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What book got you hooked?

By / August 21, 2008



Do you remember your first love – literary, that is?

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Many people do, and if you'd like to see what book it was that turned celebrities as diverse as Emma Thompson, Chipper Jones, and Art Spiegelman into readers, take a look at the First Book website. You'll discover that Spiegelman and Joyce Carole Oates both claim Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" as that first great book, while Stephen Colbert votes for "Swiss Family Robinson" by Johann David Wyss.

The site is actually cause-oriented and you can choose to make a donation to help send books to kids and you can also vote as to which state should receive a shipment of 50,000 free books for children.

I haven't voted yet but when I do it will be for "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" by Joan Aiken. Admittedly it's a less highbrow choice than J.D. Salinger's "Franny and Zooey" (Ira Glass's first great love) but it's a splendid literary romp nonetheless and in all my years of reading since I have yet to come across villains with better names than Letitia Slighcarp and Mrs. Brisket.

(And if you're still wondering about Emma Thompson and Chipper Jones, it was "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and the Hardy Boys – I leave you to guess which was which.)

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