Anita Shreve's Bookshelf
By Edith Wharton
It was also in high school that I read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Each of us has a work that first introduced the joys of reading, and for me this is it. I'd been assigned the book for English class and had left it until the last possible minute—a snowy Sunday afternoon. I began to read, rather grudgingly at first, about a ruined man glimpsed by the narrator on the steps of a post office. Immediately, the narrator (and the reader) begins to wonder what could possibly have happened to this man to cause him to look so ravaged at the age of 52. I was drawn in; I was enthralled; I was knocked out. The universe within Wharton's enduring tale is snowbound and isolated, just as frozen and stark as the world outside my window that day. Never before had I experienced reality and fiction merging so powerfully. I have said often that this book was the beginning of my life as a novelist. Certainly, it was the beginning of my lifelong addiction to reading.