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I mean, it wasn’t the first book that I ever read, but it was the first book that I ever picked out and wanted to read.
I scoured the colorful, flimsy tissue-like paper, sifting through the intimidating titles (“The Giver” anyone?) and the books I was too old and cool for (apologies to the good doc, but it would be a little while before I would fully appreciate the genius of Dr.
Stine’s “Phantom of the Auditorium.” The only thing that thrilled me more than the story itself was finding a preview for the next book at the end, as well as the order guide for the 23 books that had come before. I never collected baseball cards and action figures didn’t last long with three siblings and dogs in the picture.


The plan was two-pronged: first, blow my life’s savings for two books and some candy, then get a job. I was staking out on my own, trying to grow up too fast just to maintain my two-Bumps-a-day habit. I’ll spare you the details, suffice to say I’m pretty sure I got taken to the cleaners like Master P negotiating a rookie contract.
Then on the first of every month I’d beg my mom to take me to the long-defunct Bookstop (after many calls were made to the store to make sure they had in stock and could they possibly hold it for me?).
What I didn’t know then was that “Goosebumps” was an insanely popular franchise, peaking with four million in monthly sales.


Through hard labor, two Christmas and birthday cycles, and one letter (“Will there be a ‘Ghost Beach 2?’”) unanswered by the author but answered by time (no), I reached my goal and probably learned valuable life lessons along the way. I didn’t have the foresight to keep a ranked list of my favorite “Goosebumps” back then, but life is too short for regrets, so I’ll just do my best to channel my elementary school self and offer my 10 favorites from the 62-volume OG collection.
The insistence of ventriloquists that the dummies are real keeps this idea from ever going away.



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