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As National Book Festival approaches, we wonder: Which books changed your world?


By now, it's common knowledge that the printed word is fast losing ground to the Wild Wild Web. It's safe to say as we become more immersed in a world of Tweets, blogs and all things bulleted, we begin to forget what made us first start sneaking our favorite stories under the covers after bedtime.

If you're looking for a way to reconnect with the printed word, Political Bookworm blogger Steven Levingston is gearing up for this weekend's National Book Festival by asking authors Wil Haygood, Margarita Engle and several others: Can writers change the world?

In short, yes. "Words transform us with their unique ability to evoke empathy. A poem, story, or essay can help us understand what it feels like to be someone else," Engle said.

In June, writer Susan Orlean posed a simple question to her Twitter followers: What books changed your life? She used #booksthatchangedmyworld and received nearly 58,000 recommendations. (Because she's awesome, you can view Orlean's personal list of books that changed her life here.)

As we gear up for the National Book Festival, we want to know: Which books did you love as a kid? Which books defined your high school experience or got you through college?Tell us what you loved to read before BlackBerrys and iPhones ruled the world. Share your responses in the comments below, or Tweet us your favorite books with Orlean's #booksthatchangedmyworld.

By Katie Rogers  | September 21, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
Categories:  Your Take  
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Judy Blume's "Are You there God, It's Me, Margaret" totally rocked my world when I was a little girl. This book and others of Blume's taught me so much about boys, friends, school, parental relations, and pretty much everything else young people think about as they go through their formative years. Thanks, Judy!

Posted by: AdMoSuperstar | September 21, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting concept, but it only rings true if your life was changed significantly by some book that you read. I've read a lot, but no book affected my career or my choice of wife or where I chose to live. People make life changing experiences for lots of reason, but books offer only one possibility. And the book list by the author is just far too long. No one could have that many life altering epiphanies. In addition, I am reading The Things That They Carried. It begins by reading very realisticly, but it quickly becomes very repetitive, and some of the stories, like the mid-West girl and the revenge event are too extreme to be believable. Also, a book about the Vietnam War does not begin to match the life altering experience of being there.

Johnn Dickert
Mount Vernon Farms

Posted by: 12191946 | September 21, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

A recent book that really changed my life is "Lucy" by Laurence Gonzales. That book is the best thing I have read in a really long time. It's in bookstores now, and I can't understand why it isn't selling better.

Before that, in the reverse order that I read them, I would list "Braided Lives" by Marge Piercy, "This Common Secret" (nonfction) by Susan Wicklund, "Gossamer Axe" by Gael Baudino, "The Amber Spyglass" by Philip Pullman, "The Cider-House Rules" by John Irving.

There were a few more back in the day, but they are mostly things of their time and not anything I would tell anyone to read today. I would urge some caution on the Gael Baudino book, too. I tell my friends it isn't great literature by any objective standard, but it's the ultimate Gordon book. If I were a good enough writer to write anything I wanted to, I might have written that.

Posted by: GordonCash | September 21, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

This is a phenomenal tweet trending topic! It is nice to know that so many people still enjoy books. I only have one pair of eyes - though I need to use my reading glasses- but there are so many books I have read and so many more I would like to! Thank you again for the refreshing topic! Good luck with the book fair; wish I could go!

Posted by: FoodForThought44 | September 21, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot, by Dostoyevski. Anything Dostoyevski-related, really. The man is unmatched.

Posted by: TheDusu | September 21, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Podkayne of Mars by Heinlein. It wasn't a great book, but it was the first time I saw myself as "an astronaut" or having a role in space. I can't say that I wouldn't be a computer programmer today if not for that book, but I can say my world view would be different in many crucial ways.

Bricks to Babel (a self-selected anthology by Arthur Koestler), which I didn't read until after I graduated from college gave me a lifelong interest in philosophy, which my philosophy classes at college failed to do.

And as an adult, I've been heavily influenced by the characters of Granny Weatherwax, The Patrician, and Sam Vimes from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels.

Posted by: Fabrisse | September 21, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Les Miserables. It opened my eyes to the source of our pettiness and our strength. It taught me that change is possible but at a price. The biggest lesson was that forgiveness should be universal for we are all flawed.

Posted by: rcvinson64 | September 21, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

A Stillness At Appomattox. In college. It made me a far better writer and triggered a love of history that continues 40 years later.

Posted by: faygokid | September 21, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The Diamond Sutra.

Posted by: Jihm | September 21, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Women who Run with the Wolves" by the Jungian psychoanalyst Clarissa Pinkola Estes and "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by the cognitive-behavioral psychiatrist David Burns were the books that changed my world.

