By Kelly Harrass
Over the years I’ve noticed that most people’s favorite books aren’t something that they just picked up off of the shelf because it looked good. Most people have a story behind why they picked up a favorite. It was recommended or after hearing about it long enough they decided to check it out. We all have a reason for why we read what we read. This week I wanted to share with you what made me pick up my favorites.
James Patterson’s Alex Cross series: This has a bit of a long road behind it. There were a couple years where I wasn’t reading much beyond my weekly comics. It was my early teen years and I found most young adult literature to be insulting to my intelligence or just plain crappy. I was never the biggest fan of medieval fantasy (other than Lord of the Rings and really I just read that so I could say that I finished it) and I wasn’t left with much left to read. One day when I was at the library in my school I went to sit at my usual table. Sitting at the table was a copy of Maximum Ride by James Patterson. I picked it up and it ended up to be a pretty good book about a group of kids who had bird DNA combined with theirs. I finished the book and I wanted to read more by Patterson. This led me to pick up a copy of his book Cross at a flea market. From there I was hooked on this series.
Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard: In late 2009 I discovered the films of Quentin Tarantino. When I found out what an influence Elmore Leonard was on the writing of Tarantino I added his name to the list I kept in my head of things to look for when I paid a visit to Half Price Books. The next time I made a trip over there I picked up a copy of Get Shorty in their clearance section. That’s the only good thing that I’ve ever grabbed out of their clearance section.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess: I’ve been a pro wrestling fan since birth and one of my favorite wrestlers was a guy that goes by the name of Raven. He takes his name from the famous Edgar Allen Poe story and is quite a bit of a comic fan, many times wearing comic shirts to the ring and even writing as issue of Spider-Man’s Tangled Web. More than once Raven made mention of A Clockwork Orange, even going so far as to create a Clockwork Orange House of Fun stipulation match. When I found out that A Clockwork Orange was a book I had to read it. Eventually I tracked it down in my high school library and was blown away by it.
Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski: I read some of Swierczynski’s comics before I read any of his novels. Because of those that, just like with Elmore Leonard, he was added to the list of things to look for. One day when I was giving up on finding anything that I was looking for at the used book store I remembered I should look for something by that guy whose name is hard to say. Severance Package was sitting on the shelf and it turned out to be pretty damn good.
The Parker series by Richard Stark: Like with Severance Package, I was lead here by the comic series Criminal. In the first issue of Criminal that I picked up the article in the back of the issue was an interview with Darwyn Cooke; the man who was adapting some of the books in the Parker series into graphic novels. The more that I heard about the series and Stark’s influence on crime fiction, the more that I knew I had to check these books out. After much searching at book stores, I finally had to buy The Hunter, the first book in the series, on Amazon. I now see why these books are regarded as such classics.
You know how I found out about my favorite books and now I want to know how you found out about your favorites. Use the comment section to tell me about it. Let’s get a discussion going! BOOKS!