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07/18/2011

The Reading Promise: An Interview with Author Alice Ozma

One of our absolute favorite volunteers and First Person fans, Alice Ozma, is a memoir writer herself! Alice just released her debut memoir The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared, which tells a touching story about Alice's single father, an elementary school librarian, who read to her every night, starting from when she was in the fourth grade until the day she left for college.

Alice Ozma will be reading from The Reading Promise tomorrow, Tuesday, July 19, at the Free Library! The event is FREE, so be sure to head on over to the library and check it out. You can find more information about the event here.

We caught up with Alice before her big event and asked her a couple of questions about how this journey with her father began, how her promise has inspired others, and what her father thinks of her book.

How did the reading promise start?
Originally, it was my father's idea. He wanted to try for a hundred nights in a row, but when we met our goal, we found it very hard to stop. So we went for 1,000, and after that, we didn't really look back. We read for 3,218 nights in a row.

What inspi

red you to write about it?
I wanted to write about it, in part, because we enjoyed our experience so much, I figured it was only a matter of telling people about it – once they knew, they'd start their own Streaks. So far that's been pretty true!

Of the many books that you read with your father, is there a particular book that sticks out? Why?
Actually, no! I don't have a kid, but I imagine that to be like choosing between your children. I can narrow it down to a top 30, maybe even a top 25, but from there, it becomes impossible. Dickens, Shakespeare, Poe – we read so many classics, I'd be really pressed to choose just one- or ten!

Have others reached out to you about their reading promises?
Tons of people have written me emails – I had six arrive in my inbox within the last hour! It's crazy how many people feel really inspired to start their own Streaks. There are people who read my book when it first came out and are already over 50 nights in. That is so wonderful to hear. It makes everything about this entire publishing experience seem so completely worthwhile.

What does your father think about your book?
My father is actually never going to read my book! I asked him not to, and I totally believe him when he says he won't. It's way too mushy for him – it would ┬ábe like showing him my diary. I know it's a bit unfair to ask him to not to, but he loves me, so he'll keep his word.

Thanks to Alice for taking the time to answer our questions! Go see Alice tomorrow and pick up a copy of her book today!

– Laura Reeve

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