Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Friday Questions > 50 Books Lounge Question #2

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message 1: by Danine (new)

Danine (dulcemea) What book(s) changed your life, your way of thinking or your philosophy about the world?


message 2: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy.


message 3: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rachelehm) Man's Search for Meaning by Dr. Victor Frankl


message 4: by Melynna (new)

Melynna Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I read it first well before I'd ever heard there was a movie or a musical. I think it's one of the most profound novels out there about humanity, forgiveness, change, love, and making what you can of what you're dealt. It made me more forgiving, more kind, more willing to see the good in people. I was probably around fourteen when I read it the first time, and I think it was extremely pivotal for me in deciding what kind of person I wanted to be.


message 6: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizabethcorn) The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Mutan Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan, These is My Words by Nancy Turner...Those are the three that stick with me always. I have had been blessed to read many, many books that have inspired me to make changes in my life, to provoke my thoughts on what my purpose is. These three are always at the top of my list.


message 7: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie The Catcher in the Rye. I remember reading it in 9th grade or so because I'd heard about it being banned by some schools and I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. I loved it. I became a huge Salinger fan and started devouring his other works. And I couldn't figure out what was so scandalous about the book. It didn't make me want to be Holden Caulfield, but I could definitely identify with a confused, angry teenager. It was my first "grown up" book and it changed the way I read and the reasons why I read.


message 8: by Bishop (new)

Bishop (a_bishop) | 152 comments Oddly enough, I am not sure that if I reread some of these they would have the same impact on me as they did upon first reading years ago, but here they are (for either how I read, why I read, or how I think about the world I live in). This could potentially be a very long list...

Fiction:
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
Welcome to the Monkey House - Kurt Vonnegut
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

Nonfiction:
Lies My Teacher Told Me - James Loewen
The Rape of Nanking - Iris Chang
A People's History of the United States - Howard Zinn
A Different Mirror - Ronald Takaki
Why I am Not a Christian - Bertrand Russel
Diet for a New America - John Robbins


message 9: by Emily (new)

Emily | 74 comments The first book that came to mind was As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. It didn't really change my perspective on life, per se, but, at the time, as a "writer" it changed my view on what constituted fiction and literature.

Also, maybe Fast Food Nation and The Gradual Vegetarian as they were my first of many reads about nutrition and our really screwed up US food system/culture.


message 10: by Judith (new)

Judith (jloucks) I'm going to go back to Robert Penn Warren's "All The King's Men" again to answer this question.
I think I saw the seedy and selfish side of politics and the some public "do gooders" in this books and have never quite been able to do more than balance that side since I read it when I was in college.

I'm very interested in politics and government programs still, but my expectations are much lower and are seldom exceeded.

I think this book struck me so poignantly mostly because of the living, breathing characters that jumped from the page at me, especially Jack and Willie.


message 11: by Chris (new)

Chris | 85 comments Cosmos - Carl Sagan



message 12: by Tana (new)

Tana Harrison The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I loved the fable style of storytelling.


message 13: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 4 comments Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi and Bury Me Standing by Isabelle Fonseca...
I think someone mentioned Fast Food Nation. werd!

Fictional books are different. I pick up all sorts of stuff from almost everything I read. I would never be able to choose just one, because they have all contributed to my growth as a person. It's like cleaning a dirty window and with every wipe the view gains more clarity and definition (terrible analogy, but w/e).


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Reading The Trial singlehandedly thrust me into my obsession with literature. The next one to really hit me with the same intensity was Journey to the End of the Night. I've pretty much been reading nonstop since Journey trying to find other books as good.


message 15: by Celeste (new)

Celeste (celestelueck) | 54 comments I'd have to say with all honestly: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read to so long ago, I still reread it often and evertime it amazes me how well Lee captured how unjust a people can be. The first time I read it I was very young and although I understood racism, I had never imagined it taking over nearly and entire town. Very enlightening.


message 16: by Jamie (new)

