Geez, novel? Perhaps A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. If that counts. Fifth or sixth grade? Maybe something before that, but it's unlikely.
Back to Camus. He's my second favorite writer after Buk. Very different, of course, but at least Buk didn't hate him. Had some sideways compliments for him in poems I've read. Not that it matters much.
Edit: Well of course; I read Jules Verne's 80 Days Around the World and H.G. Wells' The Time Machine and a few others in about third grade. Perhaps Treasure Island?
Hell, I don't remember what I read last week, let alone back in 1972.
I've just been shelving books in our new home, and some of those old paperbacks were among them. Hmmm...gonna have to look more closely. Just because I read it when I was 8 or 9 years old doesn't mean I shouldn't read it again.
I think the first novel I read was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn around 4th or 5th grade, but that's such a long time ago, I can't say for sure. Another really early one for me was To Kill a Mockingbird (which, come to think of it, may have been the first).
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I was about 9 or 10 and that story blew me away completely.
If we're not counting "kid's stuff" or classroom assignments, then Raise High The Roof-beam Carpenters was the first I sought out on my own. Oops - that's a twin novella. Okay, how about Stranger In A Strange Land ?
Okay, I just wiki'd The Red Pony, not only does the BORING-NESS come back to me, but there is a scene in which the mother horse dies(after being cut open), while giving birth to the pony. The boy who felt bad about this was treated like shit for it (of course), Hence my dislike of the novel as an 11 year old female child. Shit, as an adult too!
You know because I had a very hard time reading, probably due to dyslexia, I never read that novel Of Mice and Men until I was 15 or 16. Bukowski and Steinbeck are very easy to read compared to almost anyone. But my fourth grade teacher read us all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. That was quite sissy to have to sit through most of the time.
Michel Tournier first wrote Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique, his own version of Robinson Crusoé's story. Then, he adapted this book for children, under the title :Vendredi ou la vie sauvage. That's the first true novel I read.
the first novel i REMEMBER reading was American Psycho....I was very young (about 9 or 10) and had quite an advanced reading age and picked it off my parents bookshelf because of the nice cover(it was the very cool first edition hardcover...which unfortunately my folks threw away when we moved house)...nevertheless I got halfway through and felt incredibly nauseous...so i stopped....and never finished it.....
I remember reading Frankenstein and being scared shitless from my 7th birthday until pretty much... 11 or 12.
After that, I read a lot of crappy kids series (being a kid) and eventually moved on to almost 8 years of bad fantasy novels (with great titles like Elvendude) and Dean Koontz. Yeah my literary life was pretty shitty until 19 when someone recommended Fante to me. After that, I recall never buying another Koontz book, buying three other Fante books, and then picking up Post Office.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a gift from my 3rd grade teacher. I cried when they "killed" Aslan, and didn't realize at the time that he was essentially Jesus in a cat costume. I read The Winter of Our Discontent not too long after that, for some reason. When I really got rolling as a reader at 11, it was a lot of Piers Anthony and Stephan King (starting with the Stand).
I remember reading a book about a small boy who was actually a small devil who came to a normal family and made a mess of everything. Kind of an ALF from hell, educational in a 'don't do that-don't do this' way. I was a child then and I can still visualize the cover, but can't remember the author and title. This must have been the first one.
Michael Ende's Neverending Story must have been next. I loved the book and read it a couple of times. Fascinating it was.
I also read some 'books-to-the-movie' (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Labyrinth), but they don't count.