This is the inaugural profile in our new City of Readers Q&A series. We'll be checking in periodically with Portland residents — authors, artists, athletes, and more — to learn the whys, whats, and hows of their reading habits. We couldn't be more excited to start the series with bookworm, children's book author, and Timbers goalkeeper, Jeff Attinella. — The Editor
What do you do in Portland?
I'm the goalkeeper for the Portland Timbers, and author of the It Had to Be Told
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Clearwater, Florida.
Last book you loved:
by Lauren Hillenbrand.
Describe your first memorable reading experience.
My first memorable reading experience was the book Holes
. When I was younger, I was not much of a reader and it’d be really hard for me to get into a book. When I picked up Holes
from a book fair, it was really the first time that I was excited about reading. Friends were talking about it, it was an easy read for a kid like me, and it kept me hooked from start to finish. I must have read that book 20 times when I was in school and I believe it really opened my eyes to how fun reading can be. Stanley Yelnats… what a guy!
What makes for a good book in your eyes?
I love a good nonfiction page-turner. I love learning about things and trying to live the experiences of the people I’m reading about. I have to say, recently my favorite books have been historical books about various war or military encounters. There’s something so fascinating about what goes into military decisions and what soldiers have to experience when the pressure is on. Puts the pressure of playing soccer for a living into serious perspective.
Why do you think bookstores remain so popular in the digital age?
I believe in the power of picking up a book and flipping through the pages. I think that even though so many things are easily accessible on tablets, phones, etc., there’s nothing that can compete with flipping the pages of a good book. There’s something so special about diving into the pages and getting excited to keep reading with each turn. It’s also great to collect books that you’ve read and proudly display them and you can’t do that with Kindles.
Name an author you think everyone should read, and a good book with which to start.
There’s something so peaceful and satisfying about reading a book from start to finish.
I feel like this is kind of a tacky answer, but I really enjoy Malcom Gladwell. He really challenges people’s thought processes and does so in a way that makes it enjoyable to learn. David and Goliath
is my favorite, but Outliers
is also a great starting point. Can’t really go wrong with any of his stuff in my opinion.
Do you collect any particular types of books?
I have a pretty impressive collection of sports books. I am a huge sports junkie and love learning about legends of the past or teams that have accomplished the impossible.
What do you love about Portland?
I love how relaxed the environment is in Portland. It always feels like people are nice to one another and no one is really in a big rush. I enjoy a laid-back atmosphere and for the most part my experiences have been just that.
What would you recommend to kids who are reluctant readers?
After learning a lot about the importance of reading through my own research for our children’s books, I think it’s important for kids to not give up. It’s so easy nowadays to get sidetracked by technology and the fact that we have the world constantly at our fingertips through our phones. There’s something so peaceful and satisfying about reading a book from start to finish. I encourage kids out there to really think about a topic you’d love to learn about, or a story that your friends are talking about, and not to be afraid to dive in. I remember not reading any of the Harry Potter
books when I was younger because I found the first couple of chapters boring and a little confusing and it scared me off. I can honestly say that’s a decision I still regret because I feel like I really missed out.