Last time I headed back to my parents’ home in Norfolk, I found an old shoebox in my wardrobe. Inside were a collection of stories I’d forgotten I once owned and loved. They weren’t classics, or amazing literary pieces. They were Point Horror Books.
Back when I was in school, the amount of Goosebumps books you brought to the classroom table on reading day basically determined your social status. I was forever thrusting the school’s book catalogues at my parents, with the latest Goosebumps releases circled in pen, begging for new additions to my collection. When they finally arrived, I’d sit down and devour them, ready to share with friends the following day.
As I headed into my teenage years and grew out of the Goosebumps trend (although, as an adult, I’m now proud to own Season 1 on DVD…), I began to pick up Point Horror books. Mostly found secondhand from car boot sales, I cultivated a collection to rival my former childhood favourites. I used to pore over them tucked into bed late at night, sometimes reading a whole book in one sitting.
Even though they were written in times before the internet was a household essential, and mobile phones were businessmen’s bricks, the stories don’t feel outdated. Sure, there are the classic, cheesy American stereotypes and some less-than-great writing involved, but the young adult thriller tales are still page-turners. In particular, thanks to both Goosebumps and Point Horror, R.L Stine played a huge literary role in my youth. Okay, it’s not Salinger, or Golding. But I was reading for the pure fun and enjoyment – and isn’t that the point?
And that’s something I still carry with me as an adult. I don’t want to read books to say I’ve read them – I want to take in stories as an escape, no matter how simple. So, I’m currently reading my way through these much-loved 90s stories, working my way down Fear Street and visiting Nightmare Hall. Sure, I love catching up on the latest bestselling thrillers, but sometimes, it’s just nice to read something that’s simple and familiar.
What books remind you of your younger days?