Some books leave a mark on you. Some of them make you fall in love with the act of reading. Some make you want to be as great a writer as the author. I have books in my life that have made an impact for different reasons.
“Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden was one of the first books the captivated me. I wasn’t an avid reader through school. I spent my time writing instead. Once out of school I’d read every now and then, but was very fussy on what I’d pick up. I gave “Geisha” a go after the movie had been released. I told myself I could not watch the movie until I’d read the book.
I did not want to put this book down. I’d spend my time at work wrapped up in thoughts about the last chapter I read and needing to know what happened next. That rush is what I want for my readers. I want someone to race home from school or work because they can’t stand not knowing how the book ends.
“The Executioner” by Chris Carter was the first book I fangirled over. I tell every one about this book (and the series). It was left behind and unclaimed at a hotel I worked at, and I read it at night, alone on my shifts. It was gripping, scary and gruesome. I love this book because I discovered it on my own and by accident. I loved it without anyone recommending it to me. It was like a rare find.
“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker is the best diverse book I’ve read. It reminds me how important it is to read about different cultures and time periods. I loved the writing style of the two points of views, and different ways of living in that time. The experience impacted me because I chose to read the book. It wasn’t required reading at school. I had an immersive experience unencumbered by writing essays on its importance.
“One Day” by David Nicholls is one of my all-time-favourites. I feel like I’m in a special club because I found it before the movie was made. This story was impactful because of the complexity of the character development. The story revolves around Emma and Dexter, who meet on the last day of college. The story follow the two, the exact date every year later until they are in their forties. I cried, I laughed, I was angry. I began the story loving Dexter and hating Emma, and then the tables flipped. The characters had dreams as young adults and then you grow with them to see if their dreams do or do not come true. Every one should read this book!
I wanted “Bossypants” by Tina Fey as soon as I heard about its release. I began watching “30 Rock” at a time when my confidence was shattered and I was rebuilding my sense of self. Liz Lemon taught me how much I rock as a weird, opinionated, junk-food eating, romanticising goof-ball. The life changing part of “Bossypants” was where she speaks about working as a receptionist at the YMCA. She said she was ‘good at her job’ but wanted to be in comedy; writing and performing skits. My life right now is working in administration, but busting my hump to make it as a writer and sell books. Tiny Fey teaches me: I Can and I Will.
And lastly, the award for making me ugly cry goes to: “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green. No book made me so invested that I sob hard and raw. It was beautiful. The characters are either living with or have survived cancer. But they aren’t sad sacks. They have the best sense of humour I’ve ever read. Even when I was making awful crying noises, the characters still managed to make me laugh. OMG. I already want to reread it so I can annotate so many quotes!
I deal with sad subject matter in the “Brittany & Charli” series. I wonder if I could ever get a reader to cry like John Green made me cry?
What book(s) changed your life? Was it because something was happening in your personal life at the time? Did reading it make you feel safe or transported? Did it make you want to read more, or to become a writer yourself?
As always, there is a link to the related video, here.