Summer Reading: What’s the Novel That Got You Hooked on Lit?

“The thing I love about reading and literature is we never stop learning from it.”

Amanda Kuhn

As we head into the July 4th weekend, a time when many people are heading out of town or settling in for a few days with a pile of summer reading, we’ve been thinking about books.

More specifically, what got you hooked on literature?  Not necessarily the first book you loved as a kid, but the novel you read as a teenager or young adult that set the bar for how you experience literature as an adult. The one that ignited your passion for reading or was transformative in your life. 

Nicholas Rombes, local author and professor of English at the University of Detroit Mercy, and Amy Haimerl, author of Detroit Hustle and organizer of “Shady Ladies Literary Society” in Detroit, join Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to discuss the books that transformed their views on both life and literature.

Nicholas Rombes says that the novel Fahrenheit 451 played a role in the way that he looked at literature.

“That was the first book that I fell into that seemed so textured and so real,” says Rombes.  “It was the first book that I really empathized with the characters in a deep way that made them feel like they existed in a different dimension.”

Jake Neher/WDET

Rombes says dark books, such as Farenheit 451, have the ability and complexity to pull the reader in despite its bleakness.

“What a great thing art does that it can create a bleakness sometimes and a dystopian feel, and yet we want to return to it.”

Amy Haimerl says as a child her relationship with her brother was positively affected by Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

“The thing I love about reading and literature is we never stop learning from it and those defining books happen at every stage of our lives,” says Haimerl.

Haimerl’s love for literature led her to starting an organization called “Shady Ladies Literary society” in Detroit.

“The publishing world doesn’t take Detroit seriously as a destination for great literature … so my co-founders and I wanted to create something so cool that publishers would want their people to come here and also could introduce Detroiters to emerging women authors.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.