Shopping Cart

#BOATurns40 - Share Your Story

What is your ideal reading experience?

At BOA Editions, we believe that a single book can transform the way you read, think, live, and see the world. As we look back on 40 years of publishing so many truly transcendent books, we want to hear your thoughts about reading: What do you look for in a book? What do you hope to experience as you turn each page? What book has left a special mark on your life?

Share your story with us! By doing so, you will automatically be entered to win a free, author-signed copy of LI-YOUNG LEE's new chapbook THE WORD FROM HIS SONG! BOA will choose one winner each month of 2016. Winners will be contacted by email. 


To share your story, simply fill out and submit the form at the link below. Once reviewed, your post will appear here within 24-48 hours.

Once posted, share your story on social media using the hashtag #BOATurns40!


Share Your Story 


Recent Stories from BOA Readers

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...

Read Their Full Story →

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...

Read Their Full Story →

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...

Read Their Full Story →

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...

Read Their Full Story →

Molly Mayfield | Rochester, NY

I’ve always been drawn to books that revolve around strong characters rather than plot. My favorite authors are the ones who are able to create people out of thin air, and characterize them in ways that make me feel like I know them personally. I liked the characters that stuck out, the ones that were far from perfect. I wanted characters that I could relate to, especially when navigating my teenage years. I needed to read about people who didn’t have everything figured out, people who doubted their abilities as much as I did. That being said, I think a...

Read Their Full Story →

Samina Hadi-Tabassum | Oak Park, IL

It would have to be William Faulker's books. I remember reading The Sound and the Fury in high school and being blown away with how he was able to capture each character's voice--especially Benjy's perspective as someone with special needs. I ended up working at a summer camp with children with special needs and realized how accurate he was able to capture the storms within. The idea of a dysfunctional family was also a newfound idea for me. I just assumed my family was the most dysfunctional, and it was not until I read Faulker, did I realize that we...

Read Their Full Story →

Darley Stewart | Brooklyn, NY

I don't know. I have asked people everywhere this same question and interrupted a kind gentleman in London during his meal once to ask why he was reading the book he was reading. We talked about Ian McEwan, even though at the time the most important book for me was Baudelaire's prose poems. I don't think I'm looking for anything specific when I read. I do want to be pulled in and stirred and imagery has to be created a little unusually, perhaps. I don't need much. I need a character or a premise glued with a feeling, a sentence...

Read Their Full Story →

Nilson Carroll | Rochester, NY

When I was a kid in high school, I picked up a copy of Time of Need by William Barrett at Greenwood Books -- it's a critical book about narrative forms in the 20th century, and focuses on Camus, Hemingway, Faulkner, atonality, and modernist sculpture. Barrett's great, but when I was sixteen, I found the book to be apocalyptic, fully (to a fault) reading into the idea of the 20th century as being a "time of need," seeing modernism as this catastrophic problem that needed correcting. I wasn't really understanding the text, and had only read about Nietzsche on Wikipedia...

Read Their Full Story →

Michael Petshaft | Fairfield, CT

"I couldn't put it down." "It was a page turner." I feel the opposite. My ideal reading experience is when a book creates for me a confluence of engross, expand, anticipation and a fourth layer of alternate thought, which may have nothing to do with the book but forces me to stop and let the explosion of ideas gestate. I may read only a page a day sometimes but my day is filled with mind pages stemming from the single experience. Words that will never be written and yet couldn't have existed without the book I am reading. Most of...

Read Their Full Story →

Monica | Rochester, NY

I was in the throes of exhaustion and maybe depression in graduate school. My Master's thesis advisor (of blessed memory) kept slashing paragraphs and whole pages of each draft I brought him. GET RID OF THIS! he'd yell at me. THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH DAMN VOICE. A friend suggested I read Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy; it was one of the largest tomes I've ever hauled around, and it was my escape from the life of academic writing. I couldn't put it down. I found myself on the T, from Harvard Square out to UMass Boston, missing my stop because...

