How It All Began (For Me, In Earnest)

How It All Began (For Me, In Earnest)

A list by Doug, Branch Manager

I read a lot as a kid. A. Lot. I would finish a book and pick up the next right away (I remember reading many "The Baby-Sitters Club" books this way, I'm a bit embarassed to admit). Sure, I liked the books in junior high and high school, liked them very much, in fact (I named my son Holden, fer crissakes!).

It wasn't until Junior AP English when books (I'll go ahead and say literature), struck me as an essential source for insight and instruction, truth and beauty, and a powerful potential for shared experience. We read a bunch of books that year, and I loved every one (except the one I didn't read, shhhh). So, thanks Mr. Brown and Mr. Wright.

If you visit the library with a school-assigned reading list of the classics, I would be happy, thrilled, eager to go over it with you.


The first book of the year, and the one I didn't read. To this day, I feel I should be walking around wearing my own scarlet letter for the oversight.

Definitely in the running for my absolute favorite book, despite close competition. Delve deeper with Maureen Corrigan's "So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came To Be and Why It Endures," which is also very good.

A little long, this one, but I remember enjoying reading it, though I prefer his first novel, "The Sun Also Rises," as well as "In Our Time."

I remember this book having a profound impact on me and can still readily recall the dining scene where the nameless protagonist silently shreds his napkin into tiny pieces, an amazingly telling detail.

Anyone care to discuss planned obsolescence? Or the trials of the working class and the resultant stress on families? Or how classics are usually classics for a reason? Or about how I should maybe get off my soapbox?

Another contender for my favorite book, for different reasons, including the amazing characterization, especially the anti-hero, McMurphy, and the conception of the "Combine." The Milos Forman film is also excellent and among my favorite movies.

The wit and wisdom of Twain in playful yet daring language shows, along with books like "Alice In Wonderland" and "The Wizard of Oz," the potential depth to be found in kids' books (see picturebook list for additional suggestions).

Technically, I read this book my first year in college, but I had to include my third contender, and most likely triumphant victor, for favorite book. Look for "Why Read Moby-Dick" by Nathaniel Philbrick as well.