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Slappy birthday & memory returns

Months and months before her birthday, one of my long-time best friends (ironically a non-reader) knew she wanted to see the Goosebumps movie as part of the festivities for her big 3-1. All the cool kids were reading R.L. Stine’s books back in the day. Including us.

The movie was actually a lot better than I thought. It was well-written and had a great mix of sweet and scary. Though, I sure hope no one thinks R.L. Stine is some sort of recluse sitting around his house with a daughter he never lets see the light of day but, all in all, I got a kick out of the recognizing book details from way, way back.

After reading this article by reporter Brian Stelter about his late-90s Goosebumps fansite, I was reminded of a little project I embarked on with the aforementioned birthday girl and another one of our besties (who was also sharing popcorn with us this weekend). In our fifth grade class, our computer time was limited to a CD-Rom of the encyclopedia. I don’t even think I had an AOL username at that point (my dad was really strict about screen time). We weren’t constantly being fed information. We had to find it in teen magazines and newspapers and the actual news. As a kid, I loved reading the newspaper — unsurprisingly, the Arts and Entertainment section. Who knows what it was that inspired me to head my own newspaper back then with my two friends as co-editors, but I did. We shared upcoming movies, there was an advice column, we created themed word searches, and even included addresses to write to our favorite celebrities. It’s funny now to think about the book news we reported on. Without checking websites (and before the term ‘blogger’ even existed), my friends and I used to call Scholastic for the upcoming titles of our beloved Babysitters Club and Goosebumps books. They were always gracious and gave them to us. Even then, it felt special to be “in the know” and be the source sharing the great news with our friends.

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It’s crazy how little pieces of our childhood factor into the adults we become, isn’t it?

Books remain a constant in my life. My work. My play. My escape. My relief. My fun. The fandom I felt when reading Stine’s and Ann M. Martin’s books has continued to stick with me until now, whether it’s reading voraciously or sharing my recommendations with some kind of “crowd.” (My favorite thing to do was switch off with a Babysitters Club book and then a Goosebumps. Even then, I was strategic about my palette cleansers!)

So I guess the Goosebumps movie did what it was supposed to do. It made me remember and realize fandom never goes away — it just takes on different forms as a person grows and as the world advances. I wonder how many 30-somethings went home from the movies this weekend and bought some used Goosebumps books. (I bought 4.)

October 27, 2015 - 1:52 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - I don’t really have a lot to say but I loved this post. It reminded me fondly of the BSC books I owned from Scholastic book fair (numbers 1 through 55 for sure if not more!) and the odyssey I dragged my mom on (at least two toy stores) to get my Claudia BSC doll which I still own.

It’s funny how as children we often find things that don’t even have names when we discover them. I didn’t have a newspaper as a kid but I wrote a couple of epic thinly veiled remixes of . . . Emily of New Moon and A Wizard of Earthsea. I think of them as my first and only attempts at fan fiction.

October 20, 2015 - 3:25 pm

Alexa S. - I loved reading Goosebumps and many other series as a child! They’re definitely a big part of my life, even until now, and I love that. I love that books still remain at the forefront of things important to me, and I love that other people feel the same way. Loved reading this, E!

October 20, 2015 - 9:24 am

Leah - Matt isn’t a reader. At all. Yet he is passionate about Goosebumps. I was (and still am) massively in love with reading and gobbled up practically everything I could get my hands on as a child…apart from Goosebumps. For some reason I was never interested in reading them despite my friends’ love for the series. A few years ago Matt had a cold and was convinced he needed to be on bedrest (men..) Being the wonderful girlfriend I am, I grabbed him a few Goosebumps novels – being sick is the PERFECT time for comfort reads. Not long after I was sick and wanted something to read, but didn’t want to put much thought or effort into it. LONG STORY SHORT, I grabbed one of the books (it was the one about lawn gnomes!) and had a blast.

I’m a decade or two late to the party BUT I can finally say I’ve read a Goosebumps book and I’ve been grabbing them any chance I get!

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