Jamie For reasons similar to Celeste's regarding To Kill a Mockingbird, I would have to say Queen by Alex Haley. Reading this as an early-teenager, it really shocked me how horrible people could be to one another.


message 17: by Mary Todd (new)

Mary Todd (marytodd) | 924 comments Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins It is one of the few books I reread and the only book I have been compelled to underline passages.


message 18: by Stephy (new)

Stephy Jemmisparks (stephyjemmisparks) | 3 comments I think most books had me rearranging my prejudices ....we do that do we not..? It was this list that changed me:
Amazing Grace-Hals Lindsey
In The Eye Of the Storm- Max Lucado
My first steps-Lan Malims
What Katy did- cannot remember author


message 19: by Amadeus (last edited Jul 06, 2008 02:30PM) (new)

Amadeus | 8 comments Screwtape Letters - C.S Lewis
A short history of progress - Ronald Wright


Tera (TheBookishAbyss) | 231 comments Again, I have to turn to the Nancy Drew series which introduced me to a set of morals that I never would have acquired in my regular home life.

As an adult, it would have to be Savage Inequalities by Jonathon Kozol about the monetary discrepencies witnessed in different schools around the US, even schools within the same district/state. It is an eye-opening and tragic portrayal of the inequities perpetrated in the public school system in America, specifically affecting the education of our most needy students.


message 21: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Woodard (sarahewoodardya) | 1 comments As in life changing, it would be Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter.
As in a moral standpoint, it would be Looking for Alaska and The Great Gatspy.


message 22: by Hilda (new)

Hilda Wow! Great question and there were a few books that had this affect on me. The first one would have to be "The Purpose Driven Life". The others were "The Five People You Meet In Heaven", "For One More Day" both by Mitch Albom,"A Woman's Secret to A Well Balanced Life" by Lysa Terkeurst and Sharon Jaynes. There are many more but those are just a few to mention :)


message 23: by Shireen (new)

Shireen | 115 comments I so agree with you Hilda. Mitch Ablom books definitely make you think about your lifes priorities.


message 24: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 235 comments I agree with those who say that different books have had different effects at different points in my life. Tough choices, also.

Youth: "Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain

Teens: The Plays of William Shakespeare

20's: "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer ("Why I Am So Beat" by Vance Bourjaily)

30's: "The Adjusted American" by Snell and Gail Putney ("Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse)

40's: "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" by Harry Browne ("In and Out of the Garbage Pail" by Fritz Perls)

50's: "Man's Search for Meaning" by Victor Frankl

60's: "I'm a Stranger Here, Myself" by Bill Bryson

70's: "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert (so far)


message 25: by Dianna (new)

Dianna (scrappergal) For me as a youth leading into my teenage years and reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe and realizing how other people had been treated just because of their color. I was raised in 'white Idaho' and had no idea of their true struggle. It made me extremely generous and open in my love and acceptance to all people - regardless of the race, ethnicity etc. I graduated with a degree in Multi-Ethnic Studies in college all based on my first reading of this book.


message 26: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 36 comments Lolita, as strange as that sounds. The wordplay contained in Nabokov's novel is astounding and beautiful. It kept me reading even as the subject matter kept my stomach churning.


message 27: by Tracy (last edited Sep 25, 2008 06:32PM) (new)

Tracy | 36 comments After reading Lolita, I became convinced that the measure of a story is truly in its telling. You can despise the narrator, a character, his actions, whatever, but be totally transported by Nabokov's art.

Not everyone buys, this mind you. I've had to explain my choice of "Lolita" as being one of my favorite novels many a time. But to attempt to defend this novel passionately-- which means going to the heart of what literature is, and what its central aims are-- is life-changing, indeed.