Posted by: Miovski | September 21, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I am fairly skeptical about the possibility of books changing people's lives. But, War and Peace is one book that comes to mind when I read all the exaggerated expectations about the role of leaders changing the direction of large groups of people. I suspect a book is much more likely to help someone get a better grasp on their own reality than it is to help them find any way to make a major change in it.

Posted by: dnjake | September 21, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Infinite Jest, The Guttenberg Galaxy, Finnegans Wake. Language and media change our world continuously--these books creatively capture the possibilities inherent in that change.

Posted by: rescueme1 | September 21, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

"A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," Solzhenitsyn. First time I ever felt like I had crawled into someone else's life. It opened up a world outside of our American model.

"The Last of the Plantagenets," Thomas Costain. Fueled my life-long admiration for Eleanor of Aquitaine and showed me that our ancestors were not stupid people. What a concept!

"The Age of Innocence," Judith Wharton. Stunning. Taught me what not being free really means.

"Love in the Time of Cholera," Marquez. The most beautiful writing ever. Made me see magic in the world around.

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," Pirsig. Just because.

"Where the Red Fern Grows," Rawls. I'm surprised I didn't suffer from PTSD after reading this as a kid. To this day death of any of my dogs just wrecks me.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 21, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Joseph Heller's 'Catch 22'.... Though fiction it helped me understand the absurdity of my Vietnam era Air Force career.

Kurt Vonnegut's 'Cat's Cradle'.... you have to read it to understand.

Nassim Taleb's "The Black Swan"... which prompted me to take measures which saved me financially over the last four years.

Posted by: tbrucia | September 21, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

The Zen Teachings of Huang Po (Trans. John Blofedl)
[Our Master said,] “Can't you understand that in the whole Empire of T'ang there are no teachers skilled in Zen?”
At this point, one of the monks present asked: “How can you say that? At this very moment, as all can see, we are sitting face to face with one who has appeared in the world to be a teacher of monks and a leader of men!”
“Please note that I did not say there is no Zen,” answered our Master. 'I merely pointed out that there are no teachers.”

Posted by: theknob | September 21, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The Zen Teachings of Huang Po (Trans. John Blofeld)
[Our Master said,] “Can't you understand that in the whole Empire of T'ang there are no teachers skilled in Zen?”
At this point, one of the monks present asked: “How can you say that? At this very moment, as all can see, we are sitting face to face with one who has appeared in the world to be a teacher of monks and a leader of men!”
“Please note that I did not say there is no Zen,” answered our Master. 'I merely pointed out that there are no teachers.”

Posted by: theknob | September 21, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

"The Wizard of Oz" Hands down.

I'm 82 yrs old now and have read a lot of great fiction (like "All's Quiet on the Western Front", etc.) and non-fiction.

I am sad for a long time friend (engineer, same age) who takes pride in only reading non-fiction books and periodicals.

Can you imagine the enjoyment such people have missed? No Sherlock Holmes, Ivanhoe, Gone With the Wind, etc. So sad....

Posted by: lufrank1 | September 21, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

The Idea of History by R.G. Collingwood; Another Part of the Wood by Kenneth Clark; Harriet the Spy;
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Cather;
The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom;
Herzog by Saul Bellow;
The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott;
Glorious Knits by Kaffe Fassett.

Posted by: habari2 | September 22, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Ishmael - Daniel Quinn
The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich - William Shirer
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - Hal Abelson & Gerald Sussman
Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment - W Richard Stevens
The Foundation series - Isaac Asimov
The Beans of Egypt, Maine - Carolyn Chute

Posted by: frantaylor | September 22, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

The book that turned my head inside out and shook it was Edward T. Hall's *The Silent Language* -- I think I was 18 or 19 when I read it. We grow up believing that the way we've been taught to think of ourselves and the world is "reality," but Hall's cross-cultural studies demonstrated that it's only one of many ways of defining "reality."

Posted by: PLozar | September 22, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

When I read about peoples' experience with literature, it appears that many people approach a new book with a judgemental attitude, as if they are reading it in order to write a review of it. They nitpick about the details, they try to fit it into their own universe of expectations. They will dismiss a book entirely because a singular aspect within rubs them the wrong way. Blah!

I say that the only way to read a book is to take the "Alice In Wonderland" approach, just tumble headlong into the book's universe, without judging. Absorb and accept. Let it take you for a ride. This applies to all books, whether they are fluffy fiction or dry practical technique. The point of a book is not to be found within its pages, but rather in how it changes your thinking.

