Patti Abbott, and from comedian and voracious reader Jackie Kashian, but nonetheless, here 'tis (with the links back to previous citations in the blog and elsewhere)...
Grimm's Fairy Tales To Read Aloud, a beginning reader's edition...along with Dr.
Seuss and some Golden Books, the texts my parents taught me to read
with, and the most elaborate and text-heavy (and even more fantasticated
than Green Eggs and Ham and the Cat in the Hat books).
Children's Digest magazine, the first fiction/essay-heavy magazine I read, and another
bounty of short fiction, comics (Tintin and others), etc. Set me on a
path to being one of the rare sorts these days who still loves fiction
magazines. Highlights for Children and Humpty Dumpty (the latter then CD's slightly
younger-skewing stablemate) didn't hurt, but weren't as good to 5yo me.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, ghost-edited by Harold Q. Masur. Might not be the first of the
anthologies edited by Robert Arthur and Harold Q. Masur in the various
"Hitchcock" lines that I read, but it might be, and it was the first I
owned a copy of. Eclectic and sophisticated range of all sorts of "dark"
(including darkly comic) fiction, one of many volumes aimed at adults
and a companion series aimed at YA readers...I inhaled them from about
age 9 till I'd read them all...while also reading the series of
anthologies taken from and associated with Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, which always had other editors. AHMM, for its part, was the
first adult fiction magazine I read regularly.
Living in Fear: A History of Horror in Mass Media, by
Les Daniels...the mass media very much including
literature...the first critical/historical pop-culture work I devoured,
and assuredly not the last. Along with the pointers, as valuable as
those on the Newbery Award shortlists to my young reading, it was also a
fine anthology of short stories, alternating with the chapters of
The better Time-Life Books, Science Service Books,
and a galumphing big coffee-table book full of essays and great
photography, Our Amazing World of Nature, definitely nudged me into a
lifelong interest in the natural sciences...various encyclopedias and other multivolume sets didn't hurt.
The Year's Best Horror Stories, Series 5, edited by Gerald W. Page. The first evidence I
had that the horror fiction anthologies I'd been finding in libraries
(and from Scholastic and similar book sales in and through the schools) were part of a continuing tradition. Other best of the year annuals were also fascinating.
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (to which I've contributed in the most slight way) and Fantastic Stories and Whispers,
perhaps the most beloved by me of the first wave of adult fiction magazines I
started buying and reading in earnest in 1978. These three were the best
and most popular fantasy fiction magazines I'd find, all eclectic in
their remit (they'd even run the occasional story that was fantasy only
by association, presumably because the editors thought they had a good story by a
writer who usually wrote fantasy)...while I'd read the likes of Short Story International and Galaxy and Asimov's SF Adventure Magazine and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine assiduously as well. I
transitioned in my periodicals consumption from reading comics and Mad (and any National Lampoons I
could obtain...and Boy's Life and Dynamite) to reading fiction magazines over the years from ages 10 to 13...and
discovered that magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly still carried
short stories, as well as sometimes fascinating articles. I'd been
reading the short stories in Playboy for a while...while not letting the
rest of the magazine alone, of course...
Dissent magazine was my
first regular leftist read, soon joined by others ranging from The Nation to Rolling Stone's relevant material, and so on to such books as
Vivian Gornick's Essays in Feminism (and Women in Science), Emma Goldman's Living My Life, and the notable anthology The Essential Works of Anarchism.. But I think Joanna Russ's essays, and
her novel The Female Man, were among the biggest even earlier nudges I
had in that direction. I certainly didn't like the antifeminist flavor
of the writing of R. Bretnor nor (Miss rather than Ms.?) Raylyn Moore
from early on... Our Generation magazine probably spoke to me most
directly, along with Social Anarchism (to which I would eventually contribute) and, in a more broadly focused
way, Harper's Magazine in the 1980s...
The Futurians by Damon Knight
convinced me that I wanted to be an editor even more than I did a
writer. And the critical writing of Knight, Russ, Gornick, John Simon,
Harlan Ellison, Algis Budrys, James Blish, Anthony Burgess, bell hooks,
Avram Davidson, Fritz Leiber, and others spoke to me profoundly.
And if I have to make a default choice as to my favorite book so
far...well, I couldn't. But Avram Davidson's magisterial The Enquiries of Doctor Eszterhazy might be it. Or Jorge Luis Borges's The Aleph, and Other Stories 1933-1969, or too many others...
Please see Patti Abbott's blog for more of today's books. I believe I'm set to host next week's selections...