read, read as a child, or would EVER read. It’s just an ad. I will not disparage it. But it got me thinking about what I DID read, growing up.
We had Little Golden Books. My mom read them to us. Still remember them, even to the illustrations on the pages. Not just the covers. Four Puppies—and they’re collies!
At Grandma and Grandpa’s house, there were the books my mother grew up with—Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, Little Prudie, Black Beauty. An oversized picture book of Lad, A Dog. (Collies again!)
HOW and WHY Wonder Books: Excellent, vivid non-fiction books. I think we had Rocks and Minerals. Probably others. Maybe Dinosaurs. We had a Home Encyclopedia too—I think that came one volume at a time from the grocery store.
The Montgomery Ward Catalogue had Horse Books! Snowman, Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry, A Treasury of Horses, Misty of Chincoteague. Mom ordered them for me for Christmas presents. I still have every one.
The public Library had a WHOLE SHELVING UNIT dedicated to Horse Books, in the Junior Department. King of the Wind, The Black Stallion series, dozens of books illustrated by Paul Brown. I judged books very sternly by the quality of their illustrations, and whether they did the horses well. When I discovered that books in the Adult Section were most likely NOT illustrated, I was devastated. The Junior Department was best—and you know, THAT’S where they put the Folklore. The real, messy stuff. Also most—but not ALL—of The Lord of the Rings.
And we had comics! Zorro, Classics Illustrated, Gold Key.
Schools had libraries too. Time to go there varied, and we were supposed to be picking out books for BOOK REPORTS. “No, you can’t read Johnny Tremayne. That’s a boy’s book. No, you already did a book report on a Horse Book. Why don’t you read something else?” (So I read a Dog Book--The Greene Poodles! The poodles were not green.) (Junior High, they made us read biographies. Wish someone had told me that Lytton Strachey’s Queen Victoria was more satirical than factual.)
School Libraries were a nice source of junior biographies—I read Clara Barton and Amelia Earhart and Carl Ben Eielson, Will Rodgers and Thomas Alva Edison—c’mon, the boys were not going to check them out unless they were forced to, they were quick reads about interesting people—and since it was not for a Book Report, no worries about “boy’s books” being read by a girl. I learned a ton. And I still remember those books.
I read books my mom had at home--Anna and the King of Siam. Then, Mom rejoined the Doubleday Book Club. I read Gone With the Wind, and fell under The Spell of Mary Stewart. Alfred Hitchcock Stories that Scared Even Me. 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Crystal Cave.
Had there been a HOW and WHY Book on Writers, this is what would have been in it!