Posted by: frantaylor | September 22, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

I got in some trouble when I was a kid, and had no direction. "A Clockwork Orange" was the book that made me realize that my life wasn't over, and that I could become a better person. The movie (as much as I love it) left out that very important aspect of the book. Since I grew up all around the world, and spoke many languages, I also loved the linguistic aspects of the novel.

Other books that changed me include Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," EP Thompson's "The Making of the English Working Class," and "Mountains Beyond Mountains" about Paul Farmer. Italo Calvino is awesome, too, though I can't point directly to how he changed my life, apart from influencing the way I read. And finally, David Foster Wallace, who created the best piece of literature my generation will ever create in "Infinite Jest."

Posted by: zainfidel47 | September 22, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

The Shelter of Each Other by Mary Pipher.

Posted by: momkat9090 | September 22, 2010 3:15 AM | Report abuse

Fiction: The Idiot by Dostoyevski - this was the first book I read that was not on the dreadful required reading list in high school and I only did so because the title amused me. But, wow, what a book! It opened my mind to non-fiction and other great non-fiction writers such as Faulkner, Tolstoy, Steinbeck, Daudet, Stendall, and many others.
War Against the Weak by Edwin Black
The Great Influenza by John Berry
Slavery by Another Name by Douglas Blackmon
Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Riot of 1921 by Alfred Brophy
--all meticulously researched, masterfully written, and illustrate how much of our history is hidden from us

Posted by: Tennessee2 | September 22, 2010 4:25 AM | Report abuse

The Undiscovered Self by C.G.Jung

Games People Play by Eric Berne

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The Phenomenon of Man by Teilhard de Chardin

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Posted by: -tao- | September 22, 2010 4:45 AM | Report abuse

My mother taught me to read before I was 5. I've been a reader of fiction and non-fiction all of my long life.

I have spent the past half hour trying to think of what book might have been the most helpful in my life, and have come to the conclusion that I have to say the Christian Bible.

I was brought up in a fundamentalist religious household with all its rigidity and bigotry and bias. However, I learned early the tenets of the Christian faith of being kind and compassionate, to help those who need help, to not believe I was the center of the universe but part of the whole.

I grew up, got an education, moved away from that home and that community. Over time, I ceased to believe in any god. But the lessons I learned have made my life easier and made me a better person overall.

Posted by: limpscomb | September 22, 2010 5:23 AM | Report abuse

Anything from:

Herman Hesse
Sinclair Lewis
James Michener
Thomas B. Costain
Frank Slaughter
Frank Yerby
John D. MacDonald
Jack Kerouac
Mickey Spillane
Ian Fleming

Posted by: alance | September 22, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

The Dragonlance Trilogy by Weiss & Hickman. Not because the books are mind blowing awesome - though they are good reads for sword & sorcery fans - but because when I saw a fellow 10th grader reading them I decided to ask him out. I had been considering it for a while, but that he liked the same books sealed a deal. Six years later we married and it's been happily ever after since.

BTW, we met Larry Elmore this year at GenCon and we decided to buy prints of his cover art for those books. They are now framed and in our dining room.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | September 22, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

The two most important - and even life-altering - books I ever read were as a high school sophomore. I'd been trying to write short stories and poetry and a friend, also a novice writer, recommended "Martin Eden," Jack London's autobiographical novel about becoming a writer. I finished the book and thought, "That's what I want to be," and began to work as hard at becoming a writer as Martin Eden had. A bit later I read the WWII novel, "HMS Ulysses," by Alistair MacLean and was blown away - I was only 15, remember - by the complex sentences and the exposition so different from "Treasure Island," "Shane" and other books that I still love, and thought, "I can write like that, too," and began to try writing in different styles and expanding my vocabulary. I've been a professional writer for more than 40 years, am a college English teacher,and have read much. But no two books were ever more important than those, at that formative time.

Posted by: irishpoet1 | September 22, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm shocked nobody mentions Diary of Anne Frank.

As a kid: To Kill a Mockingbird, Old Yeller, The Good Earth and The Yearling were important. I got my love of England from the Bronte sisters, my love of Spain from Don Quixote, my love of horses from Black Beauty. The illustrations in our Grimms Fairy Tales and Hans Christian Anderson (by Arthur Szyk) made me a medievalist for much of my life. The Nancy Drew mysteries showed me that girls could be heroes but also gave me lifelong exasperation with books and films whose brave,resourceful heroines still had to be rescued by a man.

As an adult: Lord of the Rings, all of Dickens, Thomas Hardy, War and Peace, much Dostoyevsky, A Room of One's Own, The Canterbury Tales, Iberia, Colleen McCullough's Rome series, Moby Dick, the Shaara Civil War Trilogy, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boswell's Life of Johnson, Barbara Tuchman's histories. And, above them all, Shakespeare.

