Is there any better feeling than falling in love? Especially for the first time? Especially when you are young and full of enthusiasm? Before the dreaded protective ice of age and irony and skepticism and, yes, experience has formed around you?
You never forget your first love.
And what is better than being young and falling in love . . . with a great book? A book that seems to speak to your very soul, a book that you carry around in your backpack to share with your friends, a book that is destined to become an integral part of who you are and of how you see the world. Falling in love with a book is a lot like falling in love with a person, maybe better in some ways.
And there is something extra-special about the books that we fall in love with in our formative years–high school, college, young adulthood.
So, in essence this blog will be a love story. It will focus on my own formative literary experiences as well as those of other baby boomers who came of age in roughly the same era (the baby boom generation generally encompasses those born between 1946-1964). I’ve emailed and spoken with dozens of baby boomers about their first literary loves–the books they kept in their lockers in high school, the books they carried in their backpacks in college, the books they had on their shelves with they went off to grad school or landed their first real jobs.
I’ll be discussing the first time we encountered some of the books that will forever be stitched into the fabric of our lives. Books such as On the Road, The Catcher in the Rye, East of Eden, Slaughterhouse-Five, To Kill a Mockingbird, Goodby Columbus and many more.
While some of the books have remained strong sellers and are widely read, others have fallen by the wayside. I’ll also be blogging about some of these cultural artifacts as well: Soul on Ice, Love Story, Steppenwolf, and, yes, even, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Why did we love them then? Could we love them again? Are they even still worth a look?
So each week or so I’ll be blogging about books from the Fifties, Sixties, or Seventies–what is was like to read them then and how these books look to us 30 or 40 years down the road.
There won’t be any rigid format. I hope the discussions will be lively, fun, occasionally touching, sometimes controversial (hint: it is my firm belief that Catcher in the Rye is the most overrated book of our generation).
Please make sure to give me any feedback you have. Would love to get other perspectives on your formative literary loves.