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Lunchtime Poll: What was the first adult book you read?

No, no, not the first kinky book you read, the first one you as a reader considered your graduation book from children/YA literature to real, grown-up reading material.  Of course if the first adult book you read was kinky, feel free to share that story with us, too.  Mine was either Orwell’s Animal Farm, which I thought would be a much different book than it actually was,  or Danielle Steel’s Palomino, which was everything I hoped it would be and more. I read both over the summer between elementary school and middle school, having bought both from the used book store with money I earned myself as a primo babysitter. It was a banner summer.

How about you?

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

6 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: What was the first adult book you read?”

I was a late-starter with grown-up stuff, because I enjoyed kidlit so much. I started reading novelizations of movies when I was 11 or 12, I think. So, would the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back count? If not that, it was probably Flowers in the Attic at 13. My good taste genes finally kicked in when I was 14, and I read books like 1984, Brave New World, and Tale of Two Cities all on my own. I waded through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff, though.

I was thinking about this all day and I finally decided that I think it was “The Cat Who” books by Lillian Jackson Braun and/or Mary Higgins Clark – who I was obsessed with in middle school. I was constantly sick during 6th grade and my mom gave me them to read one of the times I was sick and I distinctly remember being proud that it was a book meant for grown ups.
What’s hilarious is that as an adult I can’t imagine reading those at all….especially Mary Higgins Clark. They are pretty poorly written and super formulaic. I tried to read one several years ago and it was so painful I’m not even sure I finished it.

I will have to go with “The Color Purple”.

I think there was one before that I stole from my mom, but I can’t remember the title or author (all I’m really getting is a visual of the cover).

After searching teh interwebs, I think it might be “Daddy’s Girl” by Charlotte Vale Allen. But I’m not sure.

The first grown-up novel I read was probably Catcher in the Rye or Of Mice and Men, both required reading when I was in, maybe, 9th grade. I had an adult library card two years before that, but the only thing I remember checking out with any regularity was pattern books for making doll clothes. I was a late bloomer.

If I’m being completely honest, the first “adult” book I read was probably my grandpa’s antiquated copy of the Merck Manual.

It’s really hard for me to say, but I think it might have been “North and South” when I was about 10 (shortly after the miniseries was out on TV). I thought it was pretty titillating due to the graphic descriptions of Ashton’s various dalliances. I remember repeatedly reading a particular section where they likened one of her partner’s man parts to a cannon.

Wow, that’s a hard one for me to remember, exactly. I can think of a handful that were probably my “first”:

Watership Down – I started reading adult books at a fairly young age. I basically skipped a lot of young adult fiction/sci-fi/fantasy (Narnia for one) and went straight for the hard stuff. I picked this one because of the bunny on the cover.

Tommyknockers – This was the first Stephen King novel I ever read. My mom read it after I did, and she was appalled. She never banned me from reading anything else, or insisted on reading a book before I did, though.

The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins – this was a book we just had around the house, so I might have picked this one up before I checked adult books out of the library. My mom tried to hide it from me. It was racy – it had incest! rape! regular sex! suicide! I see why she tried to hide it from me, but it just made me want to read it more.

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