Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cover to Cover -- Eve

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!

- Eve


Anonymous said...

Cheers to recovering reluctant readers!

I agree with you on Thirteen Reasons and Holes, too.


Disco Mermaids said...

I still have horrible reading comprehension. I just have trouble staying focused. And that leads to reading the same pages over and over, which gets annoying.

So finding that rare book which forces me to stay focused is a wonderful treat.

- Jay

P.S. Really? You liked my book!?!? Are you sure it's not just cuz you're on the acknowledgements page?

Disco Mermaids said...

I'm on the acknowledgments page? Dang, that's a hard word to spell.

Thanks, Penny. Recovering Reluctant Readers with Poor Comprehension Skills unite!

Jay, it's funny that we slow readers somehow became writers. How's that for a conference session?

"My Journey From Poor Reader To NYTBS Author!"


Yee-Lum said...

Wow. I've read... three of those. Thirteen Reasons Why tops my list, but that's just me. =] -runs off to library-

I'm the exact opposite. I devour books. The result is that I develop a really really REALLY long list of books I love. But I have this need to keep all my favorite books. Libraries are great, but I want those books on MY bookshelf.

Due to my lack of a job, I also have an obvious lack of funds. Which means I have a sadly incomplete bookshelf.

My English teachers always get mad at me because I've finished the book by the time the cheesy read-along tape has gotten to about chapter six. All together, Eve, I think you're better off. =]

Disco Mermaids said...

Yee-Lum, I've always envied those of you out there who can inhale books so quickly. I feel like I'm missing out on so much...so many books, so little time on the planet.

Funny..."cheesy read-along tape"...I remember those! I had a tough time listening and reading at the same time, though. My little brain can't do all those things at once.


Becky Levine said...

Eve, you say "admit," like being a reluctant reader who became a writer is a bad thing. Actually, I think it's impressive and inspiring. Easy for me, who's never wanted anything else but to pick up a book and go away, to turn it around and play with putting my own books on the page. For you, to remember how hard this was and to want to produce books for kids today who are going through this--well, kudos to you. I'm guessing your book will be the one on THEIR list.

Paige Keiser said...

Wow do I relate to this. Bravo, nicely written. And I agree about Forever and Lord of The Flies. The others I haven't read but plan to (including Thirteen Reasons!)

I'd like to add the entire Harry Potter series to that list. One of the rare times where instead of consciously reading words, I was watching a story unfold like a smoothly running film.