What Book Changed Your Life?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Asked this one simple question, a variety of friends, family, coworkers, and even near-strangers gave me their answers: the books that changed their lives or had the greatest impact on them. In this collaborative blog post you can see what they said and why they felt so moved by these particular books.

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
(Chosen by Hailey Almsted)
"Even though Perks came out in the 90s, it's still such a relatable novel! Though not always noticeable, everyone is going through something, everyone is the same. The issues in the book are real, they aren't overly dramatic, but instead raw, real feelings."

2. Harry Potter series
(Chosen by John Burdick)
"Harry Potter was the first book I read for fun as an adult. It was the book that made me fall in love with reading."

3. Ishmael Daniel Quinn
(Chosen by Ross Bagurdes)
"Ishmael created the first and most powerful paradigm shift in my life. It answered questions I didn't know to ask, especially about culture, the environment, and philosophy. It exposed the story I'd been taught, and embraced, of humanity as not as "true" as my young naive self expected."

4. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
(Chosen by Kelly Klein)
"The book was a true story about a woman whose mother passed away and after feeling lost about how to move forward, she decided to hike over 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. I could relate to the struggle she experienced after losing her mother since I had lost my own prior to reading the book. I admired her determination to push herself and do something completely out of her comfort zone in order to get her life back on track. The book made me laugh and cry. I found it inspiring and the feelings of loss were so relatable for me. It really stayed with me."

5. Boy Meets Depression by Kevin Breel
(Chosen by Catrice Vukodinovich)
"Boy Meets Depression by Kevin Breel was a friend to me in one of the darkest times of my life. Sometimes you need to go into the dark to appreciate the light, and this book was my light. Through Kevin’s words I caught myself nodding along to each part of his story, he could demystify depression through his honest account of his personal struggle and he put into words the feelings I was desperately trying to describe. This book has helped me to heal and accept the dark parts of my life, and been a beacon of hope to stay alive."

6. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
(Chosen by Hunter Throndsen)
"For me milk and honey validated the fact that emotional pain exists, and that it can be hard to fight through. It made me realize that I am whole by myself, and while I am not perfect, I am enough."

7. Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch
(Chosen by Tracey Catarozoli)
"In conversations with God, the author invites you to see things differently. To see god not as vindictive and one to fear. He challenges you to see yourself in a beautiful way filled with possibility. To see the world and yourself with less judgment and more possibility of grandeur."

8. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Chosen by Jan Guyer)
"I have always wanted to be a pioneer. I lived on a farm in my childhood and always connected with Laura and her mischievous life... I, like her, raised animals, fished, rode horses, butchered, and moved. I also got bitten by leeches, stung by many bees, fell in the lake, stole apples and got caught, dumped the milk I had just traded eggs for, and got a huge stomach ache from eating too many strawberries when I was supposed to be picking them. I loved life on the farm as does Laura. Oh and I'm now a teacher too!"

9. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
(Chosen by Mallory Wilczynski)
"It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly how or why the The Language of Flowers made such a lasting impression on me. Maybe it was because it opened my eyes to the tumultuous foster care system, or because it sparked my curiosity about flowers. What I do know is that Vanessa Diffenbaugh reminded me that everyone has a past and we all love differently."

10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(Chosen by Jennifer Minhas)
"I read TKM in middle school, but probably didn't fully understand many social aspects of the book until adulthood. Looking back I realize how much I related to Scout, her openness and inquisitiveness about how the world worked. The notion of how we treat each other with respect for who we are, not for what we look like or due to reputation impacted me. This tenet is a truth to live by in all times."

11. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
(Chosen by Cameron Brocklehurst)
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance showed me that there are many benefits to analyzing a situation with both a purely objective and logical mind, and a subjective emotional side, and that even though some people may see the world differently than me, that does not make them wrong."

And because this is my blog, here are 3 of the books that have had the greatest impact on me:

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book showed me an entirely new perspective of a period in history that I thought I knew a lot about. It taught me the true and deep value of home and friendship, and reassured me that books and words really can change lives. And his incredible writing reminded me why I love to write.

2. Citizen by Claudia Rankine
This beautiful piece of writing is an impressively eye-opening one. It again showed me a new perspective on a life I haven't lived and was so brutally and painfully honest that it was impossible not to be changed and moved by it.

3. Jenny Lawson's books
I've read Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and I'm currently reading Furiously Happy. Not only are Jenny's books incredibly funny and bizarre and charming, but they also taught me that it's okay to feel different, that mental illness isn't something that defines you, but it can be a big part of your life, and that women should be able to speak bluntly and openly about their lives and opinions without caring about retaliation or judgment. She's a major role model to me as a writer and a person.

P.S. See my website to hire me as a freelance writer.
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