I was a voracious reader growing up. I still am, but it has nothing on how fast I chewed through story after story when I was a kid. I would go to the library and easily fill a bag with twenty books, then finish three or four within a day or two.
And lately, I’ve reread some books from back then. The pulpy fun novels that got me into the stories I now write myself.
By far the most interesting one of these has been going back through old Goosebumps books.
And I’m kind of shocked at how well the stories hold up. There are moments of genuine violence, and Stein turns out to have a serious talent for making things gross or vividly creepy. The monster designs are inspired, well-described, and they are so memorable even this far into the future.
As I write this, I’m going through a book of his short stories. And, yeah, they all end somewhat predictably—always with some dark twist—but they too have a charm to them. Despite being written in a different time, and outdated in some ways, they mostly hold up to scrutiny.
I really recommend, if you haven’t in a while, dusting off your own old books. Whatever you stashed away from your childhood.
Sometimes, those stories that affected you did so for good reason.
Sometimes nostalgia is not lying to you.