Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Reading by Bob Krech

When you're thirteen you try things. I'm not sure if it's an unwritten rule or something genetic, but it just seems to happen to most of us. Every summer of my life up to the age of thirteen, I spent almost entirely playing baseball, riding bikes, hiking around in the woods, and cutting lawns for money. Thirteen was the summer I switched from being a baseball player to a basketball player. A major, major change for a boy in my neighborhood at that time.  I got a hoop in my driveway that summer and shot around every day on it. We installed a light on the garage so I could play at night too. It was also the summer I switched from reading mostly comic books to paperback books.

There was a used book store in Trenton with the improbable name of "Ianni's." It had the wonderful musty, damp smell a real used bookstore needs and piles of books, magazines, newspapers, and comic books everywhere. I had begun going there for the comic books the year before. My father was good enough to bring me there on Saturday morning when he would go to the bank in town. Ianni's was on the same block. I think the used paperback books were a quarter, which was like half the cover price at the time. I first bought Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles there and read it under a tree in my backyard while my two best friends were away at camp. I soon bought every Bradbury I could get my hands on.

Over that summer of Saturdays at Ianni's I bought realistically about 50 of the Bantam paperback editions of the Doc Savage pulp stories from the 1930's. If I wasn't too busy I could read one in a day. I would eventually buy all of them and I think there were more than 100. I bought most of the Tarzan stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs as well as a good deal of science fiction by Heinlein, Asimov, and Silverberg. My bookshelves were looking pretty cool and I was reading books like I was eating potato chips. Meanwhile my hook shot was becoming decent.

It was quite a summer. I never actually bought another comic book and when fall came, I tried out for basketball, something that would have been unthinkable the year before. Thirteen brought a lot of changes. And I haven't even mentioned girls. ;)


  1. That's a GREAT pic--and you're so right about 13.

  2. There IS something magical about my favorite number.

  3. 13 was definitely when it all changed!