For this Weekly Geek installment, I'm asking you to think back to the moment when you realized "I am a reader!" The moment you felt that desire to read everything! The moment you knew you were different than most of those around you and that this reading thing was for real.
- Tell us what book you were reading when that moment occurred.
I've had the realization that I was a "reader" a few times in my life - I mean, when I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school for Italian Literature, and devote my entire life to literature, I think that was a pretty good moment. But the pivotal moment in my life, when I started reading avidly, happened much earlier. You could argue it was in elementary schoool, but that's a little difficult to define. In high school, in the middle of my World Literature Junior English class, when we read Night by Elie Wiesel, I knew that something was starting to fall into place. He was the first person who, after reading the book, I was inspired to see him in person (I even took my English teacher), and I've continued to be somewhat preoccupied with the specific challenges of Holocaust Literature to this day. However, during my Senior Year, I started really reading things that weren't just assigned. The first book in this series was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.
- Review the book. (You can even re-read it if you'd like and actually have time.)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an entertaining, honest and insightful coming-of-age novel about a teen boy, Charlie, who is neither the complete outcast nor the most popular boy in school. He lives a relatively typical high school lifestyle, but he also has a friend who recently committed suicide, adding to his struggles. He survives his first year through the help of his two friends, Samantha and Patrick, and manages to make it through the year.
I honestly don't remember too much else about the book, but I remember that I loved it and that it really made me want to read more and more.
- If you can't pin it down to one book, what other books define this moment in your life?
There was a whole string of books that I read during this time period, but I can't recall the names of most of them. I remember House of the Spirits, The Fuck-Up, A Regular Guy, Confederacy of Dunces, and Night (which I read again and again).
- What is it about those books that caused you to feel this way?
The thing that I loved about the books was that I started to feel a connection to reading - the characters, their stories, and the effect that they could have on people. I think that it was here that I started to understand why reading is so important to history - even though none of the books I was reading were the books that would change History, they were the kinds of books that were important to personal histories.