First up, speaking of changing lives, there is still time to leave a comment for a great cause! Check out Monday’s post, where every comment means $1.00 for Heifer International. There are many other great blogs participating, and please consider making your own pledge! Whatever amount you decide.
Meanwhile, one of the things I love about the holidays is that they seem like a time of possibility. Maybe it’s the crisp air, the lights, the tradition, or the spreading of goodwill, but it is definitely a time where life feels a little more magical.
And to that end, I thought I’d bring this around to magical books: which one most changed your life?
I would personally have to go with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I just never knew books could be that funny, and reading it in high school literally opened up a whole new universe.
What about you?
Lisa R says
Wow, so many great books mentioned by everyone.
Mine is Black Boy by Richard Wright (ironic I suppose since I am a caucasion female). There is a passage in that book about learning and knowledge that changed the way I looked at and approached the world. It set me down a different path–that one passage. Very powerful.
See my website for a complete list of books that changed my life 🙂
Before I Die by Jenny Downham.
Absolutely beautiful young adult fiction.
As many people have said, there are so many. But I am choosing Mists of Avalon. I read it at a time in my life when I was questioning things spiritual, and it gave me confidence to investigate new opportunities and roles in my life.
John Grisham- A Time to Kill.
I never read books, never cared too. Then my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away. My mother-in-law was cleaning out some of his stuff weeks later, and handed the book to me. She said, "he always wanted to read this book, he was only on the first chapter when he passed".
I took the book home, left it on my nightstand for a week or so, looking at it each night. One day, I picked it up and started reading. I was hooked within minutes, and have never looked back.
Peter Dudley says
Pat the Bunny
Before that, I couldn't even READ. Talk about life-changing.
OK, OK. Hitchhiker's Guide is definitely a great choice. But I think I'd have to go with The Hobbit. The Misty Mountains, the city of Dale, the dwarves and wood elves and giant spiders and Beorn and Smaug and goblins and wargs and all the rest… they fueled imagination for me like nothing else and drove me into years of Dungeons & Dragons.
I'm going to go with the Harry Potter series. I literally grew up on those books. And more recently The Book Thief which opened my eyes to the world of incredible prose, and I Am the Messenger which taught me how much one person can make a difference.
Pamala Owldreamer says
The book that most impacted my life was my first grade reader about Susan and Bill and Dick and Jane.I hated them. They were so boring and I had to read them even though I was already reading Black Beauty,the Wizard of Oz and Marvel comics with a bit of help with the bigger words. Those boring books led me to create my own stories and aspire to write a better book than what I was forced to read at an early age.
Night by Elie Wiesel — The greatest survival story ever written.
Edward A.K. Summers says
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace changed my life. I read it shortly after graduating college with a UG in English Lit, and IJ taught me many lessons that I did not learn in school. Also, I was going through many personal issues that the book and author seemed to understand and convey in ways I wanted to say but did not know were possible. An entire world of fiction opened up to me, and I realized the power of connection through art and ideas. Dave Eggers' AHBWOSG and Ellison's Invisible Man are very close seconds.
I've read so many books and so many have impacted me in different ways. But it has to be "the death and life of charlie st. cloud." An amazing book, it was also the first "modern adult" book I had ever read. (Before I had only read classics, YA and childrens.) I cried and I was amazed at how touched I was by characters in a book. It was from then I wanted to write a book that could touch others the way charlie st. cloud had touched me. A brilliant read and I would recommend to anyone
Laura Campbell says
My love for reading started at a young age. Ottie and the Star and Addie Meets Max (sadly, both out of print) are two children's books that I remember well as if 26 years hasn't gone by. I wrote book reports on them, and still have the reports buried in my parent's attic. I can't remember what about the books caused them to imprint on my memories, but I can say an overwhelming sense of giddy delight washes over me when I think about them. I've been reading ever since.
For me, it was Stanislaw Lem's The Invincible, the first science-fiction story I ever read. I read it at the age of 13, and it made me hungry for more (though I never read anything quite as good as that).
The honorary mention is Lord of the Rings which gave my hunger for books another boost, and also made me like fantasy even better than sci-fi.
These two books had a huge impact on my lifestyle which, for better or for worse, quite literally revolves around books.
Jan Priddy, Oregon says
THINGS FALL APART by Chinua Achebe talks back to Western assumptions about civilization. This book more than any opened the world to me.
A Writer from India says
Many books have touched my life, too many of them, but to pick just one – The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth.
It gave me comfort, solace and fleeting moments of happiness during a prolonged period of depression. I was ten when the book was first released and was intrigued to read the reviews that celebrated it as "a
masterpiece of a novel in verse". Many years later, this memory prompted me to pull it off a library shelf on a rainy evening in one of the darkest periods of my life. A few pages into the book, and I was laughing aloud for the first time in years. The humour in the book had less to do with it, than relief in the knowledge that everyone shared the feeling of loneliness that was a universal truth of life.
Realising that "the whole world shares your fears" is one of the first steps towards adapting to life. At that point in life, Mr. Seth's poetry, especially 'The Golden Gate' was the catalyst that helped me to realise this, and survive.
Maia Powloski says
Many have already said it, but Harry Potter in many ways defines my generation. I grew up with those books; I was 17 when the seventh book came out, the same age as many of its characters. Rowling's books create worlds that feel fully-formed and also infinite. And characters that never leave you.
Later, the book Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, changed my life. It isn't my favorite book by either author, but it is the first book I read by either of them, and turned me on to both of these brilliant (and very different) fantasy writers. Once I started exploring Gaiman's work, I found that horror, a genre that I'd previously shunned, can be beautiful, captivating, and moving. Especially Coraline, the short story collection Fragile Things, and–most of all–the novel Anansi Boys. Anansi Boys proves that all the imagination, humor, horror, and delight of Harry Potter really can be condensed into a single amazing book–you don't need a whole series.
A.M Hudson says
Which book most changed my life?
The one I just wrote. Because before that, I didn't know there was this amazingly creative and open person inside of me..blah, blah, blah. You get the idea.
No seriously people, I recommend you STOP reading, and start writing. You never know what talent, or soul crushing devastation you might find under all that fear and resentment of the big cruel world.
So yeah! My book…oh and Twilight. But who doesn't say that? (said with humor and a little smiley face at the end;)
Bree D says
The Chosen by Chaim Potok. I was 15 and had been reading a lot of fun fluff, when I discovered this amazing book with unforgettable characters. It actually had the nerve to talk about religion, and in the process exposed me to a new culture and some of it's history. After numerous reads, I still cry at the end.
Gabrielle Renoir-Large says
The first book I ever read, or was read to me, caused me to love books. From that moment on, I was hooked. Then, in my pre-teen and very early teen years, the Nancy Drew series was fun for me. At about age sixteen or so, I read "Wuthering Heights" and I was hooked on great fiction forever. That's still one of my favorite books of all time.