Read Their Full Story →

David Correa | Tucson, AZ

John Updike's "Pigeon Feathers" saved my life. As a teenager in the 1980s, I found myself burdened by the hard religious teachings of my youth and the failure of the adults in my life to apply their professed beliefs to the world around me. At the age of seventeen this tension reached its peak as the AIDS crisis loomed and the sub-culture of my parents' world failed to meet the need for compassion toward people who were HIV positive. I was always an avid reader and books had opened my eyes to a bigger world. But now my heart was...

Read Their Full Story →

Adam Wetch | Avondale, AZ

It is not always the profound words we read that offer the opportunity for change; sometimes it is the simple ideas that provoke us, appeal to us, and challenge us to appreciate what life has provided. The inspiration we find as we attempt to interpret the meaning behind an author’s words can be incredibly unpredictable. One such experience happened to me a few months ago.It started with my girlfriend’s passion for Li-Young Lee's writing, which she has loved since she first began reading poetry. The inspiration she has found in his writing has not only influenced her as a writer,...

Read Their Full Story →

Zach Mick | Marco Island, FL

He was standing alone in the hallway. Strikingly tall. Perfectly content in his, "own loneliness." I walked over and he took my outstretched hand. He looked at me directly, serious eyes behind brown-rimmed glasses. My nerves allowed only a rambling sentence. "Mr. Lee, I have to thank you, your book Rose, that book was the reason I started reading and writing poetry." As I spoke he measured each word with a slow, affirming nod and mouthed unspoken thanks. It was a rare moment - thanking the man who, in my greatest loneliness, told me I was not alone. To this...

Read Their Full Story →

Thom Van Camp | Rochester, NY

Walter Benjamin once likened the reading of a book to the lighting of a funeral pyre. The reader, Benjamin says, chases a truth “whose living flame continues to burn over the heavy logs of the past and the light ashes of life gone by.” The best books light a fire, and continue to burn higher and higher as our lives progress. Such books make us confront and better understand our past. They equip and encourage us to work on a better future.

Read Their Full Story →

Amy L. George | Waxahachie, TX

Li-Young Lee's The City in Which I Love You was the beginning of my own poetic journey. As an adopted Asian American, the fragmentation and searching I felt in the title poem resonated deeply with me. This led me on a personal writing journey. Nearly 100 published poems and two chapbooks later, I'm still on that journey. I like to think Li-Young Lee's path opened up my own. I'm currently preparing to write a dissertation on Lee's work, and I teach his poems to the students at my university.

Read Their Full Story →

Christopher Nelson | Grinnell, IA

It is an awful lot to ask of a few sheafs of paper filled with words—to change a life. Perhaps more important than actual transformations—though they do occur—is the beauty of a citizenry that holds the belief that such transformations are possible. It is testament to the power of language and to the importance of literary arts—and to publishers, those rare angels who nurse ideas into promulgation. My childhood bedroom also held the family library. I used to fall asleep comforted that I was in the company of some of the most remarkable beings in human history—imaginative or real, if...

Read Their Full Story →

Laura McCullough | Little Silver, NJ

One of the first books of poetry I read was Kinnell's Book of Nightmares. All those poems in parts accruing to meaning, the anaphoras, the crazed and yet graceful of collisions of sacred and profound, the wildnesses in "Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight" with its mad sounds—"and the stones saying over their one word, ci-gît, ci-gît, ci-gît,"—and its desires—may "lovers no longer whisper to the presence beside them in the / dark, O corpse-to-be ...", I stood forever since in the "café at one end / of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar / where wine takes...

Read Their Full Story →

Allison Huang | Princeton

When I was younger it seemed that my parents and I learned English together. My mother used to read to me at night, but more accurately it was a partnership. My mother and I learned a lot of other things together, too: how to play the piano, how to work in a clinic, how to put together college apps—all through my life I have had a companion, and my earliest memories of this companionship begin when we were first learning the language that I would later make my own, as I am now a poet myself.Language, as I learned growing...

Read Their Full Story →

Larry Ruth

Reading a book in the Sierra back country—the book was Light by Eva Figes—a single day in the life of Monet—I was transported to Giverny, to Paris, to begin writing myself...

