The late Dorris (Cloud Chamber, 1997, etc.) and Buchwald, publisher of Milkweed Editions, have assembled 57 brief recollections by writers of how, in Dorris's words, they ``first encountered the magic of the printed word.'' As one might expect, these experiences vary widely: Sherman Alexie recalls learning to read from a Superman comic book; Nicholson Baker explains how he learned to read (``in the sense of of knowing how to follow a story with pleasure'') by being read to by his mother; Susan Kenney recollects her surprise when she discovered ``that words on the page make pictures in your mind, and you could take in a story with your eyes as well as through your ears.'' Larry Watson recaptures the exhilaration he felt when, at the age of 13, the local library allowed him to begin taking books from the adult section. Some pieces are unfocused, others perfunctory and unrevealing. But the best here are passionate and surprising, offering some distinctive celebrations of a lifelong infatuation with the power of the printed word to transport and enchant.