When did it start for you? I was fifteen. Home from school, sick with the flu. I suppose it was one of those late-illness recovery days where I was still too sick to leave the house but well enough to be bored silly. This was 1977. No internet, no DVDs or VCR, no video games. Game shows and soaps were the only screen options during the day. A deck of cards was good for a couple of hands of solitaire, a small distraction.
During her lunch break, my mother popped away from work and bought me a book at the Grand Union—Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson. I was not a reader. During summer breaks, my father required my brothers and me to read three books. Did I do this? I can’t remember reading any books as a kid except a giant coffee-table book with the origin-stories of all the DC comic book characters. My father only counted that book because there were a few pages of pseudo-analysis introducing each character.
Maybe fifteen was the age to get hooked. Maybe Lord Foul’s Bane was simply that awesome. I don’t know, I tried to read it twice over the past twenty years to understand the appeal to fifteen-year-old me, but I couldn’t get into it either time. But in 1977, magic. It’s hardcore fantasy. A modern-day man repeatedly finds himself transported into an ancient world to do battle with a villainous wizard (at least that’s how I remember it now). Engaging stuff for a fanciful teen.
I moved directly into Tolkien, the two Donaldson sequels, something about the Bermuda Triangle, a few books by an up-and-coming author named Stephen King. Nonstop, book after book… ever after. I was hooked. I was a reader. And I’ve been one now for forty-five years. I think there’s a book for everyone. A match—like a soul mate—to snare an unsuspecting nonreader and draw them into this special world. Leave me a comment. Tell me about yours. What book was your entry into the world of reading?