Read Their Full Story →

Anni | United States

I learned English at a young age mostly through reading, by copying letter for letter each unfamiliar word in my marbled notebooks until they became mine, until I dreamed with them. As a non-native speaker, books were a safe way for me to encounter new worlds, intimate spaces in which to explore and connect without fear or judgement. In the most transformative reading experiences, the writing becomes akin to our own thoughts and reshapes our most personal spaces.

Read Their Full Story →

Chaneli Holguin | Lawrence, MA

What I look for in a book is a recognition or confirmation of a truth that is within me. The author is able to express and illuminate a certain experience or emotion and completely draw me in and confirm my feelings and truths. So many books have changed my life that it's hard to pick one. The authors that are in my heart and I carry their words with me are Junot Diaz, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Bhanu Kapil, Clarice Lispector, Aracelis Girmay, Ocean Vuong, etc.

Read Their Full Story →

Robert Thomas | Oakland, CA

Many years ago I went backpacking in northern Sweden—Lapland, really. Perhaps my memory is romanticizing the setting a bit, but there were herds of reindeer grazing the hillsides under the Northern Lights, and there was no one but me on the trail for miles. I had Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook with me to read. Sweden is considerate of hikers, so every few miles there was a hut where one could rest and sleep. I am a rather lazy camper and had no desire to prove how far I could hike in a day, so I spent hours curled in...

Read Their Full Story →

Robyn Avery | Rochester, NY

When I open a new book, or even one that I've read a hundred times before, I find myself hoping it’s going to go well. I had difficulty reading when I was young, and, until the age of seven or eight, I was reading far below the reading comprehension expected of me. After years of extra help and nightly reading with my family, I finally figured it out. After that, I would spend whole days reading book after book. I remember reading one Little House on the Prairie book every day for a week. At the end of the week...

Read Their Full Story →

Peter Conners | Rochester, NY

My ideal reading experience is the same now as it was when I first fell in love with reading - which was pretty much when I first learned to read. It's very simple really. I am in bed with a book that I love so much that hours pass without me even noticing they're gone. I have lost entire days to books -- and, with any luck, I will again. I also associate this activity with Sundays, but that may be because I'm older and Sundays tend to be the quietest days of the week with the fewest responsibilities. So,...

Read Their Full Story →

Rebekah Connell | Rochester, NY

I can’t always predict or anticipate my ideal reading experience, but when it happens, it’s unmistakable. I’ll read a phrase, a line, a string of images, even a single word––and for a few seconds, the world stops. Sometimes this manifests as a shift in the pit of my stomach, like a small bird stirring in my ribcage. Sometimes it’s my breath catching in my throat and clinging there, or my vision going bleary when I look up from the page. Sometimes it’s a feeling like I’m drifting upwards, as if my bones are air. In some ungraspable way the words...

Read Their Full Story →

Jonathan Everitt | Rochester, NY

Some of the books I remember most vividly are those I’ve never read—the ones that were read to me. Those early experiences of hearing someone interpret the words of an author through pacing and inflection taught me to bring something of myself to every book. Today, the books I find the most rewarding come from authors whose work somehow manages to listen back. To tell me, between the lines, that they hear me. That they’ve felt what I’ve felt. Seen what I’ve seen. Lost what I’ve lost. They string together words in ways that let me know I’m not alone....

Read Their Full Story →

Erika Meitner | Blacksburg, VA

When I was 15 I went on a road trip vacation with my best friend's family. I was at that age where I secretly wanted to run away from home, and my family was more than happy to lend me--in all my surly, self-consciously moody glory--to another family for a week. We drove from Long Island (NY) to Virginia Beach in their wood-paneled station wagon, which overheated at least twice on the way down. My friend and I spent most of our days down at the beach oogling cute surfers who were in town competing in the ECSC. On our...

Read Their Full Story →

Nicole Melanson | Australia

I had my first paying job when I was 13 and books were my biggest splurge. It didn't take me long to realize that different presses have different flavors, and I instinctively gravitated towards BOA and Copper Canyon, both of whom still publish some of my favorite poetry today. BOA's Awake and What We Carry by Dorianne Laux were two of the first poetry collections I ever bought with my own money and I distinctly remember the thrill of realizing there was work out there that I loved. I've moved many times in the last couple decades but my books...

Read Their Full Story →