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books, books, and more books! > Life Changing Books

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message 1: by Tami (last edited Jul 06, 2011 09:51AM) (new)

Tami | 3103 comments Mod
Is there a book (or several books) you have read that have changed your life in some way? If so what book and what was the change? I am not thinking self-help books or religious texts. I seem to see things differently after reading certain books and was wondering if others had similar experiences.

Example of one of mine: Last Wish by Betty Rollin I already had my thoughts on euthanasia. I felt it was a horrible thought. After reading the book, I see things differently.


message 2: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker For me, Steinbeck's East of Eden had some life-changing truths in it. I don't want to go too much into detail so as to not spoil anything, but it made me think about forgiveness and free-choice.


message 3: by Adam (new)

Adam | 83 comments This will probably sound very twisted but one of the more influential books on my life was Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom and Other Writings by Marquis de Sade. Some people read Sade for the offensive nature, the incredible sexual violence that he portrays, but for me it was the justifications on why you should be allowed to do such things. It really challenged the way I thought about society or what a relationship means. Maybe my outlook is more jaded than before, but I feel more free in my ability to question and challenge any type of preconceived notion thanks to this author. Sure the sexual violence is there for the sheer shock value, but the philosophy is very potent. I am not saying I agree with any of his justifications... I am just saying that it was nice to have mine challenged to such an intense degree.

I am sure there are other books around in my collection that have influenced me such as Sherlock Holmes for the wonderful analytic nature of the character. Or "Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman" about that wonderful Physicist I admire so much. Or "Math Gene" which made me think more deeply about my mind and what I do with it in my field.


message 4: by Tami (new)

Tami | 3103 comments Mod
I just remembered this over the weekend. The Boxcar Children first book made me realize that even though I was a kid, that there were a lot of things I could do/accomplish. I remember thinking most adults treat us like babies, but look what these kids did. I think I was 10 or 11 and I moved all the stuff out of my bedroom into my sisters, and tried to walk to the store to buy paint. My mom ended up driving us to the store and letting me paint my room green. :)


message 5: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition was the first book I read in college, and it really opened my eyes to the fact that water problems exist. I grew up in Minnesota (unimaginable amounts of water), and it never occurred to me that any of this was real. I read this book again senior year for another class, the changes in how I view the world after college are just astonishing. This book set me on the path I'm on now, I want to go to grad school for water resources science and hopefully help us manage water into the future so we can survive peacefully (much of the world's conflict will soon be about water, and much of it already is) as this precious resource becomes more scare.
I think part of why this books means so much is that it really does provide a measuring stick for me of my changes in view. I used a different colored highlighter/pen senior year...and just looking at the notes I took...wow.


message 6: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (samhanson) | 179 comments I agree about Chomsky! I read Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance recently and while it confirmed a lot of what I already believed, it also taught me so much about American corruption.

I read Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger freshman year of college and it helped me a lot. For a while I was pretty lonely and didn't make friends very quick but the book showed me that you don't need a lot of friends to be happy and that it's ok to be sulky sometimes. Haha, it sounds corny but it meant a lot to me. Unfortunately, right after I finished it was when Salinger died.


message 7: by Annie (new)

Annie (agrunwe) Anything by Ayn Rand. I don't think you have to be a hardcore 'Objectivist' to get something meaningful out of her books, as long as you keep in mind the fact that she was nuttier than squirrel poop.


message 8: by Nikki (new)

Nikki This is probably quite cliché, but The Catcher in the Rye had a huge impact on me. It was the first book that made me realize I wasn't alone, that there were other people out there who thought and felt the same things as me. The same can be said of The Sorrows of Young Werther.


message 9: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (counttess) Kirsten wrote: "Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition was the first book I read in college, and it really opened my eyes to the fact that water problems exist...."

That's really cool that a book you read actually influenced your entire future. Awesome!!

I would have to say The Little Princess. I read this book a million times when I was a kid, and even today a approach situations with "what would Miss Sara Crewe do?" She was so kind, collected, and even when she went through struggle, she remained as calm as any person could be, and it turned out great in the end. I believe the best part is that it didn't turn out absolutely perfect - she still didn't have her father - but it did turn out great.


message 10: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 61 comments I started re-reading some old favourite books over the holidays and came across a book that I found incredibly inspiring a few years ago, A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher. It made me want to learn more about everything from science to mythology and it's still one of the reasons why I want to travel as much as possible. It let me imagine a world outside of school.


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (ladytaco) | 6 comments The Giver by Lois Lowry changed my life because it was the first reading assignment I had for school that I actually loved and it was the book that made me start reading for fun. Now I crave books because I love reading so much!


message 12: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (fictionshewrote) The first love of my heart will always be The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It really taught me the beauty and power of words. I remember reading it as a child and soaking up the thought of secret places and children finding magic where adults could not and old, forgotten things made new and beautiful once more.


message 13: by Louise (last edited Nov 19, 2013 04:22PM) (new)

Louise There's a few. I read Is Anybody Listening? when I was 11 and it had a major influence on me- it was the first time I truly understood that billions of people, especially children did not live in the comfortable bubble that I lived in. It's what got me into activism. Jane Eyre has had a major influence on my life. I read it when I was 11 and I thought she was the coolest woman ever. She's incredibly smart, really independent and she follows her conscience, even when doing so hurts her. She was, and still is a huge role model for me.


message 14: by Bobby (new)

Bobby Brown | 2 comments I just read One Day Contract by Rick Pitino and it opened my eyes to living life a day at a time. It also made me more aware of how important effort and focus is on your success.


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