I was an indifferent and sullen youth, prone to acting out at school occasionally, and as a result, was sent to the library as a kind of holding cell/punishment. One day, bored out of my mind, I reached back and grabbed the first book that my hand fell upon and started reading. It was Ms. Norton's Witch World. My love of reading started with that book, which led me to Bradbury, Heinlein and, ultimately, a world I thought was shut to someone of my economic class. I would have wound up dropping out of school and traveling the road that kind of decision leads to had it not been for her influence. I wrote her a letter in the early '80s telling her of my journey and her part in it. She wrote back a most gracious and encouraging letter. Although I'm an atheist, I actually went through the motions of praying for her, just in case.
The authors I discovered during dead time in high school were Stephen R. Donaldson, Philip Jose Farmer, and Sinclair Lewis.
My favorite week of detention hall at Lloyd V. Berkner was spent devouring Arrowsmith. The other reprobates made fun of me when I showed visible distress after Leora was killed by bubonic plague.