Choose Your Own AdventureIn elementary school I used to sneak into the office behind the stacks of the school library where the new books were kept. My mother was the principal, and each day I would wait after school, digging through the piles, casting each book aside looking for the new Choose Your Own Adventures. Once found, I would take them to a bean bag in the reading area and read them each straight through, marking different places with as many as four fingers at a time so that if I made a wrong choice, I could return and continue forward. Too bad that life doesn�t work that way.The Three InvestigatorsMy neighbor Paul had them all and I remember thinking how impossible it was that he was a year younger, yet had more books than I did. There was no other reason – I simply thought he should have less, since for a kid, age is the ultimate currency. They were great little stories and my first experience with character development. The characters didn�t seem to change much over each book, but they acquired new interests (usually devices pertinent to the story at hand) and that was enough. My favorite was the third in the series, though I forget the title. I recall a thrilling segment on a paddle-wheel riverboat and bullets imbedded in a tree. I remember thinking I could really feel that fear of being shot as I sympathized so completely with that detective. I�ve felt those emotions when reading many times since, but I suspect only as a kid can you actually confuse yourself with a book character and so completely share the emotions provided them by the author.Lloyd AlexanderThe first in the Prydain Chronicles was given to me by a friend in what would become a recurring theme – he would give me something he thought was uncool or useless, and I�d run with it and discover the wonder that those who�d given it to him had intended for him. More often than not, he would then claim credit when he realized it wasn�t so uncool after all, but that�s kids for you.I loved the series and remember also wanting so badly to see the cartoon movie that was made for the second in the series, The Black Cauldron, but never finding a way to see it. I don�t think I ever did actually, even now.The third chapter in the series made me feel extremely mature as I recall. I felt I�d come so far from the first one, and perhaps by the intention of the author I had grown up with the main character. I�d learned what he�d learned, and when it came time to notice that he�d become more mature I realized that I could too – and felt I should.