Friday, August 1, 2008

What We Read

This is less of a Burbank post than it is a 1970s nostalgia post, but since the two are inextricably connected in my mind, I figured I'd write a bit about it. Since I write books for a living now, people sometimes assume that I was reading Dickens and Shakespeare when I was a kid, but no: My favorite was Mad Magazine. Spy vs. Spy, anyone? Or what about that last page that you folded so that it became a different picture?

I even bought the paperback collections of Mad Magazine, which I read (looked at) on car trips.

Dynamite (see above) was another favorite, probably because the covers featured whatever I happened to be interested in at the time (i.e., Land of the Lost).

Whenever I could, I would by music magazines like Cream; occasionally, I would buy magazines that featured nothing but the song lyrics to a song. In fact, I'm pretty sure one of those magazines was called Song Lyrics. That way, I wouldn't botch the lyrics when I sang along to my transistor radio. (Did I mention that I wanted to be a rock star?)

Lastly, I loved ordering books from Scholastics. Remember how the teacher would pass around little order forms (I don't even remember catalogs, just a list of books), and you'd check off the ones you wanted? My favorite books were ones about Houdini, the Lochness Monster, and motorcycle daredevils. (Ironically, those are still three of my favorite subjects.)

Oh yeah...and every year I'd have to buy the new Guinness Book of World Records.

Remember the dude with the longest fingernails? Or what about the guy who could smoke something like, I don't know, a hundred cigarettes at once? (You think he's still alive?)

Ripley's Believe It or Not also made for some fine reading.

But my all-time favorite reading? TV Guide. In the eighth grade, using my dog walking money, I actually ordered a subscription. Good stuff. I still own this issue. Not sure why. I saw it in a box in my basement just the other day. Along with some copies of Dynamite. And a book about Houdini.