The Books That Changed My Life

The Books That Changed My Life

Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians, and Other Remarkable People

Book - 2016
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Collects one hundred reflections by prominent authors, politicians, actors, musicians, and celebrities on a book that changed their lives.


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Sep 29, 2016

This collection is, at times, too directionless and lacking cohesion to be considered a group of essays examining the same topic. Some contributors openly deny having read any life-changing books, with one stating she doesn't believe books can change lives. However, even these outliers qualify their thoughts on the subject at hand, some in really interesting ways. Fran Leibowitz discusses how her life *is* reading, rather than how any singular book may've impacted her life.

Some standouts are by Mayim Bialik -- yes, Blossom! -- who writes of reading Hopscotch by Julian Cortázar to her dying father. This piece was so moving, I cried. Another great addition that moved me to actual tears was R.L. Stine's piece on the influence of horror and humour in his own life, referring back to old creepshows of radio and TV, as well as memories of his mother reading Collodi's original Pinocchio to him each night before bed. I was a total nut for R.L. Stine's books growing up, so I read his piece a few times...loved it.

Other interesting contributors:

- Douglas Coupland, who talks the confluence of literature and art in his life
- Gillian Flynn
Mira Jacob, who writes a very short piece on identity in literature that was like a knife in my heart
- Porochista Khakpour on Jean Rhys's now-very popular novel, Good Morning, Midnight
- Laura Lippman on Nabokov's Lolita...splendid
- Celeste Ng on Harriet the Spy
- John Scalzi, one of my favorite writers of locked-room stories, writes of devouring The People's Almanac and how it led him in so many directions
-Sarah Waters on the inimitable Angela Carter and her fairy tale "re-do", The Bloody Chamber

This collection is great because everyone will find a contributor and/or book they can relate to.

Thumbs up!


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