I used to be a bookworm. I'd come home from elementary school just about every day and read. As I grew up and summer reading became more prominent, I grew to loathe it. Being forced to spend my free time doing homework on stories I didn't even like to prepare for a boring in-class conversation and exam was hardly a fun time.
I can count on one hand the books I had to read in school that kept my interest, and even those still hold a special place in my mental torture chamber for turning something remotely enjoyable into work. I started working a part-time job, so there was little free time for anything outside of school and work (and reading doesn't exactly pay the bills). I started to think, I don't even have time to sleep, who has time to read for fun?
The whole idea was boring to me until I saw my mom reading a novel that caught my eye. Something about the bright yellow cover snagged my interest, so I asked her. "Gone For Good Harlan Coben," she told me. Then she gave me a little bit of insight into the plot filled with crime and mystery and offered to give it to me when she was done.
Luckily, Coben caught me during my forensic-scientist-wannabe phase that originated from how many investigation shows I watched. I still remember sitting at the hotel pool during a weekend trip, glued to its pages.
"Aren't you gonna swim?"
My mom knew I had to be hooked if something kept me laying in the sun for more than ten minutes. It's true — I was.
Something about the way he wrote changed the way I looked at books. It wasn't new by any means; it had come out nearly a decade before I even knew it existed. I mostly liked how short the chapters were because I had the attention span of a goldfish.
I also loved the way I was hooked at the end of every chapter. When you're taught to write in school, every English teacher reminds you at least twelve times to make sure you have an interesting hook at the beginning of your paper, but with novels, you have to give readers something to keep them going.
It wasn't over-done, but each chapter somehow gave away a piece of an already confusing puzzle and none of it was meant to make sense until a few pages before the epilogue. His plot-lines are so thick, you'll forget some of the pieces and still enjoy reading them again years later. I remember my mom laughing at me when I told her my prediction of how it would end after reading every few chapters.
It's intoxicating and makes you wish your life was somehow involved, regardless of the drama.
I finished it and tuned back into reality.
I forgot what it felt like to be lost in a book. Since then, I've read three more of his stand-alone novels and the first of the Myron Bolitar series. I never understood how my mom could read an entire three-four hundred page novel in one day until I picked up a Harlan Coben book.
In fact, I'm going to wrap up this article so I can start the second.
Even if you've never experienced murder or other extreme crimes close to home, you'll find his characters oddly relatable and his work as captivating as his story lines. Check out his reading list and take your pick.