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Author Archive: "Powell's Readers"

First Loves, Part Six: Real Stories about Falling in Love with Reading

Ask a Book BuyerFor this special Valentine's Day series, we asked our readers to tell us about the first book that stole their heart. Here are some of our favorite stories. They range from joyful to wistful, hilarious to poignant — but each demonstrates the ineffable experience of falling in love with a book, an author, or a fictional character.

The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle

During my first stint as a library volunteer, I was asked by the librarian to read three nominated books and participate in the ALA voting for that year. I don't remember the two other titles, but the book that won my vote and my heart was The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle.

I read this book three times that month before realizing that I had to have a copy for myself. I was in seventh grade but grew up in a financially disadvantaged family and never purchased a book of my own. As my mother would say, "Why waste money when you can read any book you want ...


First Loves, Part Five: Real Stories about Falling in Love with Reading

Ask a Book BuyerFor this special Valentine's Day series, we asked our readers to tell us about the first book that stole their heart. Here are some of our favorite stories. They range from joyful to wistful, hilarious to poignant — but each demonstrates the ineffable experience of falling in love with a book, an author, or a fictional character. Check back tomorrow for more tales of bookish love.

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

If my mother is to be believed, I read at a precociously early age, and I cherish memories of the look, feel, and even smell of the Beacon Early Readers (this was England in the late 1940s). I leapt from them into Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series, which I also loved and read over and over. But my big book moment, the life-changer, came when I was seven and my parents let me listen, in bed on Sunday evenings, to the BBC serialization of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. I was enraptured with Bathsheba and Gabriel. I wanted this story with ...


First Loves, Part Four: Real Stories about Falling in Love with Reading

Ask a Book BuyerFor this special Valentine's Day series, we asked our readers to tell us about the first book that stole their heart. Here are some of our favorite stories. They range from joyful to wistful, hilarious to poignant — but each demonstrates the ineffable experience of falling in love with a book, an author, or a fictional character. Check back tomorrow for more tales of bookish love.

Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

When I was about 7, our school librarian read Finn Family Moomintroll to our class. I absolutely fell in love with the Moomins. I borrowed the book from the library, but when the time came to return it, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I wanted to have that book forever. So I did what any panicked 7-year-old would do. I hid it under my bed.

My mum found the book months later when it was well overdue and asked me why I hadn't returned it. I burst into tears and told her I stole the book because I loved the story and I wanted to ...


First Loves, Part Three: Real Stories about Falling in Love with Reading

Ask a Book BuyerFor this special Valentine's Day series, we asked our readers to tell us about the first book that stole their heart. Here are some of our favorite stories. They range from joyful to wistful, hilarious to poignant — but each demonstrates the ineffable experience of falling in love with a book, an author, or a fictional character.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I was 14 and hopelessly shy. I kept to myself a lot and had a hard time navigating many of the awkward social situations middle schools are so often plagued with, and I spent most of my free time reading. Up to that point in my life, reading had served as an escape, a welcome fantasy into which I could sink and disappear from the outside world. I hadn't yet found a book that really challenged the way I thought about the world or how I saw myself. That all changed with Jane Eyre.

I'd never really read what you might call a "classic" before, but I nevertheless became immediately attached to Jane's voice and her struggle to ...


First Loves, Part Two: Real Stories about Falling in Love with Reading

Ask a Book BuyerFor this special Valentine's Day series, we asked our readers to tell us about the first book that stole their heart. Here are some of our favorite stories. They range from joyful to wistful, hilarious to poignant — but each demonstrates the ineffable experience of falling in love with a book, an author, or a fictional character.

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

It was my birthday in August 1949 in Germany. My mother and her sisters with all their children (all men at the frontline) were traveling from invaded East Germany to the west. Even though the war had ended in 1945, we were still poor and without any support. I don't know where she got it from and how, but my mother gave me my first book: The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. I carried this book everywhere and read it again and again. I was only seven years old but my reading improved with every page — I could not stop. After that I always had a book in my hand.

My second ...


First Loves, Part One: Real Stories about Falling in Love with Reading

Ask a Book BuyerFor this special Valentine's Day series, we asked our readers to tell us about the first book that stole their heart. Here are some of our favorite stories. They range from joyful to wistful, hilarious to poignant — but each demonstrates the ineffable experience of falling in love with a book, an author, or a fictional character.

Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour

When I was 8 and my brother 5, my father worked as a fire watchman in the coastal mountains near Tillamook. We spent an entire summer in the remote logging camps with only nature, each other, and books to keep us entertained. Every night after dinner made on an open fire, a quick washup in a stream, and a game of gin rummy, my father would tuck my brother and me into the double bed of our camper and read us a chapter from Last of the Breed by Louis L'Amour. I loved the cadence of my father's voice, the sound of silence except for the crackling fire and my brother's breathing. Even though I didn't understand very much of the overall plot, I can still see, 20-plus years later, the vision in my head of the spy in the snow trying to escape with his life. During the day we would try to use his tracking skills to find animals near the camp or set up traps and ambush each other.

This is one of my favorite memories of my father and the book that started my lifelong love affair with the written word.
Sarah W.


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