July 18, 2024

OPINION: My first obsessions

Erin' it Out

People like to talk about the eras of their life, especially since Taylor Swift started her Eras tour. Generally, the talk about one’s era isn’t particularly serious, focusing more on random hobbies and obsessions.

For example, during COVID, many people went through their “baker era.” Baking banana bread, muffins, sourdough, it was certainly a trend to try your hand at making many of these goods.

More recently, people have been talking about being in their “reading era.” It thrills me that so many more people are picking up books and getting into the written word. However, this is no era for me.

I’ve mentioned in the past how I first started reading. However, today I want to talk about some of my earliest favorite series. These are the books I would pick up at every thrift store or search through the library’s online catalog incase a nearby library had a copy mine didn’t have.

While I certainly loved reading before this, these are the books that started off my obsession. These are the first books that I couldn’t put down. I have no idea about the actual age range for these series, but I read them between first and third grade, depending on the series.

Animorphs by K.A. Applegate

The cover of "The Departure," the 19th book in the "Animorphs" series by K.A. Applegate.

When I think of childhood series that I loved, this is always one of the top ones. Comprised of 54 books, the “Animorph” series follows the young teens and friends Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Cassie and Marco as they work to save the world from an invading alien force.

In the first book, they receive a powerful alien technology that allows them to morph into any living creature they can take DNA from. They use this to fight the Yerks, a small slug-like alien that can go into brains and control minds.

The most iconic part of the books are their covers, something people still post as memes now. They show one of the characters morphing into an animal in a series of photos. I included an example of what Cheyenne says is the least creepy cover.

Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

Kind of a series, kind of not, the Goosebumps books are each standalone children’s horror stories from the 90s, though newer ones started being released in 2008.

Many people are familiar with Goosebumps, largely in part due to a variety of movies and TV shows that have been made about the various stories. The plotlines are great for younger kids looking to get into horror, as the books are spooky but not enough to keep me up at night.

Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter

I was on the older side of my given age range for this series, but I wanted to include it anyway. The books in the Gallagher Girls series focused on a group of friends at an all-girls boarding school. While those on the outside thought the school was for geniuses, in reality, the school was for spies.

The characters were amazing, being girly, insanely smart and tough as nails at the same time. They were able to do normal teenage girl things while also fighting terrorists, obviously what every young girl dreams of.

Dear America by assorted authors

Made up of 36 books, this series is actually a bunch of standalones written as if they were the diaries of young women living during historical events. The books contain diverse events and diverse people.

Just to give a little taste, the books include: the revolutionary, civil and first and second world wars; freed and enslaved women from various time periods; Irish, Jewish, etc immigrants; the Titanic and the Salem Witch Trials.

Animal Ark by Ben M. Baglio

I couldn’t finish this column without including the Animal Ark books. With a total of 61 books, this series follows Mandy Hope finding animals in trouble and helping them, specifically at her parents’ veterinary clinic.

Each book has a wonderful name, such as “Puppies in the Pantry” or “Hedgehogs in the Hall.” The series takes place in Yorkshire, England, something I didn’t realize until quite recently, when I discovered the grandmother did not make wonderful “mint” pies for Christmas, but “mince” pies.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.