What was the first book you ever read? Don’t remember? Neither do I.

This is probably because it was some random easy reader from an elementary school cupboard: really exciting at the time but not fundamentally life changing.

What was the first book you ever loved? That question might be easier to answer, but it’s still a tough one. Are we talking picture books or chapter books? Read to us or read on our own? Was it Amelia Bedelia or Redwall?   Like I said, it’s a tough question.

However, for me, it’s easy to pinpoint the book that launched me into a love of literature much deeper than my previously passive enjoyment of reading: The book was THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN and the year was 2007.

This assigned high school reading was, admittedly, poorly taught; however, I’ll never forget my wonder when I realized that not only does Jim’s dialogue sound dramatically different than Huck’s when read aloud, but Twain wrote it that way on purpose!

As time went on and I was assigned to read the book twice more in my studies, I did exactly what Twain tells his readers never to do—found a deeper meaning. I got to relive this simply powerful presentation of growing up and understanding the world, experience the very human confusion that surfaces when practicality collides with belief, and wander in and out of the beautiful southern landscape. I discovered the joy of connecting with a text and allowing it to shape my perspective.

The wonderful time spent with Huck and Jim on the river acted as a gateway into further literary criticism and, eventually, two university degrees.

My story might not sound even remotely like your story, but book lovers are book lovers for a reason. So take a minute to consider how your own literary journey has been impacted by great written works.


by Mark Twain






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