In the acknowledgements to Close Reading with Computers, I write:
I came to the computational study of novels through a chance intersection of two of my main life interests: literature and computer programming. Before I was an academic, I was a computer programmer. At age seven I was incredibly lucky to have an information technology teacher – Andrew J. Read – who had written a book to teach children to program in the BASIC language. When I asked “what is computer programming?”, I was immediately taken off the standard course of learning Microsoft Word (the dreadful syllabus that so often works its way into school-level Information Technology courses) and transferred to study Mars and Back for the remainder of the year. I have never stopped my programming activities and I find the process deeply satisfying in a very different way to that of writing literary criticism. I would like to thank Andrew for recognising this interest and for nurturing it. A good teacher can make all the difference in life.
This morning, I have sent a copy of the book to Andrew, having managed to track him down, along with a side-by-side picture of our two books – separated as they are by 26 years – Mars and Back published 1993 and Close Reading with Computers in 2019. I hope it makes him smile when it arrives.