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Book Chat > What book has changed your life?

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message 1: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Elizabeth (candlestick) | 8 comments There have been several books that have shaped my character and broadened my horizons. What book has changed your life and how?

Fight Club by Chuck Palanuick made me question how my society influences me. It's also just a really great novel that I think every person, especially guys, should read. The Bible has also changed my life, but I know there is a lot of views on whether that book is fact or fiction.

message 2: by Maranda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Maranda hmmmmmm magic books.fary tales changed my life bc they made me love them - sigh - Wooooooow hi im new here

message 3: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
Elizabeth, Did you mean to say The Bile or The Bible?

message 4: by Megan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Megan | 1 comments mere christianity by c.s. lewis.

i read this book at a time in my life where i was angry with God and questioning my faith. this book turned my life around. the way c.s. lewis writes in such matter-of-fact, "lay man's terms," helped me recognize that i could be frustrated, angry, question, etc. my faith and still be a Christian... that it is okay to not be the "perfect Christian" that it is a slow process. this relieved a lot of pressure to reach those high expectations i had set for myself. i gave my life back to Christ.

message 5: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
Into The Wild awakened a carnal desire to enter the wilderness living free.

message 6: by Jeannie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Jeannie | 13 comments "Sophie's Choice" by William Styron was one of the most powerful books I have ever read.
I read it at a time in my life where I was forming opinions about the world around me and my relationship with that world. The novel showed me how truly horrible human beings can treat each other in the name of what they feel is the right way. It made me think long and hard about acceptance of others and their beliefs and it made me want to handle that acceptance with grace and understanding.

If anyone is interested in how evil a fanatic belief can become, I suggest reading this book. Boils it all down to a nutshell !

message 7: by Beth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Beth (lillybeth) "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, was the first feminist novel I recognized as being that was a watershed moment for me.

"The Grapes of Wrath" by Steinbeck led me to the vocation of Social Work.

All of Willa Cather's books give me a quiet respite from modern life.

message 8: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Elizabeth (candlestick) | 8 comments I definitely want to check out some of these books. Thanks for answering. Yes Wes, I meant "Bible". Oops!

message 9: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Elizabeth (candlestick) | 8 comments Megan,
Have you read The Screwtape Letters? If so, what did you think?

message 10: by Dana (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Dana (librareader) | 6 comments For me I think of 2 books. "Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo and "Zami: A New Spelling of My Name" by Audre Lourde.

message 11: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) Wow, these questions are really hard to answer. After all, where to start? The Oz books? Charlotte's Web? Call it Courage? Many books have changed my life, but life is long and books are many.

Books I have read recently that can in some sense be called transformative or epiphinaic include The Lucifer Principle by Bloom. This book can provide you with deep insight into the historical process and the evolution of our social institutions especially religions and governments. It is a polemic of sorts, not strictly speaking science, but I do research on a lot of the math that underlies his conclusions and I believe they are dead on the money. Much more fun to read than e.g. Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Another one (and I know you'll think this one is crazy) is Neal Stephenson's entire Baroque Cycle, starting with Quicksilver. This is basically a fictional retelling of the Enlightenment, as seen from inside. Sort of a Three Musketeers but with Isaac Newton and other major players as protagonists. It is (to a physicist/philosopher) simply awesome, and a damn good read too, lots of plot and action and absurdity and humor.

The last one I'm going to post even though when you see it you'll know I'm crazy. There is a short monograph by a physicist named Richard Cox on material that originated back in the 40's and that was written up into the monograph form some years later. It is entitled The Algebra of Probable Inference. This book is one that I can honestly describe as transformative.

For the students of philosophy in this group (and I know you're out there as I have read at least some of your profiles:-) you are doubtless aware of the work of David Hume, who might be called the Seal of the Philosophers, as he proved mathematically and logically that logic applied to the real world is at heart an inconsistent fallacy or (as I prefer to put it) he proved that Philosophy is Bullshit. Those of you who are not students of philosophy may well have arrived at a similar conclusion on your own, likely for similar reasons...;-) The flaw in our theory of knowledge is that, lacking a logical theory of induction, we cannot logically deduce knowledge of the real world from observations, and observations are really all that we have. Consequently when we argue about points of religion or philosophy or even science, neither side can ever be proven correct using pure reason, observation, or any combination of the two.

Cox comes as close as it is mathematically possible to come to refute Hume. Hume wins on a technicality, but one that shouldn't matter to anyone as what Cox describes in this book is how we know anything at all about the world we live in. He introduces three simple axioms, axioms that embody what most of us would call "common sense", and from it derives a rigorous theory of ordinal induction that includes Bayesian probability theory as one of its realizations and which includes all of Aristotelian or Boolean logic as one of its special, limiting, never realized in nature cases.

This is a book that by rights should have had an enormous impact on modern philosophy, and if I have my way one day it will. I'm working on a book that I hope will explain this all in a way that anybody can understand. In the meantime, Cox's book is remarkably readable, certainly accessible to anybody with a bit of exposure to logic or algebra. It is far more text than algebra -- he describes how it all works because the actual derivations he presents are quite simple.


message 12: by Dana (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Dana (librareader) | 6 comments I think that this is a REALLY hard question to ask. I mean the books that I listed had a very deep impact on me emotionally and informed my way of thinking, the way I saw the world and myself afterward, but I am always hesitant to say "changed my life". That is an incredibly powerful thing to say about anything, including a book. I have read many powerful books, some were even books that I have not particularly liked and would never list as a favorite. Also, there are SO MANY books that I have not read yet, It's a more difficult question than it seems at first.

message 13: by Peggy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Peggy | 3 comments Never Talk To Strangers by Irma Joyce. I remember that the book was large, and purple. It had a crazy illustration on the front, the centerpiece of which was a huge lavender whale driving a model T, complete with driving goggles. When I was little, I used to beg my Mom to read this book to me every day. She did, bless her, and started pointing at the words as she spoke them over and over. One day, something clicked, and the squiggly marks on the page suddenly made sense. I started reading the book to myself, and I've never stopped reading.

message 14: by lilias (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

lilias There's a list of books that I could choose for my answer that would create a stack a mile high, but I have to say Slaughterhouse Five for sure.

