In my youth, I was in love with Fairy Tales - all kinds and types. I loved Grimm's Tales, was not quite as fond of Hans Christian Anderson's tales but enjoyed them nonetheless, and the colored fairy tale books of Lang were dear friends for many years. I still love them to this day. I bought my first copy of Tolkien's The Hobbit in my youth, followed a few years later by The Fellowship of the Ring and in turn, the other two of the Lord of the Ring trilogy. Those books took over my life and still influence my daily thoughts and much of my own writing. But I must have read and enjoyed other books in my youth...yes, of course. Such as...
Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged was my reading material in late Middle School and I still consider it one of the most important books I've ever read. I re-read it on average every year or so, and it holds a place in all of my libraries as several copies of paper, an audio book, and an e-book.
Looking through my bookshelf, I realized that I entered Anne McCaffrey's world of Pern very early since I have a first edition paperback of Dragonflight and also of Dragonquest. I remained a fan of Pern until Todd McCaffrey began co-writing her books, then fell off that world. Other vibrant and deep worlds that caught me were Darkover and Valdemar. I have read most if not all in both of those series and still pick them up to read now and again.
I'm sure I'm not putting books out there that haven't been picked up by many of you. And the few books I listed are a small scratch in a very large library that also includes 100's of science fiction loves and also standards such as Little Women and the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It amazes me what wonderful things were available to hold in my hands while I grew up. Their authors allowed my imagination to soar. So on this day when the Little Prince looks out into the heavens, so also do I with a heartfelt "Thank You" to each and every author whose books I picked up to read when I was young and still pick up to read today so many years later.