I'm feeling more than a little nostalgic today, so I've been looking through old photos and looking back on when I was younger. Perhaps there is no better way to mentally transport myself back to those days than blogging about R.L. Stine's GOOSEBUMPS series.
For those not in the know, R.L. Stine is, essentially, Stephen King for elementary school kids (so that is how I turned out this way!) and his GOOSEBUMPS books are arguably his most popular work. (I never read FEAR STREET - sue me.) Since I wasn't born until '95, I couldn't really enjoy these books until years after the final one was released in '97. Still, these were arguably the most popular books among my peers and I in grade school, and I was known as the kid who was very obsessed with Stine's creepy tales of walking scarecrows, haunted masks, and monster blood -- ick, that monster blood was nasty.
In essence, R.L. Stine is the guy who first introduced me to reading, and his books made reading fun. I re-read my favorites over and over, wearing out my copies until my mom had to buy me replacements. I read them so many times that, despite the fact that I haven't read 'em in at least ten years, I can still remember a good deal about almost all 62 stories in the original series. A few are blanks for me (EGG MONSTERS FROM MARS comes to mind) but most are still firmly lodged in the ole memory banks.
I'm going to keep this short and sweet, offering no more than a line or two of reason as to why the books that are included here made the list of my top 10 GOOSEBUMPS books. It was hard choosing, but this is the list I finally ended up with.
10. I LIVE IN YOUR BASEMENT - This one was trippy as could be, but sadly it gets overlooked due to following so many lackluster entries at the tail-end of the series.
9. DON'T GO TO SLEEP - Again, very trippy stuff. Also, the main character goes through alternate realities and dimensions. How could I not include this one?!
8. THE GHOST NEXT DOOR - The only GOOSEBUMPS book with an ending that will leave a lump in your throat. I don't want to spoil anything, but this is arguably the most "grown up" book in the series.
7. YOU CAN'T SCARE ME - Revenge and mud monsters. I just remember this one being a ton of fun.
6. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DUMMY III - One of the few Goosebumps books that actually scared me as a kid, and it's still a tiny bit creepy to this day. Also, the adaptation for the TV series wasn't too bad.
5. LET'S GET INVISIBLE - If I remember correctly, this is the longest book in the series. Not relevant, but whatever. I think invisibility is super cool, and I remember Stine offering up some scary bits involving the mirror the kids use to go invisible.
4. THE CUCKOO CLOCK OF DOOM - Basically, time travel with a sick twist -- the main character gets younger and younger, eventually turning into a baby. And he can't stop it.
3. WELCOME TO DEAD HOUSE - The first in the series, and quite possibly the darkest. This was written before Stine had developed any sort of formula for the series, and the whole thing just creeps under your skin.
2.THE HAUNTED SCHOOL - Like I LIVE IN YOUR BASEMENT, this is a latter-year GOOSEBUMPS entry that actually doesn't suck. This one is part time travel, part historical fiction, part ghost story. And it rocks.
1. THE HAUNTED MASK - If I could only read one Goosebumps book ever again, it'd be this one. It's essentially CARRIE for little kids (scaredy-girl comes into possession of a scary mask and gets revenge on all who teased her). The TV episode is my favorite in that series, as well.
I hope you guys enjoyed my list, and maybe it persuaded you to dig out an old GOOSEBUMPS book or two, and relive your own childhood for a while. Also, have an old picture of me, taken on Christmas Day, 2004:
Ah, childhood awkwardness. I don't miss you.
Anywho, what do you guys think? What do your lists look like? Feel free to leave them in the comments.