Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ask a Book Nerd - Episode 1

We're starting a new series round these parts, and for the time being we're calling it "Ask a Book Nerd."  That may change if we dream up a cooler title, but the idea behind it won't.  That idea, you may ask?  To help all you gentle readers out there get to know the personalities behind I Read a Book Once just a little better.  So here's how we're going to do that.

On the first Sunday of each month we'll take one reader-submitted question (which hopefully has something at least tangentially to do with books) and pose it to each of our contributors.  They'll answer and hopefully give you folks a little more insight to what makes their book-obsessed brains tick.

With that being said, here's this month's question:
Is there one specific book you read while growing up that you can point to as the reason you have become an avid reader? If yes, what was it? If no, what prompted you to become a reader?

And the Book Nerds Said...

Amanda Amaya - When I was 11 or 12 I read my first book by Stephen King, and I was
hooked.  I read the complete unabridged version of The Stand. I was mesmerized. The entire concept, the character development, the battle between good and evil, it all fascinated me. In the nearly 20 years since then I have always been in search of books that captivate me in the same way.  I took a hiatus from my King fest after I read It, and to this day I am cautious when walking near sewers and I hate clowns.  I finally went back to King last year read 11/22/63, and followed soon with Under the Dome. He has softened around the edges a bit, but he is still my favorite author.

Olga Godim - I can’t name a specific book or even a specific author that pushed me towards reading. It was just my nature, I suppose. I’m very shy, very unsure of myself, and I was never a party girl. Even when I was a kid, eight or nine, I preferred curling up on our sofa with a book to playing outside with other children. When I was in high school, I went to some party but didn’t enjoy any of them. Books on the other hand were always utterly enjoyable and reliable. They invariably took me to other places. They allowed me to live other lives, go on exciting adventures, dance at balls with dashing princes, none of which was available in our pretty drab real life. Pure escapism. My daydreams, which later developed into my writing, also started with books I read. I often imagined different endings for the heroes than a writer provided. It’s no surprise that I ended up writing fantasy: escapism at its best.

Natasha Post - Greetings and salutations! I’ve been an avid reader since I was an itty bitty little thing that used to tag along to my mom’s job at K-Mart.  The diner area was right next to the books, so while my mom was having lunch with her coworkers I’d be sifting through the shelves, looking at picture books and enamored with bright colors.  I was probably about six when I picked up my first Sweet Valley book.  Yes, that’s right.  Sweet Valley Kids by Francine Pascal was got me into reading.  I went through the entire series growing up from Kids, to Twins, to High, and then Sweet Valley University.  Damn you, Francine Pascal, for starting and enabling my book loving addiction!

Ryan St. Onge - My obsession with reading didn't start with one book but rather dozens of books. When I grew up, my mother's job required a one hour commute by train.  To pass the time on the train in the days before walkmans and iPhones, my mother would read. Looking back, I realize that what my mother was reading was the latest bestseller that she had picked off a rack in a supermarket or convenience store, but to impressionable seven year old eyes, she was reading the classics. The first title I distinctly remember was Pet Semetery by Stephen King (A book I have, ironically, never read). I was enthralled and mystified by the way the bookmark slowly made its way through the impossible girth of those books and I wanted desperately to find out what was in those pages, especially the ones with the scary covers.

Jessica Veter - In 1982, after listening to my brother and me scream at one another for most of a rainy day, my grandmother exiled me to one end of the sofa and Robert to the other. She pinned me under an omnibus edition of The Lord of the Rings and told me to stay put until our parents came back in a day or two. After an hour of whining, I realized Momma was not going to relent, and so I began reading the stupid book. Thanks, Momma: thanks for introducing me to the book that made me a reader, and thanks for the massive library my love of reading has built (though Paul may want to discuss my Chapters account balance with you). When I go, I will go crushed under the weight of these groaning shelves around me, all because you didn’t want Robert and me beating each other to a pulp.

Kayla West - There is definitely a book that started my interest in reading when I was growing up, and it is a book that is very near and dear to my heart: Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. I have to admit that, at first, I became bored with it pretty easily. As the years went by, however, something changed in me and the story just clicked. I was hooked from that moment on. That whole series helped me through some tough times, and I wouldn't trade any of those books for the world.  Especially not that first one.

Jonathan Wilhoit – I wish I could say that it was some sort of mind-blowing literature (perhaps of the classic variety) that cemented my life as a reader.  Alas, it was not.  See, I used to be a huge Star Wars geek, and the Star Wars expanded universe novels served as my first foray into "adult" books.  Round about the 6th grade I discovered and became head-over-heels-enamored with  The Jedi Academy Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson. Those three books were the springboard that catapulted me into yet more Star Wars novels, then to Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms fantasy, and finally into the classic literature and crime fiction I love so much.  Looking back on those books, I have to cringe at how trite and simplistic the writing was—typical of a lot of genre fiction.  But they laid the groundwork for a love of reading that would outlast my love of a galaxy far, far away.

So what about all of you out there?  Was there a specific book or event that cemented your place as a rabid, insatiable reader?  If so, tell us about it in the comments section below.

And if you'd like to submit your own question for us to answer, just fill out the form below and we just might be pontificating to the tune of your query this time next month.



  1. I have been an insatiable reader since before I could read. I had a book with record (yes, that's how old I am) of Red Riding Hood and I listened to it so many times that I wore out the record. I will read anything I can get my hands on (except the explicit stuff) - even been known to read the labels of prescription bottles if I happen to be in the house of a (gasp) non-reader.

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