Day 238: Page One

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August 25, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

Where to begin?  That’s a question that I’ve asked a lot, and a question I’ve found to sometimes be an immensely daunting.  Not knowing where to begin can really stand in the way of beginning at all.  After all, who wants to set out on the wrong foot?  Truthfully, there’s rarely ever a wrong foot to set out on, and an ability to adapt and course-correct allows us to learn and recover from what might be rookie mistakes.  Unfortunately, that adaptability is sometimes crushed under the weight of regret or frustration as we try to navigate out of holes we think we’ve dug for ourselves.  (I’m speaking as “we” and “us”, only because I assume somebody else out there, like me, has gone through the process of trying something new.)  Maybe if starting something were a little less harrowing, more people would do it.  That’s the hope of today’s project, which wants you to open the right first chapter to introduce you to the complete (and perhaps complex) works of the authors you wish you’d read.

Start Here is a book for the bookish, and the would-be bookish, by some very bookish people at BookRiot.  It asks the question: “What author haven’t you read because you don’t know where to start?” – a question that apparently lots of people (myself included) have at least one answer to.

Which should you read first?

Start Here solves that problem; it tells you how to read your way into 25 amazing authors from a wide range of genres–children’s books to classics, contemporary fiction to graphic novels.

Each chapter presents an author, explains why you might want to try them, and lays out a 3-4 book reading sequence designed to help you experience fully what they have to offer. It’s a fun, accessible, informative way to enrich your reading life.

Myself?  Steven Pinker comes to mind.  So does Neil Gaiman.  And Isaac Asimov.  Maybe having some indication as to where to start will help me to move some of these books off the shelf and onto the desk next to my bed.  There’s a lot of pressure on first impressions – pressure that’s probably unnecessary and unwarranted, given that after enough time, exposure and familiarity, first impressions, no matter how good, bad or bland, can be overcome.  Even so, set out on the right foot and open up the first chapter to a series that’s been on your To-Read shelf for too long by backing Start Here on Kickstarter before midnight tonight (August 25).


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