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Customer Discussions > Literary Fiction forum

Has a book ever changed your life

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Showing 1-25 of 208 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 14, 2009 3:23:31 PM PDT
And by that I don't mean just a great book you read but a book that actually changed you in a fundamental way; a book that you can say for a fact that after you read it you were no longer the same person.

Posted on Oct 14, 2009 9:23:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 14, 2009 9:24:36 PM PDT
Jonnie Comet says:
'Lost Horizon', read in 1969
'Dove' (not a novel), read in 1972
'Jane Eyre', read in 1973
'The Great Gatsby', read in 1974
'Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', read c.1990
'Angela's Ashes', read in 2009.

These books each, in their own part, helped convert me from a know-it-all literary illiterate into a thinking & feeling creature eager to know more of the world, within books and without.

Posted on Oct 15, 2009 12:05:24 AM PDT
Dale Taylor says:
"You shall know our Velocity" by Dave Eggers set something off in me which made me want to change almost everything about my life and current circumstances.You Shall Know Our Velocity

It is a fantastic work and I still find it simultaneously inspiring and unsettling.


Posted on Oct 20, 2009 4:42:38 AM PDT
E. King says:
I would say "The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink. There are undoubtedly a few others, but that's the only one which springs to mind, probbaly because I read it quite recently :-)

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 5:47:04 AM PDT
SKC says:
Several books have had a profound impact on my life, but the one I have most recently read that will always stay with me was "The Meaning of Matthew"- Matthew Shepard's story told by his mother. It was an incredibly difficult read (in regards to details of his brutal beating), but one of the most inspirational reads I have come across as of late.

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 11:24:55 AM PDT
I first read "Catch 22" when I was 18, then when I was on the delivery table producing my only child and lastly a few years ago. It is my alltime favorite book and changed me, whilst still a teenager, into accepting that life will always be absurd and that to make the best life for myself I would contribute to the absurdities by living the way I want and not what was expected from a woman born in the 1940's.
Now I'm 67 and live in rural MS - the biggest absurdity of my life so far!

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 12:03:05 PM PDT
Mrs.Cavill says:
"Jane Eyre"
Read it when I was 11 or 12, and it completely changed me.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2009 6:52:49 PM PDT
A. Morales says:
Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Both of these books will change your life. They changed mine in ways I can't even explain.

Posted on Oct 20, 2009 8:30:05 PM PDT
Cosmos by Carl Sagan

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault

Beautiful, lyrical, inspirational, they affected my life in diametrically opposed but profound ways.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2009 12:12:10 AM PDT
A. Upadhyay says:
"Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and "Lila" - provided answers to a lot of questions that I was looking for when I was around 23-24. It had a profound affect on me at that time, but in the retrospect I can't really tell what that affect was.

Posted on Oct 23, 2009 7:59:58 PM PDT
Rhapso says:
"Catcher in the Rye". I was already an avid reader when I found it at age 13, but a fictional character had never yet come alive for me in the way that Holden did, and rarely has in the almost 40 years since. It made me realize for the first time what fiction would mean to me.

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 7:57:33 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2009 7:11:18 AM PST
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 2:22:53 PM PST
Aviva Lynne says:
Harold and the Purple Crayon - I even took this book with me to college and graduate school. You create your own life.

Black Beauty - I can not stand cruelty to animals.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Shirer - I was around 10-11 at the time. I am still grappling with how so much evil can exist in this world.

Basic Judaism by Milton Steinberg - which changed my religious outlook in life.

Anthem and The Fountainhead both by Ayn Rand

Exodus by Leon Uris

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Secret Garden

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 6:13:14 PM PST
To Kill A Mockingbird - for the triumph of integrity
The Scarlet Letter - for the example of human dignity
The Hunt for Red October -- for the adrenaline rush
Eat, Pray, Love - for expanding horizons I didn't realize needed expanding

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 9:28:35 PM PST
Sky Sox Wiz says:
I think she, better than any other, answered the question thoughtfully and honestly. Her choices were diverse, yet rational.
When I read the question I expected someone to mention Ayn Rand. That Black Beauty and Harold influenced your life shows that you are bright enough to find wisdom everywhere........Well done!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 9:39:40 PM PST
Ned Ludd says:
Infinite Jest. It made me read "E Unibus Pluram" by Wallace which discourses on post-modern U.S. lit in such a way that I eventually read everything mentioned in the essay. Now I am an English teacher, despite the fact my B.A. was in History. David Foster Wallace changed my life.

