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Has a book ever changed your life

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Posted on Jan 2, 2013 5:27:22 PM PST
stevi says:
Definitely Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Anything by Henry James, Edith Wharton, George Eliot. The original Les Miserables was worth it to me: what a story teller Victor Hugo was!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2012 4:41:29 PM PST
The Sun Also Rises-Hemingway
All Quiet On The Western Front-Remarque
Mother Night- Vonnegut

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2012 3:46:21 PM PDT
JW says:
I grok that!

Posted on May 22, 2012 8:25:32 PM PDT
R. Speizer says:
Dinotopia: Convinced me to study art.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: Taught me I COULD draw!
Stranger in a Strange Land: What can you say?

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2012 6:51:33 PM PDT
intense heat and pressure produces a diamond

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2012 6:39:24 PM PDT
I read DH Lawrence's Love Among the Haystacks when I was 22. It made me realize that I had to know real passion. I've never regretted it.

Posted on May 22, 2012 8:41:30 AM PDT
Bill Morris says:
Linda Leonard, "The Wounded Women." Although this is a book about women's behavior (I'm male) based on how she lived rejecting her Father's alcoholism, she wrote a chapter in which I found a precise description of how I lived. And her message about unconscious despair was powerful. And a light went on. I have given away copies of this book to others that I hoped would find themselves that way I did. It wasn't a book, it was a gift. My life changed.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2012 6:42:47 PM PDT
Another Russian piece that I read in college was so depressing that I thought the literature department should put their students on suicide watch after they finish it. Crime and Punishment.

Posted on May 18, 2012 1:46:45 AM PDT
A customer says:
Franny and Zooey made me want to be a writer. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek made me, for a time, at one with nature (whereas before I had been at two or three). The Death of Ivan Ilych changed my life most profoundly.

Posted on May 9, 2012 12:29:03 AM PDT
Quinton Blue says:
James Joyce's "Ulysses." I bought this 784-page monster many years ago but never read it. Then one summer night when I was young and living in an insufferably hot apartment and couldn't sleep, I needed to open a window and a door to get cross ventilation but the door wouldn't stay open. "Ulysses" was just the right size and heft to keep the door open. I still haven't read "Ulysses," but it changed my life.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 12:08:55 PM PDT
You certainly could be right. It's been a very long time.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2012 12:06:58 PM PDT
Richard Todd says:
I would think that reading Les Miserables aloud would take more than a school year's worth of half hours. Might she possibly have been reading Jean Val Jean by Solomon Cleaver?

Posted on Apr 19, 2012 8:17:41 PM PDT
Avalon says:
My fondest memories of school was my fifth grade teacher reading to us. I wish more teachers made time for that.
I remember she read us Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, a Wrinkle in Time, just tons of books over the course of the year. She didn't read anything heavy that I remember but it was still a great experience.
Fifth grade remains my favorite!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2012 6:58:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 19, 2012 7:00:19 PM PDT
I had the remarkable good fortune to have a fourth grade teacher who read Les Miserables to my class. Each day she would read about a half-hour. I remember her name and silently thank her often. As an adult, I would be a little more critical of the story than I was as a child, but it was a good introduction to its genre. My teacher also read Tom Sawyer and several other memorable books to us.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2012 6:55:52 PM PDT
I had not remembered that it was in SF, but your information led me to check out the Wikipedia article on Robert Pirsig. He was quite an interesting fellow. You and I would probably have interesting intellectual arguments, to judge from your pseudonym. I am that fairly rare critter, a conservative Alabama atheist, practically an endangered species.


In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2012 5:44:51 PM PDT
Far Lefkas says:
I believe the son was mugged & killed: in Frisco, I think. Wasn't it in California where the old man wanted to send Chris home, so the old man could do himself in?

Posted on Apr 19, 2012 7:25:42 AM PDT
Barbara Fett says:
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 8:46:10 PM PDT
Maybe Pirsig's effort WAS futile. The son he so intently cultivated died as a young man shortly after the book came out. I forgot the circumstances of his death, but think I remember that it was either an accident or maybe even a criminal act that killed him.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 8:38:34 PM PDT
DeKruif was very influential for me, but Mencken is also a special delight. I didn't discover Mencken until adulthood, though. Every few years I go to the web and review some of my favorites of the Mencken quotations. DeKruif took a lot of liberty in making up imaginary conversations, but he really knew how to sell scientific thinking. We still have too little of it.

Then there are those books that influence us negatively, reminding me of a great Dorothy Parker critique of a book she strongly disliked. She said, "This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly; it should be thrown against a wall with great force." The only example of that that comes to mind was "Silas Marner" by George Eliot. When I was assigned to read that I resolved that "one day" I would re-do that book and make it easier and more pleasant to read. I finally did that. Amazon has it now as "Silas Marner in Modern Language." I wouldn't lay a finger to change DeKruif or Mencken, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 4:17:19 PM PDT
Far Lefkas says:
I read this in jr. high: got it thru the Scholastic Book Club; altho it really wasn't an easy read. DeKruif was a colleague of H.L. Mencken's, & Mencken had an essay on DeKruif & him trying to get beer during Prohibition.

Posted on Apr 18, 2012 12:27:24 PM PDT
Richard Todd says:
A book that moved me deeply was Oliver LaFarge's Laughing Boy, a beautiful and complex love story set in the Navajo culture of about a hundred years ago. It taught me a great deal about profound love and letting go.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 12:11:59 PM PDT
ddl says:
OMG--I forgot all about that book!! I read it at 13, and it was one of the best books I've ever read! Thanks for reminding me.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 5:06:02 AM PDT
smiley says:
I read Shogun when it first came out. That was shortly after the death of a beloved cousin, who died waaaaaaaaay too young. I hadn't been able to come to grips w/ someone so good dying so young. And then I read Shogun, and I came to peace.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2012 4:56:30 AM PDT
"Microbe Hunters" by Paul deKruif, which I read at age 12 made me become a scientist.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2012 7:02:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 17, 2012 7:07:07 PM PDT
P. Dee says:
So inspiring. Kudos to you!
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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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