The First Book I Fell For


The Guardian is asking for its writers to share the stories of books that ignited their passion for literature.

I have always been a reader. I can remember curling up with The Cat in the Hat even before I could really read it, just wishing I could read it on my own. I can remember turning to books as a child whenever I wanted to learn more about something—whether it was dinosaurs or ancient Egypt. I can remember going to the library and the bookstore with my mother, and I can’t remember a single time she didn’t let me buy a book from the store. She let me read what I wanted, too. I can remember curling up with Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary, Lois Duncan and Madeleine L’Engle. If I had to pick one book that ignited my own passion for literature, it would be To Kill a Mockingbird.

 To Kill a Mocking Girl

I read this novel in my junior year as part of my American literature course. I had read other books I loved, but this book touched me so deeply. I knew the characters. They were like my family. I cried through most of the end. I can still remember being ahead of the reading schedule for the first time. I can remember reading a required book on my own time, and more than I needed to read for an assignment. I remember looking forward to classes when Mrs. Keener let us read quietly for the period. Any time I was able to spend with that book was precious time. I have had some amazing experiences teaching it since then, too. I have read other books afterward that have touched me every bit as deeply, and perhaps even more deeply, but this book was the first. It might be the book that made me decide to teach English.

What book ignited your passion for literature?

Update, 9/24/10: Audible is getting into the act with their “First Loves.” Check it out!

photo credit: Bruna Ferrara


8 thoughts on “The First Book I Fell For

    1. It is hard to choose one! There are so many I read as a child that had a profound impact on me. I remember having so much trouble finding Superfudge in the library because all my classmates were checking it out after Mrs. Elliott read it to us. Lots of those books I read have stayed with me all that time, but To Kill a Mockingbird was something different.

  1. I remember distinctly the first book I fell in love with because I would check it out every other week when we'd go to the library in the summer. I do not remember the name of it (to my dismay), but I do remember that it was about all of these animals that lived in an apartment building, and all of them were unhappy with their current location. They changed apartments several times until they found their ideal location. As you can guess, that location turned out to be their original one. It was an oversized book, and I loved it. I wish I could remember what it was called so that I could look for a copy, but I was very small at the time.

    1. I know the book you're talking about! I read it, too, but like you, I can't recall the name. The idea is to sort of be happy with yourself the way you are, I think. Maybe someone will come along and will know the title.

      1. I remember thinking later that the animals (if I remember them correctly) looked like Richard Scary's animals. Does that sound right to you?

  2. I bet a lot of people say this, but for me it was definitely, inarguably, C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. My mother started reading them to my sister and me when I was three years old, and one of my only memories from tothood that doesn't revolve around food is of lying on my mother's bed wishing it were bedtime so she would read more from Prince Caspian.

    1. Oh, yes. I remember reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I didn't read much of the series until I was in college, and I must admit I never finished it. I need to.

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