Poor Scholars remembers Goosebumps


I think that it is safe to assume that the youth of America no longer reads. While technically they are reading tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram captions, they aren’t reading books anymore. Our society is changing and it is never more evident than when looking at the habits of today’s generation of kids.

We at Poor Scholars find are upset as many of our staff members grew up in the ’90s; A time when reading was common. You weren’t cool unless you had the latest book in the Goosebumps series and we at Poor Scholars feel as though we don’t talk about literature enough and that we have entered the wrong temple room. With that in mind we decided to ask a few of our staff members about their favorite books from the Goosebumps series. After all, most of us would be completely illeterate if it weren’t for R.L. Stine.

Alex Russell

I’m tempted to say my favorite Goosebumps book at this point in my life is the 4,084 word Wikipedia article on Goosebumps, because whoever made that what it is today is a beautifully silly person. It’s been a while since I’ve cracked Say Cheese and Die or It Came From Beneath the Sink! because the Scholastic catalog doesn’t come to my door anymore (oversight on my part) but I seem to remember the Deep Water books being really scary to the shorter version of me. Everyone I knew as a kid loved these things, but now that I see he went to Ohio State, I personally blame him for this.

Max Robson

Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes: Kidnapped gnomes sold into slavery… of course they’re going to wreak havoc in your neighbor’s yard! I enjoyed a few other Goosebumps books, however, I was more on an Animorphs n3rd.

Raj Nation

Egg Monsters From Mars. Although I remember nothing about this book, I remember being thoroughly grossed out by the cover.

Rambo Nomolos

There was a time not too long ago when life was much simpler. The economy wasn’t in the tank. The housing market hadn’t yet crashed. Perhaps most importantly, Will Smith was still The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. We have now come to fondly remember these times as the ’90s.

Growing up as a kid in the ’90s we were gifted with the magnificence of Zubaz pants and Starter jackets. We all dreamed of one day being catapulted into stardom after walking away with a gold medal and a piece of the Aggro Crag. And we all decided it was cool to start reading because some old dude named R.L. Stine created one of the greatest fictional book series of all time: Goosebumps.

We all know the debt of gratitude the Scholastic Book Club owes R.L. Stine for creating Goosebumps. During the early ’90s he single handedly made it relevant. Every classmate I knew bought books from it, namely every single Goodebumps that came out. If it weren’t for Goosebumps and the awesome posters you could buy at the book fairs, I’m not sure that Scholastic would still be operating.

During my formative years in grade school, I was what many people would consider a distraction to the other kids (if I was growing up now doctors would have me on the highest strength adderall you could be on). When I was in the fourth grade, I was so disruptive that my teacher put a “red light, yellow light, green light” stoplight on my desk to monitor my behavior. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this is, this was something the teachers used for first graders to keep them in line. If I reached the red light on any single day, I would have to write a note home to my parents. My best friend and I were the only two kids in our whole grade school, not in the first grade that had a stoplight on our desks. I wrote a lot of notes home that year.

I bring this up because the one thing that could calm me down – besides Calvin and Hobbes or running around so much I tired myself out – was Goosebumps. Admittedly, while I have read every single book from the original series I do not remember many of the books. The book that sticks with me most clearly and stands as my favorite in the series is The Haunted Mask. This could be because when they made the television series, this was one of the first episodes (you can thank me later) or it could be the fact that it gave me nightmares for at least an entire year. Regardless of what it was, it remains my favorite book of the series and one I will never forget.

Scott Phillips

One Day at HorrorLand will always stick out to me because it was the first Goosebumps book I ever got my hands on. The covers of the books were always the coolest part, but I remember how much fun it was to talk about the different Goosebumps books and to trade them with my friends. Thanks for making reading cool, R.L. Stine.

Brian Godar

Oh, how I loved Goosebumps. Like most of you ‘90s kids, I owned every book in the series. Heck, I even had those “Choose You Own Adventure” Goosebumps books (always keeping my finger on the last page I was at, because there’s nothing like being taught the life lesson that cheating pays off from an early age). Of course I also loved the TV series when it came out. As such, my favorite book was Werewolf Skin, the third-to-last book in the series. The book was of average scariness for a Goosebumps book, but it was brought to another level when it was made into an episode of the show. That episode was probably the scariest of the entire series. It was a two part episode, which meant it could spend more time building suspense and fear. Well, as much fear as any show rated “too spooky for children under seven” can be. The werewolves attacking the kid’s window at the end of the first episode/beginning of the second was pretty scary at that age, and the twist ending where his friend turns out to be another werewolf, combined with me living in the woods rural Michigan at the time, kept me indoors after dark for a while.

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