Books That Changed My Life

In which I examine the books that I carry with me inside. Not literally.

Melodramatic title, no? But I’ve been thinking about the books that changed my life in some way. So in no particular order, and in no way complete…

1. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by EL Konigsberg–This was the first book that I remembered the title and author of from when I was a child.  I loved this book. I read it so many times. I wanted to be a runaway, except that I had no reason, but moreover I wanted a secret. I still haven’t run away, and I’m pretty short on secrets too, but I still think about this book with such fondness. As soon as my children were old enough, I bought them a copy to devour. I don’t know if they loved it as much as I did, but it stood the test of time. I loved reading it as an adult almost as much as when I was a child.

2. The Chronicles of Prydain by Llyod Alexander –My very first fantsy series if you don’t count the Grimms. And his was name I remembered as well. For whatever reason the double L at the beginning of his name fascinated me. But I digress. I don’t really remember the stories very much at all, but I do remember falling in love with magic and fantasy. I was very young when I read them and always intended to get back to them and never did. And the character Taran has always remained in my heart as the perfect hero even if I can’t remember what he did.

3. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury–I didn’t read this until I was an adult. It was assigned to my eighth grade daughter as summer reading. She and her friends didn’t understand it, so they gave it to me to read and help them understand. I loved it. It is a series of vignettes connected by one summer in a boy’s life. They aren’t even his stories for the most part, but stories that affect him and help him grow. The next year, I got a job teaching at my daughter’s school and then I taught the book for the next seven years. I loved teaching this book. The Helen Loomis chapter made me cry every year, Col. Freeleigh made me want to live, and the Ravine sent chills down my spine. It is a book filled about magic, and yet there isn’t anything supernatural in it. It is a book that affirms life like no other.

4. Bewitching by Jill Barnett–I had reached a rut in my reading about two decades ago (God, has it really been that long?) and then I came across this book. It was the first book that made me laugh out loud and then cry (real tears–it was pathetic) at the end in years. I was feeling like I had lost all my emotions and this book help me find them again. Now I cry at TV commercials.

Some (very few) of my favorite books--the ones that were close enough that I could take this pictures quickly.
Some (very few) of my favorite books–the ones that were close enough that I could take this pictures quickly.

5. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov–When I was a teenager, I swore I hated science fiction. Not for me, said I. And then in high school I had the chance to take the class that all the students said was the best English class my school offered. So I signed up for it, holding little hope that I’d like the topic. Boy, was I wrong. It was the best English class, but I LOVED the science fiction. What the hell had I been thinking? This stuff was terrific. And Asimov’s book was probably my favorite of the ones we read (including Princess of Mars, Stars My Destination, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Martian Chronicles). I also taught this book to students, many of whom claimed they didn’t like science fiction either. Hahaha.

I didn’t realize when I started writing this blog that it was going to appear in parts. I have to continue because I still have a whole list of books that I haven’t mentioned yet. So thus concludeth part the first.


Books I’m reading now:

Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Azkaban by JK Rowling


2 thoughts on “Books That Changed My Life

  1. Levi

    Very cool list! I recently read some Bradbury and now want to explore him more. Similar thing happened a couple years ago when I got into Asimov–now I’m reading a few of his books per year. Really enjoyed I, Robot even this late in the game. Check out my review if you’d like:

    Also found out about The Chronicles of Prydain online recently. Had never heard of it but seems right up my alley! Maybe I’ll have to read it alongside my sons when they are old enough.

    Take care.

  2. Gabi Stevens

    Your take on I, Robot was spot on. Some of the stories are better than the others, but overall, they are fun. And having a roboticist for a husband, I too am of the side that says robots are good. And if they’re not, there’s always a giant kill switch nearby (OSHA, you know).
    Thanks for commenting and reading my blog.

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