A book that changed my life? There are plenty of books that changed my life, some in bigger ways than others. I think I will talk about two books/series that changed my life and leave it up to the reader to decide what “wins.” This is not an exhaustive list, but thinking of books that “changed my life” is rather difficult. Mostly, books have had gradual effects on my life with many books changing me over long periods of time. To point to one and say, “this changed my life,” isn’t very appropriate for me.
Jane Eyre changed my life. I read it for the first time in middle school (actually, I read an abridged version in second or third grade, but didn’t read the full version until middle school). How did it change my life? It alerted me to my love of nineteenth century British literature. It might not sound like a big deal, but reading Jane Eyre led to reading all of Jane Austen’s works, all of Charlotte Bronte’s works, Anne Bronte’s works, Wuthering Heights, North & South, and numerous other works from that time period. For two years in high school this area of fiction was my primary source of reading material. These books had a big effect on my vocabulary, my writing style, and my understanding of certain periods of history. I love books more because of these particular authors and titles (except W.H., bleh). They have affected my taste in movies and my enjoyment of other books. I even think in British spelling.*
The Golden Compass and its sequels also changed my life. I was not raised in a religious household, but I did believe in god. See my “Amanda Became an Atheist” page for a more in depth explanation, but the gist is that reading those three Philip Pullman books made me question religion and belief in a much stronger way than before. They were a catalyst for freethought. Important, no?
*That statement might not make sense to many of you. It is, admittedly, quite odd. An illustration: More than once I’ve been taking notes in class and seen “behavior” on the board, mindlessly copied the word, then looked down to see “behaviour.”