Posted by: mipost1 | September 22, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

The Captains and The Kings, by Taylor Caldwell. This is a shadow biography of Joseph Kennedy. What I mean, all the characters are fictional. No one is named, but the story is unmistakable. Kennedy is not the point, although it's a great story of a poor Irish immigrant, who's son becomes the first Catholic President of the United States. The real point of the book is the political manipulation by forces larger than governments. Businessmen who really control the world through influence, not direct action. Conspiracy theorists, picture a large international board room, where the billionaires of the world decide what wars to fund, what candidates or regimes to support, and which not to. It doesn't sound crackpot, or far fetched when you read the book. Enjoy.

Posted by: B_Al_Zebub | September 22, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I enjoy many books, but I have About four major authors who I return to again and again. I can't say I have a favorit book, but for each these books affected my view of the world

Hakuri Murakami
The wind-up bird chronicle

Paul Auster
Mr. Vertigo

Philip Roth
The Plot Against America

Graham Greene
The Heart of the Matter

Posted by: jake555 | September 22, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I have been reading all my life and have read a lot of books but there are a few that stick out. When I was little, "A Wrinkle In Time", "North To Freedom", Tolkien, CS Lewis, London, Jesse Stewart, Dahl. Less little, Hemingway. Even less little, "The Fifth Sacred Thing" by Starhawk. Recently, The Elegance of the Hedgehog and pretty much everything by Terry Pratchett, who has so much truth hidden in his hilarious prose. I am sure I am forgetting lots of good ones...

Posted by: lisamarie1 | September 22, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

The one book that I can say changed my life, not for the better in many ways, is The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy. I read it in high school and was swept away by the title character, Sebastian Dangerfield, inspired, I later learned, by a Trinity College friend of Donleavy's, Gainor Stephen Crist. Dangerfield drank prodigiously, was catnip to women (whose love he abused), sponged off his friends, dodged his landlord and yet was ferociously determined to succeed and wasliked by everyone who knew him for his charm and wit.

This is not a character an adolescent boy should identify with if he knows what's good for him--and I had no idea what was good for me. The book led me to Ireland and a great of misbehaving, which is now long behind me, but I cherish the memories and reread the book every year. It made Donleavy, who was born an American, a wealthy Irish landowner who's still going strong at 84.

Posted by: jhpurdy | September 22, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Gandhi, Great Soul by John B Severance. It cloaked my life more than changed it.

Posted by: Tsiskoko1 | September 22, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Judy Blume's "Are You there God, It's Me, Margaret" totally rocked my world when I was a little girl. This book and others of Blume's taught me so much about boys, friends, school, parental relations, and pretty much everything else young people think about as they go through their formative years. Thanks, Judy!

Posted by: AdMoSuperstar

Right there with ya. She made me realize that I wasn't alone in those weird feelings & changes that were going on around & in me.

In fact, I read AYTG?IMM every night of the summer before I went into 7th grade in 1979.

Posted by: wadejg | September 22, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I remember reading a novelization of a Partridge Family episode, and this gave me the satisfaction of reading my first book from cover to cover.

As a teen, the books that changed my thinking:

The Plague, The Stranger, and The Fall by Albert Camus

Slaughterhouse 5, Breakfast of Champions, and Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut

Posted by: rob52 | September 22, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

In 5th grade, I think, I read House of 60 Fathers by Meindert Dejong and have never forgotten it. It was the most serious book I had read up to that point and I was blown away. I learned about some effects of WWII, about kids starving in China and saw another culture up close. It was life changing for me.

Posted by: bgormley1 | September 22, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Three stand out: The Three Musketeers in second grade because I fell in love with story-telling; Another Country in high school for its inspiring prose and vision; The Portrait of a Lady in college for its psychological depth. I don't think I'd be blogging about books today for The Huffington Post ( or writing for ( without having read those three books at the times I did.

Posted by: LevRaphael | September 22, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

When I was six, and the John Eaton school was the home of the Cleveland Park Library, I used to devour the old Spink Baseball Guides. Not only did they introduce me to vernacular sportswriting prose at its best, but it was also a tremendous geography lesson, given that back then there were over fifty minor leagues spread out all over the country, with evocative names like the Sally League and the Evangeline League. By the time I was in high school, I'd accumulated a collection of these little gems going back to the 1930's, and from there it was an easy transition to becoming interested in the social and political issues of the past. When I finally wound up owning a book shop, the emphasis was always on history, art, and literature, but I also made sure that I kept a big collection of baseball guides on the shelves, for the memories as well as for the information.

