A Town Like Alice - my first 'real' book after I graduated from Enid Blyton! It seemed to go on forever, and that suited me fine. It taught me that I should savour the journey without constantly looking to see where it would end. It also taught me that whatever your heritage, life can take you to strange, unexpected, mundane, frightening and exhilarating places - sometimes within your control and sometimes not. I was intimidated by the thought of formal study after all these years and even now I feel like someone is going to find me out - like I'm not a real university student. Then I sometimes think back to that book to top up my little well of adventure. Cheesy I know - but there you have it!
I don't really think any particular book changed my life on it's own, though probably the set of course books for A211 - Philosophy and the Human Situation - came closest.
There have though been many - mostly classical standards - that have stayed with me over many years: Wuthering Heights, Vantity Fair, Poe's short story The Fall of the House of Usher, H G Wells story The Country of the Blind, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend, David Copperfield. More modern ones have been Prudence and the Pill, To Kill a Mockingbird, Goodbye Mr Chips. Just about anything by Tolstoy or Victor Hugo would also be in the list.
Mine has to be The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. I read it in 1979 after a friend bought it for my 18th birthday. It formed my political understanding and gave me the enthusiam to become politically active. Essential reading for anyone who believes in the power of humanity.
the conan books by robert e.howard. i'd only read comics and books with speech bubbles up to then.
I remember reading Europe since 1870 when I was studying history at school. It was one of the first history books I read that really seemed to connect with the modern world. It was also about more than just 'history', at least as I thought of it then, referring to ideas and art movements and how they influenced events.
Up until that point I'd enjoyed studying history, but it didn't have the same sense of immediacy or promise of helping me to understand the world I lived in as I found in this book. I read Nietzsche's 'Thus spoke Zarathustra' out of curiousity after reading about his 'superman' philosophy and the influence it may have had on people and events. It was very likely the first time I was inspired to read outside and around the core curriculum I was being taught.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert ~ a simple story that simply touched my heart.
Reading all your comments ~ I'm off to my library website to place some book requests!!
Some books that I read as a young adult that really shaped the way i see the world and my interests now:
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
The Forgotten Soldier
Some books I have read recently that I really didn't want to end:
The Life of Pi
The Time Travellers Wife
The Selfish Gene
The Illuminatus! trilogy by Robery Anton Wilson and Robert Shea.
It was actually the stage-show which originally changed my life, at the age of 15, but when I subsequently read the books, they informed my world-view on history, politics, psychology and a host of other topics I've been fascinated by ever since.
It was "To Kill A Mockingbird"
It was the first book that made me think and got me wanting to learn more about the world it was set in.
The most inspiring book for me was probably Roger Hargreaves Mr Tickle. My girlfriend feels the characterisation one dimensional. I disagree - evidently he is two dimensional. But then I’m an engineer and she’s an anthropologist – discuss. Given the current zeitgeist of rising childhood obesity, his follow up (novel?) Mr Greedy is well worth a re-visit, it certainly demonstrates Hargreaves’ prescience and concern for the individual who refuses to conform to the norms of society – admittedly Dosteovskys’ Myshkin may be better drawn : ) but there are strong parallels in both protagonists’ experiences. For my part Mr Greedys’ use of quantative analysis albeit simple (my dinner : giants dinner) did really hit home my understanding of the technique and is something that has aided my assignment writing ever since.
During a recent bus journey, where 3 of the passengers were sneezing, one very thin chap refused to lend his friend 2p towards his bus fare and one small happy chap was babbling away constantly on his mobile phone, I remarked to my girlfriend that an oversized bowler hat may cure us of this Hargreavian dystopia. She became quite annoyed “Dickensian, Faustian, Kafka-esque – but definetly not, Hargreavian “ she barked. I said she was a literary snob , she says I read far too much into things.
Oh well I suppose those comments will be typical from someone who only sees in one dimension.
Carl Sagan's "Dragons of Eden - speculations on the evolution of human intelligence" (1978). I borrowed it from the local library and it led me to study science.
This book hasn't actually changed my life but has articulated everything I've always beleived about the human condition. It is 'Never Let me go' by Kazuo Ishiguro. It really makes you realise how the awareness of mortality that humans have is something that we actively ignore to prevent ourselves from going mad. I found it profoundly disturbing and can't get it out of my mind.
Five Go To Smuggler's Top by Enid Blyton. I was about six and not really old enough to understand it properly, but it set me on course to love reading and I will never forget it. I read Black Beauty after that, and that confirmed for me that I loved to read, although I could never understand why they put - for the names of the streets!!
Funnily enough it was Paul Mackenna's 'Change Your Life in Seven Days' swiftly followed by his 'Instant Confidence'. Nothing magical about it and I was sceptical at first, but it does make you look at your life, decisions and future from a whole new perspective.It took me through a nasty divorce and saw me safely through to the other side...and hey! I kept my sanity:)x
Ness, do either of these books take you through getting confidence for exams?
Louise said: I haven't read one that has 'changed' my life yet, but The Collected Verse of Banjo Patterson takes me to a special place when ever I read it,
Thanks Louise. I had never heard of Banjo Patterson before, so I did a websearch and the first poem I read made me cry, it was so beautiful (about roses). I will be reading more, thanks again.
interesting; so far one person has made a vague allusion to the bible, but as far as I can see (and some of my reading has been brief, so I may have missed it), no one as yet has made it a book that changed their lives.