Any novel that allows its readers to enter a realm where angels fear to tread and still hear the angel's voices, must continue to be heard-- and read.


message 28: by James (new)

James Nevius Like Emily, above, I'd have to pick Fast Food Nation. Within a few months of finishing it, I was a complete vegetarian.


message 29: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 105 comments Contact by Carl Sagan


message 30: by Meranda (new)

Meranda (msl87) The Great Gatsby

As a little girl, I read every Babysitters Club book. When I got into Middle School and High School, I lost my passion for reading. It wasn't until my Sophomore year AP Lit class that I found it again. We had to read The Great Gatsby and then we watched the movie, and I couldn't believe how much better the book was. From that point on, I always had a book in my hand. And I still love reading books and then watching movies and seeing the difference!


message 31: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine (calibaby27) He's not that into you http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10... by(i forgot lol just go to the link) but this books changed me alot "there are many fish in the sea but who wants to date a fish anyways" that is my motto now i have learned to accept that sometimes guys just arent that into me and when you know u like each other for a really long time if u try to get farther in the relationship and it doesnt work just give up on him and hav some serious fun!


message 32: by librarian4Him02 (new)

librarian4Him02 | 273 comments Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

The book is geared toward a teen/young adult audience, but I found myself very inspired by it. The book challenged my thinking on how I view teens and made me want to step out of my comfort zone to do things that don't come naturally to me. Great read and I highly recommend it.




message 33: by Natalie (new)

Natalie As far as over-all live changing books, I would have to say A Grief Observed By CS Lewis and The Opposite of Fate Memories of a Writing Lifeby Amy Tan.

As far as semi-recent reads, War Journal My Five Years in Iraq really opened my eyes and changed my opinion about the whole Iraq situation.


message 34: by Wendy (last edited Mar 13, 2009 08:32PM) (new)

Wendy I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's OUTLIERS about success and the role of the outlier. Brilliant, a must read.
Best book ever, I love all of the details in each chapter as he analyzes the root of success and successes (Gates, ice hockey pros). At the end he gives a full bibliography of all of his resource material for each chapter. I was engaged and read this book in one sitting. I loved the sports analysis. My son is an outstanding soccer player, who was unlucky enough to be born in August. The Olympic Development favored January birthdays just like in ice hockey. They forget that by age 19 they are all full grown, even the young ones. By then, the young ones have missed the selctive training. The Chinese math chapter was an amazing new learning experience for me. I have always known that hard work is the key to success for my students because they are all smart enough, but some of his outliers would not occur to us without Gladwell's excellent insight


message 35: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey | 12 comments I would have to say E.M. Forster's A Room with a View and Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible.

A Room with a View because it was the first book I truly loved and cherished and have read until it is literally falling apart. I also came across this poem for the first time in it:
"From far, from eve and morning,
And yon twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither: here am I"

The Poisonwood Bible taught me what it means to be haunted.



message 36: by Tristen (new)

Tristen | 60 comments Mine would be:
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Dystopian novels have this incredible power to shock us into critically examining the world we live in. The Bluest Eye was the first Toni Morrison book I read and it just blew me away. She has this amazing gift of being able to write so beautifully about the most horrifying things. I think it's a pity that she is one of the most banned authors.


message 37: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Most of the books that really effected my thinking were books I read when I was younger: Tom Sawyer, Little Women, The Little Princess when I was really young. Go Ask Alice and As I Lay Dying as a teen.




message 38: by Macwolf01 [Elise] (last edited Jul 11, 2010 10:38PM) (new)

Macwolf01 [Elise] (macwolf01) I read a Harliquin romance novel when I was 14, and it changed everything ... I was no longer the kid in class who couldn't read and hated trying to being the kid that loved to read. (I don't remember the name of the 1st one but they became my constant companions for a couple of years).

And sadly my other big book is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, I had stopped reading due to boredom and repeatativeness this book brought back the wonder and fun of reading again and I haven't looked back since. Its like publishers realized that people wanted variety in their reading choices. JMHO


message 39: by Alanna (last edited Aug 21, 2010 07:36PM) (new)

Alanna | 84 comments Prozac Nation: I read it for the first time about ten years ago. I cry every time I read it because it's like someone is looking into my head and my heart.

I agree with Tristen Kiri as well, I love all the books you mentioned and would definitely say they changed my life to some degree.


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