I read it in a Countercultures English elective during my senior year of high school. Late for my first Vonnegut, huh? But oh man did I love this book. I've read more Vonnegut than any other author, and none has compared to that first book.

Finally I had found an author who was poignant, funny, and different from anyone else I had read until that point. I needed that in high school.
I still love his voice.

message 15: by LJ (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:01PM) (new)

LJ (ljroberts) Were I to list the five book that truly changed my life they would be:

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
It's the first book I ever bought with my own money and the one that started me on the ill-fated road of being a book collector.
2. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
The first book I ever read of the Arthurian legend and the one that set the bar for me. It introduced me to the world of fantasy, romance, historical epics, and chivalric characters.
3. Working by Studs Turkel
It's hard to explain the impact this book had on me. It made me re-evaluate my attitudes toward people and prejudice and made me realize that we are all, everywhere, basically the same.
4. Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell
Allowed me to recognize that I could separate faith from religion.
5. Grist for the Mill by Ram Dass and many books by Alan Watts
Took me further down the path of defining my own beliefs and faith.

message 16: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:03PM) (new)

Elizabeth (candlestick) | 8 comments Thanks everybody for answering me. And King, I loved
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" also.

message 17: by Courtney (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Courtney Stirrat Hmmm. . . There are so many I can think of, but I will try to limit it to a few.

1. Charlotte's Web because it was the first "big book" I read as a young child and is almost entirely responsible for my love of reading.

2. My Name is Asher Lev because it gave me so many clues on how to survive and thrive in a painful and often contradictory world.

3. The House of Mirth because it reminded me of the beauty, fun and sheer deliciousness of nineteenth century writing and that one need not slog through chapters of painful ponderousness for an incredible literary experience.

4. A Pilgrimage to Our Ancestors because I learned that now, fully out of school and in the midst of my professional life that I can "learn" and struggle with a new topic and come away with a wonderful new educational experience. It also reminded me that not believing in a God is just fine and something that has its own richness of experience and history.

5. Home for a Bunny because it reminds me of the life my Partner and I have built together.

message 18: by Candy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Candy Oh shesh, I could write a huge list on books that have influencd or changed my life...mostly by altering the way I think.

One of the first books to change my life was Diet For A Small Planet I started getting interested in how we grow food, organic food and eating less meat...but more importantly meat that was game, wild or free range and well taken care vegies too.

Another book to change my life...was more that it added to things I already felt...One River by Wade Davis was so inspiring I've read it a couple of times. Here is Wade Davis speaking...

It's a video about 20 minutes longbut it really represents a different way of thinking how other cultures live...

message 19: by Kristi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Kristi (target) | 14 comments White Fang. It opened up the world of books for me, and was the first story that really got my interest.

message 20: by Lawriter (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:18PM) (new)

Lawriter | 4 comments I'd have to say Stephen J. Cannell's Three Shirt Deal, a great mystery in the Shane Scully series.
Detective Shane Scully must choose between saving his marriage, having an affair or freeing an innocent man:

message 21: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
This subject has been archived I thought I would bring it back to see what the new folks think.

message 22: by Letitia (new)

Letitia | 2 comments I think I have been affected in different ways by strong books in various genres. Some of the ones that immediately come to mind:

1. Reason for the Hope Within

2. When We Were Orphans

3. Chronicles of Narnia

4. Haroun and the Sea of Stories

5. Beautiful Girlhood

6. What is the What

message 23: by Letitia (new)

Letitia | 2 comments Ooh, and Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. Fabulous! I like it better than To Kill A Mockingbird. Brilliantly written.

message 24: by Carol (new)

Carol Bro (cjbro) | 34 comments The Bible
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Last Lecture

message 25: by Jim (new)

Jim | 112 comments I would have to say that the 1st book that changed my life outlook was THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH by William Shirer - I read it the Summer between 8th and 9th grade which was probably too young to read such a book

( My Mother was a teenager who lived in Warsaw during WWII and after I read THE RISE AND FALL, I realized the human spirit can overcome even the worst atrocities and an individual can retain their humanity even growing up in such an environment)

other books since then have had their effect too

DON QUIXOTE by Cervantes
a lot of Shakespeare

message 26: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Filipe (lisapos) | 4 comments I always remember the way I felt after reading The Outsiders and Ordinary People. Its funny how some books touch you in a way that others cant and these two always stand out in my mind.

message 27: by Dima (new)

Dima | 3 comments The Hobbit...this is the book that got me heavy into reading and loving it.

message 28: by Soad (new)

Soad (jumping_crickets) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  by Betty Smith i loved this book

message 29: by Amanda (last edited Oct 13, 2011 02:56PM) (new)

Amanda (porterak) NO doubt in my mind it would have to be " Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Such a great book and really gets you to think about the things you are doing in life.

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