Sunday, May 18, 2014

Changed My Life

While cleaning my humble abode, I've been thinking about books. There are so many out there. Too many for me to ever read them all. Heck, I really wouldn't want to read them all. Because even though there are good books, there are bad ones too. 

This isn't about the terrible novels. This is about the books that changed my life. 

A little dramatic, right? How can books change someone's life? Well, I'm going to tell you, because that's generally what I do on this here bloggy thing. I talk about stuff. All sorts of stuff. 

Here they are, in a very specific and thought out order, the five books that changed my life. 

1. The beginning is the beginning. When I was young, I had trouble reading, which I now find humorous, mostly because I love words so much. I know I was definitely put into a special ed. because of my inability to make words from letters on pages, but I don't actually remember going more than once. Interesting how the brain works, right? Anyhow, there were a couple books my parents used to sit down and read in order to help me get better. One of them was the Berenstain Bears book - The Bike Lesson. 

Why is this book so important? 

Because I memorized it front to back and tricked my parents into thinking I could read. This might not seem like such a big deal, but it turned out to be a spectacular thing for my developing brain. As I recited 'first come the lessons, then the fun' to my dad, I learned how powerful the brain was. Sure, I couldn't read it, but I remembered it all, and I came to the realization that I would one day be able to read. Sure, it was going to take a bit, but one day it would click and I catch up in school.

This book taught me I could do amazing things.  

2. Up next is a book that instilled in me the wonder of imagination. As far back as I can remember, I have always loved creating worlds, characters, plots - but it started somewhere. I don't actually know who first read me The Secret World of Og, or if it was something I read on my own in school, but I fell in love with the world over run with mushrooms beyond the trapdoor where the green creatures who live there know only one word. Og. 

Also, this might have been the book that stoked my love for alliteration. After all, the characters in the book are Penny, Pamela, Peter, Patsy and Paul. Enough said. 

This book taught me that if you have an imagination you will always have an escape. 

3. Okay, so I had to do some math in order to get the why of this one accurate and it seems a bit off. Prancer (the Christmas movie) came out in 1989 and I distinctly remember leaving my sister's copy of The Witching Hour by Anne Rice in the bathroom of the Guildford theatre. Why do I remember this? Because I honestly thought she was going to be enraged over it. Turns out, she never knew. Actually, I don't even know if she is aware of this fact now. I never told her and she never asked where her book was. But if this is correct, then I actually started reading horror at a very young age, at least age seven. The Witching Hour isn't my number three book, though. 

It's Carrie. Without Stephen King I doubt I'd have such a love for horror, books and movies. King also taught me some very important lessons when it comes to less is more. A lot of the terror in his writing comes from allowing the reader to conjure up the scariness on their own. This is why a lot of his novels don't translate well to the big screen, or at least that's what I think. As for Misery, it made me want to become a writer. That was a little joke. 

This book taught me never to pour pig blood on anyone. 

4. The Outiders by S.E Hinton. Don't laugh. It was eighth grade and the whole class was assigned the book. I took it home and devoured it. Probably didn't help that I was obsessed with the fifties and sixties and kind of thought I belonged in those eras. There is a sadness in this book that is only outshone by hope. It's really about love and friendships. And how there are some mistakes you'll mkae that will change you.  

Did you know S.E was actually a girl and that she actually wrote the book while she was still in high school? Crazy and inspirational.  

This book taught me the importance of captivating characters with flaws. 

5. This last one might actually be a bit surprising as it also comes from my high school days. The book is Of Mice and Men and the author is John Steinbeck. Now, let me make it clear, this isn't my favourite Steinbeck novel. So, why is it here? 

Because it introduced me to Steinbeck, who has, over the years, become one of the most cherished authors of my life. His writing is both inspirational and humbling. All his novels have similar themes about human nature and have a tenancy to revolve around greed, love, trust, and immorality. Still, he can craft a very beautiful sentence. 

This book taught me not all classics are boring. 

What about you? What are some books that changed you life? 

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