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Stories from BOA Readers: #BOATurns40

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Nivedita N. | Waukesha, WI

Whenever I read a book and the book takes me to a parallel universe that I never knew existed, be it with the book's lyrical quality that hums its well-crafted words in your ears, or the powerful story that grips you by the wrist, or the style of writing that challenges your own style of writing, that would be my ideal book. The book that blew my mind is The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. The book blends all the qualities I look for in a book. It kept me breathless throughout. At one...

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T. De Los Reyes | Manila, Philippines

The first time I read Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, I was so exhilarated. She has such a linguistic understanding of the way we see things in the world. I found myself questioning the words I use, really questioning them. Growing up bilingual, I never really thought of language that way before. That is: I appreciate having the advantage. That is: having the ability to express myself in two languages is twice the possibility for someone in love with words. I was only ever curious about what we lose when we move from one language to another. That is: I think...

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Tiara Peeples | Cincinnati, OH

My grandmother died last year of complications related to cirrhosis after alcoholism that lasted longer than I can know. She kept her drinking secret from me until my 11th grade year of high school. I was 23 nearing 24 when she died, and I did not know how to handle her addiction. I hadn't believed that she wouldn't have time to go to rehab again and/or be eligible for a transplant. She'd been hospitalized before and recovered--she'd been saved by my mother and by doctors at least half a dozen times. I started reading Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies," "The...

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Jeanette Powers | Kansas City

It will begin as a pull, from the book to your hand. Something about it says 'there's magic here.' It seems to have arrived just on time. You forearm-palm it home and it sits up nights with you. You can't take your mind off of it, you are in love with it. You know it is bound to end. Fighting with it won't make it stop having nothing to say after you turn that last page. You have to turn the page. It will always be there for you, you know with each rereading it will be right again, it...

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Elizabeth Crummins | Rochester, NY

To me, the books that I care for most of all, whose titles rise to the top of my mind when I am asked for a list of my favorites, share a feeling rather than a writing style or similarly-minded characters. I read them wanting to soak in their words until there are none left, willing my eyes to skim the pages as fast as they possibly can, but at the same time I want to slow to a snail's pace, taking in words that by themselves seem mundane but when strung together become something beautiful. I find myself searching...

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