– Middle school: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. When I was young (and still now) I was obsessed with the 1994 film version of Little Women (starring Winona Ryder). I got it at least once a month from the video store. In 5th grade, I saw that they had this book in our school library. So of course I got it. The thing was a brick, bigger than anything I’d ever read at the age of 10. But I was DETERMINED. It took me several weeks of independent reading, including getting cut off by my teacher when I had THREE PAGES left to read (my classmates were cheering me on at that point). But I did it. And I felt like such an adult…I’d finished a HUGE book!
– High school: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I became interested in this book like I do so many others: I saw the movie trailer and decided I wanted to know what happened before the movie came out. They had it at my high school library. It was a dense book, a high reading level and intense. But I pushed through and read this book that was so unlike anything I’d ever read. My first real adult book.
– Adulthood: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. After I saw Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway, I knew I had to read this book. I had fallen in love with the story and characters. Of course, War and Peace is the book everyone jokes about when they talk about big books. It was over 1000 pages long. Everyone made fun of me for trying to read it, but I did it. And I feel so accomplished now.