When, by the time I was 14, the only literature thrown my way was Diary of Anne Frank, Romeo & Juliet, and All is Quiet on the Western Front, can you blame me for raising my nose from the pages of a gore-filled centerfold only long enough to say "No thanks!" ? Your average teen in the 80s wasn't running for the library shelves in hopeful anticipation of getting the latest world war tale or a romance set in a time completely unrelated to their own in a language that may as well have been Klingon.
There was one book that almost got me reading. In the very late 70s/early 80s there was the phenomenon known as The Amityville Horror. Jay Anson had written a book about the "true events" surrounding the Lutz family (ironic eh?) who were the residents/owners of an alleged haunted house. They were proclaiming what every imaginative teen longed to hear: Ghosts were real and were haunting houses. With the rising popularity of the Doubleday Book Club, my mother had purchased the book to sit along with the other dust collectors on the shelf. Not quite old enough to watch the movie, I took to the book. I "read" it much like one would read the bible: Searching it for tidbits. I thoroughly scanned the book for any and all frightening paragraphs reading them over and over again. I'd like to think I actually read the book but in a way one would fast forward through a movie only to watch the good parts.
Something happened in my early 20s, and I thought I wanted to be a teacher (Yeah, not sure what I was thinking). After a semester and a half, I quit school. I sucked at writing papers. You'd get ADD just reading them. I was all over the place. No wonder I didn't read. Soon after, I actually started reading books; in particular lots of Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Heck, I recall the year I started, I read Needful Things in 3-4 days. Have you seen that thing? It's a door stopper. Other than maybe It and The Stand, it's the War & Peace of horror. Quite the trophy for this new reader.
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