December 8, 2013 In Roshi Fernando's upper-middle-class childhood home, conversations about sex were taboo. But at 13, already a survivor of sexual trauma, she needed answers. Fernando turned to Maya Angelou's autobiographical I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and, in its pages, found comfort and strength.
November 3, 2013 In 1980s Arkansas, everyone was abuzz with Satan-paranoia. In the middle of the chaos, a teenage Scott Hutchins came across Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. What he found wasn't demonic at all — instead, it was an eye-opening, complex narrative about sad failures, washed-up movie stars and wrecked marriages.
October 6, 2013 Long before they met, fell in love, got married and became co-authors, Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston both read A Spell for Chameleon. The first novel in Piers Anthony's "Xanth" series is a silly book, full of corny jokes. But for teenage Melissa and Michael, it was a winking glimpse into the world of adult relationships.
September 21, 2013 As a child, author Koren Zailckas was an introvert with numbed emotions. When her fourth-grade teacher, "Mr. Cool," assigned the works of Edgar Allan Poe, she was horrified. Murder? Torture? How inappropriate! But the terrifying stories and poems transformed her: she says they scared her into life.
August 25, 2013 Annemarie Selinko's Desiree, a novel about a silk merchant's daughter who almost married Napoleon, was the first book that author Fiona Maazel ever read with excitement. What book turned you into a reader? Tell us in the comments.
July 21, 2013 Author Kevin Maher laughed off the Dubliners as a 12-year old, yet one line stayed with him. It was that line that convinced him to go back to the stories, discovering a love of James Joyce in the process.
May 26, 2013 When author Lucas Mann turned 13, his father gave him a copy of Portnoy's Complaint, a novel The New Yorker dubbed "one of the dirtiest books ever published." Mann says the book taught him that life is painful, sometimes gross, and often funny.
March 24, 2013 Author Nicole J. Georges discovered Michael Azerrad's Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana when she was 13. The book became the heart map for her teenage angst. What book helped you find yourself?
February 24, 2013 Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda remembers finding a worn copy of the anthology Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural in the library as a young boy. He found the stories revelatory. Is there a scary story that made an impression on you when you were his age? Tell us in the comments.
January 28, 2013 When author Ally Carter found out that S.E. Hinton had been a teenager when she wrote The Outsiders, something inside her clicked. It was the first moment she realized she could be a writer. Is there a book that has inspired you to write? Tell us in the comments.