This was the series I voraciously read up until I entered high school before comics took over my world. Apparently, the Choose Your Own Adventure books kept going until 1998. My brother had first bought The Cave of Time and The Abominable Snowman. I got hooked, and found myself saving my allowance to get more of them. We collected most of the first 45 books in the series.
(It was during one of those sojourns to the bookstore in Ali Mall where I was held up, as I mentioned in my "Stolen" post below.)
I guess this series catalyzed my interest in role-playing and storytelling. You start reading the tale, choose where to go, and end with any of over 20 possible endings. I found a lot of magic in that.
This series is special to me because of two things. First, I totally admired the art style of Ralph Reese, who illustrated Prisoner of the Ant People and Escape, and a number of covers. Come to think of it, I remember lazy afternoons when I would copy his work.
Secondly, I had a series of snail mail exchanges with author Edward Packard. I'd write in long hand, and he'd respond with a crisp piece of bond paper and clean lines courtesy of an electronic typewriter. That he would find the time to write a young fan in the Philippines was totally flattering and inspiring.
I found out that there's the DVD version of The Abominable Snowman, which sparked this blog entry. Somehow a digital version doesn't sit well with me, since it deprives one the joy of imagining events as they unfold, or the pleasure of toting the book and taking it wherever. But maybe its just pride in nostalgia. It might have been easier for me to swallow if they didn't call it Choose Your Own Adventure.