Posted by: andym108 | September 22, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I love "The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes. I read it when I was about 10 or 11. I always remembered the plot but forgot the title of the book. Just four years ago, I happened to pick up the book at an elementary school library. I started reading, and immediately recognized it.

The book has been in print for more than 60 years. It's an excellent depiction of the price of cowardice and prejudice from the point of view of a collaborator.

Posted by: aoscruggs | September 22, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I would say that the both the excitement and solace of reading have shaped my life. My favorite childhood reading: Nancy Drew, Little Women, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, The Little House books.
Among the books that I found most significant as an adult: The Barchester Chronicles, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Infinite Jest, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne A Judgment in Stone A First Class Temperament, No Ordinary Time Nora, Vita,

Posted by: stephpat | September 22, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm 76 and a lifelong reader. The single most influential book in my life has to be the first I ever read - "Dr Dolittle's Island," by Hugh Lofting. It took me a long time, but it taught me many new words and instilled in me a love of stories.

The whole genre of science fiction, which i discovered in my early teens, taught me there were other ways to view the world than those my mediocre teachers and parents lived by.

In college I discovered "Walden" and "The Brothers Karamazov."

As an adult William Barrett's early paperback anthology of D T Suzuki's writings, "Zen Buddhism," set me on a lifetime spiritual journey, and Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World" taught me to prefer science and reason over the popular delusions of our age.

Posted by: jonthom | September 22, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Wallace Stegener's Angle of Repose. A different novel when you are 20 than when you are forty, (and probably 60). Picked it up in college and got mad that just by random chance, I did not miss this in my life.

Posted by: jlellis | September 22, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Although I'd always been a reader, when I picked up S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders" as a teenager my love of reading kicked into overdrive.

Posted by: kbockl | September 22, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Unquestionably, "Guns, Germs and Steel", by Jared Diamond - an eloquent book that helps teach some humility that comes with a greater understanding of our place in the world.

Posted by: FazuJ | September 22, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"The freedom writers". It showed me how much people in the world face troubles.
"The diary of a young girl". It Showed me how bad is the war over everybody.
"The purpose driven life". "The 7 habits of highly effective people". "The Fifth Mountain" & "Like the flowing river". That are the most beautiful books I have read.

Posted by: MarcosSaid | September 22, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The Fixer; Portnoy's Complaint; Catch 22; Slaughterhouse 5; Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee; Something Of Value; Horton Hears A Who.
This should give all you pretentious ( . )'s something to scoff at.

Posted by: ddnfla | September 22, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I would agree with The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell as the first book to really open me up universal themes of religion.

Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and
As I Lay Dying for character study.

Whitman's Leaves of Grass (even if a poem) that inspired both America's rugged individualism and society's collective spirit.

Posted by: cadam72 | September 22, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Blindness. I broke up with my boyfriend of five years and went school when I was reading this book. I don't think I would have without it.

Posted by: sayzgor | September 22, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Coming Out of the Ice" by Victor Hermann (sp?). Read it many years ago and it still resonates the most for the capacity of a human being.

Posted by: TakeALookInTheMirror | September 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

In 1961, at the age of 10, I read Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird' and Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged'. Both had a profound effect on me. Throughout high school and college, it was Kalil Gibran's books, and Hammarskjold's 'Markings' that held my attention.
These are four of the many authors who have indeed shaped my existence and convictions.

Posted by: alyd69 | September 22, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

A book that all should read; The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. We have a large number of "true believers" these days. They even formed their own politic party.

Posted by: clairevb | September 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

A book that all should read; The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. We have a large number of "true believers" these days. They even formed their own politic party this year.

Posted by: clairevb | September 22, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Vineland - Thomas Pynchon
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
Engine Summer - John Crowley

Posted by: bigbrother1 | September 22, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms!

Posted by: gideonc | September 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Anything by James Baldwin
Blackboy by Richard Wright
Tropic of Capricorn/Cancer : Hemry Miller
The Bluest Eye/Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Acts of Faith/In the Meantime - Iyanla Vanzant

Posted by: brndmnd04 | September 22, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I remember in elementary school we had a small bookcase with children;s books. I never checkean any out to take home because my family didn't read and it never occurred to me to read a book. The teacher handed me The Wind in the Willows as we were getting ready to go home and said I might like it. I took it home to be polite. But I started reading it and was hooked. I loved the adventures of frog and toad. From then on I was reading everything I could find. My family considered me strange because of that but I didn't care. I've been a reader ever since. A good teacher can make a difference in someone's life. I wish I could thank her.

Posted by: bgormley1 | September 22, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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