I too was amazed noone had mentioned the bible for me it is the one book that changed my life forever and I try to read it daily for guidance and inspiration.john 3.16 sums up the essence of why Jesus and what He did for each one of us is so important.Recently I read,"To Kill A Mocking Bird",which had a lot of impact.Also i read my first Dickens Oliver Twist and really enjoyed that and hope to read more Dickens very soon.I loved Jane Eyre and all the Little Women books.Early on I was an avid fan of Enid Blyton.I just love reading it is my favourite thing to do and I feel sorry that some people canot read at all.
I'm not really sure if this book changed my life, but 'The End of Mr Y' by Scarlett Thomas certainly had a profound effect on me. I read it last year whilst on holiday and I'm still coming to terms with how it made me re-evaluate my attitudes to life, relationships and the nature of reality.
Animal Liberation by the philosopher Peter Singer, which opened my eyes to the horrors of factory farming and bought a new word into my vocabulary 'speciesism'. I read it at the age of 18, and went vegetarian immediately. After that, my parents went vegetarian, my partner went vegetarian, and I have bought up 3 vegetarian children. So it not only changed my life but affected other lives too - from a variety of species ;-)
Not sure if it changed my life but it certainly had a big impact, The Celestine Prophecy. I have recommended this to many of my friends. It's a love it or hate it book and I love it. I go back to it often. It really gets you thinking and I'ld say read it and then make up your own mind.
Having also read the Twilight Series recently I can see why this would have an impact. Stephanie Meyer is great at portraying the angst between the main characters and it's quite intense. I'd recommend her other book,The Host too.
It's an oldie but goodie: Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach. Read it a teenager; it awakened my self-confidence and truly changed my life.
I can't think of one book that has changed my life but I'm extremely tempted to make a list of everyone else's, and see if they are the ones I should be reading!
One book that did change my life was the Bible. Not on hearsay and different interpretatations, but when I actually read it. I had a completely different outlook to that what I was taught. Haven't lloked bak since.
There are 2 books really.
The first one is The War of the Worlds by HG Wells. This got me into science fiction in a big way and infuenced me to study science with the OU.
The second, as corny as it sounds, is Lord of the Rings. I have been unemployed, on and off, for six years, and Tolkeins central theme, reinforced by the excellent films, is that you should never give up, no matter how bleak the odds seem. It has given me the determination to keep looking for work.
I have given this a bit of thought and, at first, decided no book has had such an effect on me. Then I remembered Orwell's 1984! I have read this so many times over the years, especially during the 1970s when I was in my 20's. I think this book taught me a lot. G.O. had a lot to say about the world he was living in and it still applies today. But let's not get paranoid!
Derren Brown's Tricks of the Mind, it was the 2nd book i've ever read from front to back, and it definatly changed my life for the better, it got me into philosophy, more into psychology, made me want to read more books, significantly improved my Maths and changed the person that i am.
Well, two books actually: Kay Redfield Jamieson's 'Touched With Fire', about artists thought to have suffered manic depression. This gave me new insight into some painful events in my own life. Following on directly from that, Fiona MacCarthy's biography 'Byron, Life and Legend' which brought the whole subject to life and helped me address some of my own problems - not artistic, literary, legend or sexual, I might add!!! Overall, these two books helped me realise that there are benefits to even the most negative experiences, and gave me some confidence to develop what little artistic talent I may have.
It was, without any doubt, A Course in Miracles. Studying the Workbook for Students section twelve years ago almost immediately led to altered and possibly permanent changes to my perceptions; now almost exclusively visual but at the time global, affecting every sensory modality. What the author claimed the students would see, I saw. His descriptions are literal, not metaphorical or allegorical.
Foolishly, I informed my GP. He referred me to a psychiatrist who diagnosed a psychotic illness. I have been prescribed almost every known antipsychotic in an attempt to "normalise" my perceptions. None has worked. Instead, I had in addition to endure side-effects that were far worse than the original symptoms: Parkinsonism, tremendous weight gain, drooling, drowsiness.... and the prejudice and stigma that comes from being labelled mentally ill. I lost my job, my home, my colleagues, my family, my income and for a while my dreams and ambitions.
Last year, I took the unilateral decision to stop all medication, now with my consultant's consent, and have not looked back. Enrolling on an OU degree course is the first major step in my plan to retrain for future employment and realise the dreams I thought had been lost.
I have just read a book which didn't necessarily change my life but which was quite an eye opener in some conext. The book is called "Think Big" from Ben Carson and details the importance of reading and knowledge through his life story. Nothing earth shattering and no rocket science but I liked the novel / documentary style writing which is easy to absorb during my daily subway commute. It made me think about a few things which I usually take for granted such as the "gift" each and every one has, our signature skill if you want, which it takes to put to good use to achieve extraordinary performance. After a nice long day of endless and sometimes pointless meetings, I had a good laugh but also moments of deep sole searching trying to discover my true signature skill - which I might have found in photography btw...
I have 2 books that changed my life.
1. The Knot Garden- Gabriel King. A new friendship grew due to this book, we chatted about it and soon were unseprable. It meant that much to us that i placed it in Glyn's (my friends) coffin when she sadly passed away.I have my copy still and will keep it with me untill i am no longer here.
2. Tuesdays with Morrie-mitch Albom. This book was given to me after Glyn passes away, i found it helped me through the hard times.
Books are more than just words on a page, they can bring people together and help in times of need.
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