True story: When I was in fifth grade, I got sent to the principal’s office after my teacher spotted me hunched over a copy of Flowers in the Attic. My mother had to come pick me up and answer rapid-fire questions, including, “Are you aware of the material your daughter’s reading?” (she was) and whether I understood what was going on in the book (mostly). It’s since become a family joke, but—to be fair—I now understand how any teacher could have been a wee bit appalled, given the book’s content.
Still, I absolutely loved getting lost in the creepy world that book painted, and credit it largely for turning me into a real-deal reader—one that freaked out when a new installment of a series came out, one that learned to see reading the books assigned to me in school as a treat, one that loves postmodern fiction as an adult and reads everything Jonathan Franzen and, as of now, Garth Risk Hallberg writes.
Since today is National Reading Day, I decided to ask my colleagues—all of whom like to read, and often share recommendations with me—about the book or books that they couldn’t get enough of as a kid.
Read on for our picks, from a literary classic to a quirky picture book.