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Literary Fiction > Books That Changed Your Life

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message 1: by J. (new)

J. | 22 comments I have to split it between two, because I read them back to back, and they formed almost everything about who I am as a writer. Fight Club by Palahniuk and Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. That use of extreme literary minimalism to explore worlds of subcultures that exist just underneath our own daylight "Good Morning America" world was like a lightning bolt through my head. I would not be a writer were it not for those books.


message 2: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy | 4 comments That's a great story, Dianne! I had a similar experience, but it wasn't a book that got me going with my writing, it was NaNoWriMo and support from family.

Anyway, back on topic... I have a few books that were very inspirational for me, although in a more personal way. The first would be Peaceful Warrior. It was a very spiritual (not religious) novel that made me look at life differently.

Secondly, when I was young, Catcher in the Rye really connected with me and in many ways has shaped how I interact with both children and adults.

And to throw it in there, a novel that changed how I looked at writing/inspired me to keep writing no matter what was the Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. She's an amazing writer and I instantly fell in love with her characters and the world. So much in fact it pushed me to want people to feel that way about MY writing.


message 3: by Dave (new)

Dave Edlund (dedlund) It was about 1981, and a good friend gave me a worn paperback copy of "Raise the Titanic!". I fell in love with this genre, and dreamed about "someday" when I could/would write fiction myself. Now I'm doing it, and love it!


message 4: by Jim (last edited Dec 07, 2013 09:52AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic When I was a sophomore in high school many, many years ago, I read "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank.

The Cuban missile crisis had just heated the Cold War to the boiling point. I was too young and stupid to be frightened; so I was all for blowing the daylights out of the Soviet Union and its allies.

After reading Mr. Frank's stark depiction of the aftermath of a nuclear war, I experienced an epiphany and believed that nuclear war must be avoided at all costs.

I should point out that, in 1966, I enlisted in the Marine Corps; so my youthful stupidity had not been completely eradicated.


message 5: by Bobby (new)

Bobby Nelson | 7 comments J. wrote: "I have to split it between two, because I read them back to back, and they formed almost everything about who I am as a writer. Fight Club by Palahniuk and Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. That..."

Less Than Zero impacted me as well. I discovered it when I was in middle school. It caused me to start reading for pleasure. I hadn't really done so before that. And it (as well as everything Bret Easton Ellis has written) made me want to be a writer.


message 6: by Brooke (new)

Brooke | 16 comments I have to say Malcolm X. It was very powerful


message 7: by Bobby (new)

Bobby Nelson | 7 comments Brooke wrote: "I have to say Malcolm X. It was very powerful"
Did you see the Spike Lee film based on it?


message 8: by Brooke (new)

Brooke | 16 comments Yes I did. In fact I just purchased the movie last week.


message 9: by Bobby (new)

Bobby Nelson | 7 comments Brooke wrote: "Yes I did. In fact I just purchased the movie last week."

That's cool. I'd like to know what you thought of it.

I liked it. Spike Lee's work is sort of hit and miss for me, but I think Malcom X is maybe his best film.


message 10: by Brooke (new)

Brooke | 16 comments Oh! I had seen it at least 5 times before I purchased it. I agree with you that it is one of his best works. It was so real and I often times forgot that I was watching Denzel. He did. An excellent job as Malcolm. I also found Malcolm's transformation from street hood to the great Malcolm X a positive lesson for all.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom truly inspired me. It made me appreciate life even more. He reminds us that we can all believe and that our lives are a gift. Happy New Year to all members! :)


message 12: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Citizen of the Galaxy Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein opened my eyes to possibilities.


message 13: by Dudegreen (new)

Dudegreen | 1 comments All Quiet on the Western Front made me completely reevaluate the way I look at armed conflict and instilled in me the eternal conviction that war is something to be avoided at all costs.


message 14: by Bobby (new)

Bobby Nelson | 7 comments Taking a cue from Dianne's original post,
there's a book that I categorize as life-changing about writing.

My writing ambitions have largely consisted of thinking about it, talking about it, and reading tons of writing magazines and skimming how-to books, but this one book grabbed my attention with simple, fun, practical advice and its really the thing that got me moving...

Its called One way to write your novel

It was written I think in the 70's, but it appears to have some newer additions. Dick Perry is largely unknown, I'm guessing because he did a lot of ghost writing.

But the book is fun and funny and has some really good tips.


message 15: by Teshelle (new)

Teshelle Combs | 15 comments Beloved by Toni Morrison. First truly beautiful book I read. I was in eight grade and I realized how magical being a writer could be. That story follows me everywhere.


message 16: by Christoph (new)

Christoph Fischer | 40 comments Shantaram

I remember reading the exciting beginning of what appeared like an adventure story and was sweeped off my feet when the heavy parts about guilt and redemption sneaked in.

The writer has shown so brilliantly how inner change and regret can occur in a way that no outer punishment can ever achieve this.

Ever since then a sincere apology has meant more to me than any compensation.

This is just a small part of what makes this book so good, but it stayed for me ever since. So, maybe not life changing but a profound realisation.


message 17: by Christoph (new)

Christoph Fischer | 40 comments J. wrote: "I have to split it between two, because I read them back to back, and they formed almost everything about who I am as a writer. Fight Club by Palahniuk and Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. That..."

I agree on Bret Easton Ellis. That man has got something going for him. I read all of his books and always long for more.


message 18: by Christoph (new)

Christoph Fischer | 40 comments Jeremy wrote: "That's a great story, Dianne! I had a similar experience, but it wasn't a book that got me going with my writing, it was NaNoWriMo and support from family.

Anyway, back on topic... I have a few ..."


The book by Dan Millman? I have that on my tbr pile and cannot for the life of me remember how it ended up there.


message 19: by Christoph (new)

Christoph Fischer | 40 comments Just got Siddharta. I read a lot of Hesse in my youth, time to full the gap


message 20: by Sam (new)

Sam Jenkin (UKPoetryLive) | 3 comments Demian/Siddharta/Der Steppenwolf is certainly one of them. With a long life like mine, there are so many though...


message 21: by Philip (new)

Philip Dodd (philipdodd) | 31 comments The King James Version of the Holy Bible has had more influence on English literature, in prose and verse, since it was first published, than many might think, and I cannot imagine my life without it. As far as literary fiction is concerned, The Waves, Jacob's Room and Between The Acts by Virginia Woolf, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Narziss and Goldmund, The Glass Bead Game and Demian by Hermann Hesse, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, among others, had a great effect on me.


message 22: by Marcy (new)

Marcy (marshein) | 71 comments I think the book I just finished may have changed my life: The Goldfinch. I cannot stop thinking about it, and it's been a week. I had a hard time writing a review of it on my blog, just wrote my reactions and even then wasn't very articulate. It was so intense....

and, circa 1970, I know this sounds like a total cliche, but The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan changed my life more than any other book I've ever read. My marriage was on the rocks, and I told my husband he had to read it or we were finished. He didn't read it.


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