A couple nights ago, I was hanging out in the coffee shop at my local bookstore, typing away on my current project, when a mom sat down with her young son and a bag full of just-purchased books. The son begged his mom to let him read one he'd just picked. Though I pretended to continue working, I couldn't help but listen in as the boy read the book to his mom. For me, that book was a milestone: When I was in kindergarten, that book--Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish--became the first book I ever purchased on my own. I still have that copy.
Listening to him read made me think about other "milestone" books. For instance, I'll never forget the first mystery I enjoyed so much I immediately re-read it: Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Or the first romance novel that made me say, "Wow!"and want to write romance. That'd be Julie Garwood's The Bride.
Then there was the first book that made me think, "Does my mother REALLY know what's in this?" even though she let me borrow it from her when I was thirteen: Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear.
Another milestone was the first book specifically for teens that I read as an adult, one that made me (no, I'm not kidding) choke on coffee I was laughing so hard. Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging was also the first book that made me think I'd enjoy writing books for teens (even though my writing style's completely different from Rennison's.) It reminded me how irreverent a character can be.
What about you? What books pop into your mind as "milestone" books? What was it about them that made them so memorable?