Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Books that Changed My Life

So far we've talked about Guilty Pleasure books, Comfort books, but now let's talk about Books That Changed My Life.

Pretty epic, right? People are accustomed to saying, this person changed my life, or this event changed my life. But a book? I've listed four, though really, every book we ever pick up shapes us, influences us in some way, even if it is just to make us happy for a few hours.

  • Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner--I learned to read off these books, I skipped picture books and moved right on to chapter books, and I read these books until I was far too old to keep reading them
  • Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear by Lensey Namioka--inspired me to learn the violin in the 4th grade, which I played all the way through high school, and has had a huge hand in shaping who I am today--I've never reread it, it's not even a favorite book or a comfort book, but it had a huge impact on me as a child and I remember to this day how I felt when I read that book
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins--might have been one of the first YA that I was proud to wave in front of people's faces and say this is what I want to do
  • Harry Potter by JK Rowling--I can't not mention it, it did help shape my childhood, my imagination, my expectations--I was one of the generation right in the middle of it; elementary school when the books started, college when they ended--I also met some of my best friends through this mutual interest
Tell me about a book or books that have changed your life.

Happy reading!


Liz Reinhardt said...

Barbara Kingsolver's *The Bean Trees* was the first book a teacher took me aside and recommended, and it got me over that hump where I was either reading only children's books or classics. I was in love with Taylor and Turtle from page one.

The Little House books by Laura Ingalls felt like home, and though I don't like cooking or baking or sewing, it's almost like Laura's memories and traditions are partly mine and very cozy.

*Sloppy Firsts* by Meg McCafferty made me fall in love with YA when I was an older teen, and I haven't stopped loving/reading it yet. Jessica and Marcus remain my favorite book romance ever; they're epic.

Gina Ciocca said...

Absolutely, Bridge to Terebithia.

I dedicated a whole blog post to the first time I read that book. It was during quiet reading time at school, and I remember being disoriented when the teacher made us stop, because I'd been so engrossed in Leslie and Jesse's enchanted forest... it made me realize escape from the real world is always just a book away. *Still makes me sigh*

Alison DeLuca said...

Jane Eyre made me gasp when I first read it. Jane was a very prim and yet very complicated character.

I also got sucked into Wuthering heights, although I read it years after Jane. The thought that a young girl secluded on the edge of a moor could have produced such a horrific, passionate book still amazes me.

Candice said...

There's probably 3 books that I know I can say definitely changed my life:
Catherine, Called Birdy was one of the first "women's lib" (if you can really call 13th century a time of women's lib) book that I subconciously flocked to back when I was a little girl.

The Narnia Series completely opened my eyes to fantasy and imagination. I can't thank my 4th grade teacher enough for introducing them to me!

Finally, and most recently, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. Like you and the Hunger Games this was the book that made me think "YES! This is what I want to do!"

Sarah said...

Lord of the Rings. When I was a kid, it pretty much blew my mind. I hadn't realized that the world of fiction could be so vast and the stakes so high. That was when I started wanting to be a writer in earnest.

Jane Eyre was another book I loved passionately.

A Wrinkle in Time started my love for sci-fi.

Harriet the Spy was just awesome.

Leslie Deaton said...

Sounds cliche but it's not I promise. Twilight. After reading the first book I did some research about Stephanie Meyer and I was so impressed that she was just a normal person who wrote a whole series that I had to write my own book. A Marked Past comes out in October, I hope she reads it. :)

Sarah Allen said...

Great list! Definitely want to read the ones I haven't already. Thanks for sharing :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Unknown said...

I can still remember LeVar Burton reading "A Wrinkle in Time" on Reading Rainbow. I went on to read that book and the rest of the series. If I hadn't been home sick that day, I may have missed out on a great series.

From fourth grade through sixth grade I looked forward each year to reading the next book (or books) in The Chronicles of Narnia series as part of our reading classes.

Jenna Cooper said...

Alongside Hunger Games, I think Mockingjay is what really changed me. Before it was an awesome story with some morals I could pull out of it, but then Mockingjay was just absolutely astounding and it really made me think over life and war and our world.
Ella Enchanted was what really got me into reading, so that one changed my life as well.

Rebecca Christiansen said...

There aren't very many books I can say changed by my life, but the two that are for sure are Harry Potter (really has altered my existence) and L. M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon.

Martha Ramirez said...

Without a doubt it has to be Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why.

One word: WOW!

That book is stuck in my head. Forever. I got an email from PW and in that email it had an interview with Jay and how he almost didn't finish writing the book. (Thank God he did!)But what caught my attention was the part that said: The YA NOVEL THAT IS SAVING TEENS LIVES

Talk about a great hook!

Unknown said...

* Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - finding out the rat was a DUDE changed the way I read.

* A Tale of Two Cities - my gold standard by which all other endings are measured.

* Hunger Games - the image of perfection in pacing, inspired me to re-write my manuscript and not give up on it.

* The Book Thief - the book that brought me back to YA.

mshatch said...

The Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander which offered me a princess who wasn't sure she wanted to be one, a hero who had no idea he was one, a hint of mythology and magic and witches, and Arawn, lord of the Underworld, and ...well, you get the idea.

oh, and I just read 13 reasons why and absolutely loved it and wished it had was around when I was a teen. What an incredible book.

Laura S. said...

The Anne of Green Gables series and The Little House series! Anne was intelligent, imaginative, kind, and though she made a lot of mistakes she always learned from them. She was a terrific heroine for a young girl to look up to. And Laura Ingalls Wilder's story helped me understand what it means to appreciate what you have, don't take things for granted, and family is the most important thing.

Julie K. Wise said...

I read "Life of Pi" on a plane from Boston to Phoenix. Time stood still as I read it, truly. I was sobbing so hard by the end of the book, the man next to me offered tissue and insisted that I share what book I was reading so he could be so moved. It shook me. Also, I agree with Ms. Motter. Every book affects, to some degree, the individual each is.

Katy Upperman said...

I read The Boxcar Children growing up too, and I read them to my daughter now. Love them!

Books that changed my life:

The entire Baby-Sitters Clue series because those books turned me into an avid read.

The Harry Potter series because it showed me the joy of an enthusiastic reading community.

The Twilight Series (I know, I know!) because it made me think: Hey, I can totally do that.

If I Stay, because it was the first YA novel I read as an aspiring writer that made me think: Oh my God... I want to write a book THAT moving.

Love this post, Vickie. So fun to read about your life-changing books as well as those in the comments. :)

Anonymous said...

The book that changed my life was Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. My creative writing teacher in HS told me I had to read it. He was right. Something about the story clicked with me.

Now, the book that made me want to write YA was Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas. This book snapped me out of my snotty "it's only a kid's book" attitude and I realized that YA was more than just Harry Potter.