I have to admit something. Growing up I was a serious reluctant reader. A “High-Low” kid. A real pain in the ass of a student. Because I was smart, my teachers just assumed I had a laziness problem. But the reality is I was a very slow reader and had atrocious comprehension skills. Kid you not, I could read the same page over 8 times and still have no clue what I had read. Reading was a really strange activity for me because I loved stories, and wanted to read tons of books like all my friends and family members, but physically my brain just could not handle taking in tens of thousands of words at the normal human rate. When books were assigned in school I cringed at the sight of the thick ones because I knew I’d have to spend every spare waking moment of my adolescent life struggling to comprehend massive amounts of text. Soon it became a major chore. It’s kind of like running. I love it so much, but if I’m required to do it at a ridiculous pace, it becomes painful.
That said, there are a few books (very few) that have captured me from moment one, and never let go, no matter how long it took me to read them. Though I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly that sucks me in, I can always tell by page 2 if it will be one of those books that I HAVE to read in one sitting, cover to cover. You know, those books you cannot put down no matter how hungry/thirsty/tired or in need of a toilet you are? So I’m taking this moment and showing respect to the short list of books that have cast that spell on me over the years.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Love Story by Erich Segal
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Forever by Judy Blume
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Homeboys by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Stuck In Neutral by Terry Trueman
Holes by Louis Sachar
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser
Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (only set it down once to write this blog post!)
Luckily, after several years of college and grad school, I’ve finally learned to read and comprehend at a normal, age-appropriate level. But it still takes an incredibly riveting story to hold me still for a few hours. So, if your book made my list, bravo!