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 8:58:20 PM PST
"The Good Soldier," by Ford Madox Ford. I re-read it every few years, and it always makes me see the world in a new and even sadder light.

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 10:28:31 PM PST
Pamhamlet says:
Black Beauty, which I first read as a young girl of seven when I was totally wrapped up in horses. It is the author's one and only published work and it is a masterpiece, told through the eyes of a horse. While an enjoyable read simply because it centered around my favorite animal, I realized there was much more to the story than that. Yes, the tale stirred in me a deep resolve for the ethical treatment of animals, but it also let me see the world through more mature eyes, even at that tender age. I realized even then, that Black Beauty is really not a children's book. It is a tale that transcends time; an account of the profound emotional relationship that can develop between human and beast that further impacts us, when applied person to person, to enrich humanity as a whole. The book cultivated in me a love of literature and appreciation of the effect that a great story can have upon one's life when one "falls into a book." I especially love the nostalgic reminiscing at the last paragraph, which is a perfect ending to this beautiful story. My advice: Don't see the movie, read the unabridged book!

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 9:46:03 AM PST
The Grapes of Wrath, which I've read 12 times in the past 19 years, taught me to embrace people who are vastly different from me. To Kill A Mockingbird taught me to cherish my own childhood.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2009 12:46:25 PM PST
Mischief says:
I found Harold and the Purple Crayon terrifying as a child ...

Posted on Dec 6, 2009 12:49:03 PM PST
Mischief says:
Soft Energy Paths by Amory Lovins and The Life and Death of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Read them at 17 in 1979 and they helped articulate what would be my life path --energy and cities

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 5:12:08 AM PST
Elise says:
These books gave me some of the most profound and memorable feelings I recall having while reading:

The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
I read this when I was about 6 years old. It was the first book that made me cry. When the little angel receives a box of his favorite things, one of the items was his dog's collar. I was devastated because I knew that the angel would never see his dog again. At the time, I had not yet experienced the loss of a beloved pet. I was heartbroken and still remember exactly how that felt the first time.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
I sneaked around behind my mother's back to read this book. While I do not recall the minute details of the story, I do remember my feelings of disgust and horror at the lifestyle and actions of the main characters. It gave me a revolting insight to the drug and sex culture of the time and I was thoroughly grossed out. This may have been why I never participated in drug use.

A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Loving Each Other by Leo Buscaglia
I read both of these in my 20s during a tough break up with a boyfriend. They helped me understand a lot about life and how to love. They also made me feel much better about myself and continue to do so today. My copies of these books are well used since I frequently enjoy rereading my favorite passages.

There are some novels which have changed my life, but the above books are probably the ones which have affected me the most.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2009 7:48:29 AM PST
Emma Wheeler says:
Bel Canto
Thank you, Matthew, for asking this question. I'm not certain I have the words to describe how important this book has been for me on a spiritul lelvel. More importantly, my experience of this story has changed the way each moment of the day seems somehow significant and noteworhy and lprecious. This book opened me up somehow and I know I will never be able to close myself off again in the same way. I am more grateful than I can express and long to find a way to put these feelings into words.

Posted on Dec 7, 2009 8:48:58 AM PST
B. Wood says:
I read both of these in my early teens and both became a part of my belief system, my core, and how I view the world.
Thorton Wilder, "Our Town"
Emily laments, "Do ... human beings ever realize life while they live it-every, every minute?"
Dalton Trumbo, "Johnny Got His Gun"
"You can always hear the people who are willing to sacrifice somebody else's life. They're plenty loud and they talk all the time. You can find them in churches and schools and newspapers and legislatures and congress. That's their business. They sound wonderful. Death before dishonor. This ground sanctified by blood. These men who died so gloriously.
They shall not have died in vain. Our noble dead.
But what do the dead say?
Did anybody ever come back from the dead any single one of the millions who got killed did any one of them ever come back and say by god I'm glad I'm dead because death is always better than dishonor? Did they say I'm glad I died to make the world safe for democracy] Did they say I like death better than losing liberty? Did any of them ever say it's good to think I got my guts blown out for the honor of my country? Did any of them ever say look at me I'm dead but I died for decency and that's better than being alive? Did any of them ever say here I am and I've been rotting for two years in a foreign grave but it's wonderful to die for your native land? Did any of them say hurray I died for womanhood and I'm happy see how I sing even though my mouth choked with worms?"
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Discussion in:  Literary Fiction forum
Participants:  163
Total posts:  208
Initial post:  Oct 14, 2009
Latest post:  Jan 2, 2013

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