Hello, friends and readers! My name is Alison and I am the spring Corporate Communications Intern. When I started reading as a young tot, I would pick up a book, read a chapter or two and put it back on the shelf for another day. Of course that day never came, but in retrospect I’m glad it didn’t because that’s how I became a picky reader —a proud picky reader. In high school, my hunger for reading heightened. I paid attention to every little detail. I underlined sentences or words that I found particularly striking. I wrote little notes in the margins. I flaunted the ten-dollar-words I had learned in casual conversations, and, in all honesty, I still do. As I finished up my last semester of high school, I was already set on what I wanted to become, it was the only thing I felt qualified doing. I was meant to be a writer. That being said, here are the five books that shaped me as a reader today:
- Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park– I was seven years old when I met Junie B. Jones. I wasn’t very outspoken in my elementary school days, which made it a little difficult to fit in. I faced the same challenges as the protagonist Junie did when it came to fitting in. My favorite book from the series was Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed. After reading that book, I was utterly convinced that I had a monster under my bed. I ran to my mom and wailed, “I have a monster under my bed and I MEAN IT.”
- Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez– My sophomore year in high school was when I thought I was a bona fide book critic. If that was actually the case, this book would receive five stars —and then some. I was automatically captivated by just the Introduction. At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about reading a book that was nonlinear. What if I got lost? Well, I didn’t. I was entranced as I traced the mystery of Santiago Nasar’s unexplained death. To this day, I am truly convinced that Chronicle of a Death Foretold is one of the most compelling mysteries in modern literature.
- Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney– This is a book written in the second person. As an aspiring writer, writing a book with the kind of prose McInerney uses is no easy feat. The protagonist is monitoring his unhealthy lifestyle. As a friend of mine used to say, he gets lost in the New York City pattern. I mean, the first sentence of the book speaks for itself, “You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy."
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Closeby Jonathan Safran Foer – A friend and I were sitting in our favorite local Park Slope coffee shop reading Safran Foer’s second novel. We were being extremely loud as we discussed what stood out to us in this eye-opening book following the 9/11 attack, but little did we know how incredibly close we were sitting to Jonathan Safran Foer. We were two tables away! Safran Foer, a Park Slope native, was hiding behind his computer in the back of the Cocoa Bar. I had so many questions. I wanted to know why the nine-year-old protagonist, Oskar Schell, spent most of his time inventing. I wanted to know why Oskar’s name was spelled with a “k” instead of a “c.” But before I could muster up the courage to go speak to him, he was gone.
- The White Album by Joan Didion – I was never a fan of nonfiction until I was introduced to the brilliant literary genius that is Joan Didion. I idolize Joan Didion. If I had the chance to switch places with anyone on this Earth, it would be her. I picked up Didion’s The White Album as a 20-year-old free-spirited college student. Didion’s account of 1960s counterculture is mind-blowing; she had a peculiar infatuation with the ‘60s, so that was the primary theme in The White Album. Didion’s writing is effortless and fluid. I truly felt like I was there at a Black Panthers gathering, the recording studio with The Doors and the Reagans’ summer home. She is just that phenomenal.