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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More Author Insight: Memorable Reads

What is the first book you remember reading? Why was it memorable?

"A version of Jack and the Beanstalk. I was about three years old, and I remember reading it because my father promised me a toy if I finished it. That's how my parents got me to read at first - through bribery. It worked." - Aimee Carter, author of The Goddess Test

"What I remember as early and most formative was a paperback book of ghost stories. I still have that tattered book to this day, and now I have a career in telling ghost stories." - Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Darker Still and  The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess.

"One of the earliest books I remember reading on my own was The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown. I enjoyed stories about families who lived in cozy litttle homes, and I was quite enchanted by Garth Williams' illustrations, particularly the one in which the fur child finds a tiny fur person. In fact, quite a few of the books I loved as a child were illustrated by Garth Williams -- when I think about my love for Russell Hoban's Frances the Badger and all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, it feels like I grew up surrounded by Williams' sketches! " - Sonia Gensler, author of The Revenant

"I grew up in a home without books, except for two reference works. The Bible and TV Guide.  I used to get confused and thought for quite some time that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were the first names of My Three Sons. Charlotte’s Web is the first non-reference book I recall and that was read to me.  By a teacher, of course.  I still love her for that." - Randy Russell, author of Dead Rules. 

"I read a lot as a kid, but I remember the first time I read V.C. Andrews. The book was My Sweet Audrina and I was hooked on her stuff after that because I found it absolutely thrilling." - Suzanne Young, author of A Need So Beautiful.

"Where the Red Fern Grows. I read it when I was six. I still get teary-eyed thinking of Little Ann and Old Dan." - Miranda Kenneally, author of Score

"I'm pretty sure it was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Why was it memorable? It's Dr. Seuss! Dude had a serious way with rhythm and rhyme. His books are so simple and so genius at the same time. They are full of playfulness and glee." - Lesley Livingston, author of Tempestuous

"The first book I remember reading was Pippi Longstocking. I thought that it was so cool that Pippi lived by herself, didn’t go to school, and did all sorts of dangerous things. The idea of a child having complete control over her life totally mesmerized me. (And oh, how I wanted to be her!)" - Amy Plum, author of Die for Me

"To myself? The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. (I’m sure there were others before that, but that’s the one I remember.) I loved everything about the world J.R.R. Tolkien created. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live where elves were as hot as Orlando Bloom? Oh, yeah…that was Lord of the Rings. But you know what I mean. J.R.R. Tolkien brought Middle Earth to life." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Original Sin

"Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. This one absolutely stuck out as the first "real" book I read. It was so real, so personal. I still have it and masking tape is still holding the spine together!"   - Jennifer Murgia, author of Lemniscate.

"Doctor Dan the Band-Aid Man—memorable because it had a little pouch attached to the inside back cover with real Band-Aids in it. I put them all over my face, and some on my big stuffed dog, Stuffy. I was four and already a voracious reader. I took on War and Peace next and it was memorable, too, though Stuffy didn’t like it much. That Napoleon—he was just so smug." - Steve Watkins, author of What Comes After

"I read all the time when I was a kid, but the first book that is really and truly memorable me was A Wrinkle in Time.  My grade six teacher read it to us as a class and each week we’d have assignments based on what we’d read.  I was so caught up in the story and the anticipation of learning what would happen next.  It consumed me and I was in love with the characters and the adventure. It really brought the book to life and already a voracious reader; I felt such a deep connection with the book." - Janet Gurtler, author of I'm Not Her

Come back Tuesday to find out how the authors would describe their book to a passing stranger in 30 seconds or less!


  1. Lots of great authors this time! It's interesting to see what they all read and compare that to what they write now. Oh and I LOVE Janet Gurtler's pick! :)

  2. I think the only books I even really had in my house were The Bible and the TV Guide as well! :)

  3. I'm not sure if you're asking readers to comment on a memorable first book but here goes.

    I loved the original 'Sweet Valley High' series. Terrible, cliched exposition of characters, highly-stereotyped dynamics and events, far too much melodrama and incredibly unrealistic portraits of what the high school experience would be like. But as an 11-year-old who would have given anything for a twin sister, I gobbled them up by the shelf.