Dear Wife and I were talking the other day about books, and about reading. We’re both pretty avid readers. But whereas I read almost exclusively in the speculative fiction genres, and venture outside those boundaries only rarely (if you’re going to read for enjoyment, you might as well read what you enjoy, and so I do), Dear Wife reads widely across many different genres, including non-fiction. As we were talking, Dear Wife commented that she didn’t want B.T. to read only fantasy and science fiction.
“Didn’t you read anything else, when you were a kid?” she asked. “Like, the Hardy Boys or something?”
Well, no, I couldn’t remember ever reading any Hardy Boys books, but I did read several books in another series of boy-detective books, the Three Investigators. Most memorable of these, to me, was The Case of the Dancing Dinosaur. “You should blog about that,” Dear Wife said, so I am.
What was unique about The Case of the Dancing Dinosaur was that it wasn’t a straight-forward sort of novel. It was one of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” or “Choose Your Own Fate” style books that were popular during the 1980s among younger readers. This particular book was about a dinosaur fossil (encased in gold, as I recall) that went missing (and of course, a requisite murder mystery to boot), which the mystery-solving friends had to recover. But, I’ll tell you this secret: though I loved the book (this was during the “everything with Dinosaurs in it is cool” phase) it was frustrating to no end. I never solved the case, to my memory. Rather, I let one or all of the boys die almost every single time I read through the book.
Those two facts are the only things I still remember, today, about both this particular book and about the Three Investigators in general. I read two or three of the regular Three Investigators novels, but the most memorable of the books for me was always that one Choose Your Own Fate novel that stumped me time and again.
So, did any of you ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were younger? Share your memories in the comments!