Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The One Day Read

The late Michael Crichton, besides being a very successful author and one of the first progenitors of the hybrid genre known as the techno-thriller, holds one other unique distinction for me. He wrote the first book I read, no--consumed, in a one day period. I believe every avid reader, early in their genesis, collided/merged/plunged into that one book (like no other before it) and could not break away till it was read to the last page.

That one novel/hardcover/paperback became for the individual their first black hole experience in readership. For me, the event horizon came with Mr. Crichton's first published book (at least under his real name), The Andromeda Strain. There have been others, but this one was my first (did that make me a virgin to that point? No, don't answer that.)

I remember it fondly, still. It was early 1970, and I was home sick from high school (10th grade). I lived at that time with my maternal grandmother, along with her youngest, my uncle. He was a reader, like his sister, my mother. I was bored being home and went looking for something to peruse and found this 1969 hardcover. I started it around 10:30 in the morning, and finished it just after 11 PM (I did take fitful breaks, but it kept pulling me back in). If my wife reads this, she's gonna complain that I'm being nostalgic once more (but, so what?).

So, my questions to you:
  1. what book was it for you?
  2. when was it?
  3. fiction or non-fiction?
  4. hardcover or paperback?


  1. OMG! Same book, no kidding! I was a sophomore, too, and the school librarian was a little tired of me horsing around in the library I guess. Anyway, she handed it to me with a stern look and told me to not come back until I had finished it. Well, yeah, I was back the next day. Not only did I get that wow! experience but Miss Shepherd became a reading mentor and introduced me to several other authors' works I enjoyed. She's long since passed away, but I cannot think of Michael Crichton without also thinking of her.

  2. That is a quite an eerie coincidence! Same book, same experience, and same approximate age. Given the success of that book, there probably others out there. Unreal...