There are two kinds of revolutionary books: Books that form you and books that change you. I’ve read dozens of books that have formed me. The Harry Potter Series. Little Women. Artemis Fowl. These are books I reread often, because the characters, morals, and stories within their pages helped me become the person I am today. Parts of my personality and values came directly from these novels, especially since I read them as a child.
Now that I’m older, I’ve realized that there’s a new way for books to impact my life. I’ve started reading books that change me.
I classify ‘changing books’ as books that make me look at something with a new perspective. These are the books that have given me greater empathy and changed my opinion about a certain issue. These are the books that have changed my life.
Some of this literature is short. Take Jane Hirshfield’s poem, Perishable, It Said. This poem let me see the beauty in celebrating life, even if our celebration is not infinite. I wrote Jane a letter about how much I adored her poem, and I included a short poem (that you can find here and on my instagram) that was inspired by it. She wrote back, and said some of the kindest things anyone has ever said about my writing. Jane Hirshfield reminds me in every way possible that I should appreciate the life I’m living.
A Doll’s House, by Henrik Isben, had the power to split friendships depending on exactly what you thought of the main character, Nora. (I am team Nora. I will debate anyone about this.) This morally ambiguous play sparked a determination to discover myself and the world around me. It also inspired me to become more independent. I read it just before summer break last year, and in order to truly appreciate the freedom that women now have, I challenged myself to have new adventures.
But by far, the most influential book in my life has been Of Mice and Men. I read John Steinbeck’s novella the summer before 9th grade in one day because it was so short. And reader, I cried. I cried heavy tears. I cried like I’d just been told that there were no more potatoes in the world.
Of Mice and Men, a novel about George and Lennie’s quest to own a farm, is endearing, well-written, and heartbreaking. Although this book was written in 1937 (and admittedly has some serious problems with racism and sexism) it builds empathy for those who suffer from mental disabilities.
I’ve always expressed my support for those with a mental handicap, but this book made me realize that just saying it wasn’t enough. This book has inspired me to volunteer more, support the underrepresented, and try to help and be kind to everyone around me, because you never know what their story is. Of Mice and Men taught me how far we’ve come as a society in terms of mental health, feminism, and racial equality, and everyday I look around me and know that we have a long way to go.
Books like of Mice and Men change me. Books like Of Mice and Men inspire me to make a change in the world.
I’ve been published in the Huffington Post! About a month ago, my post about what YA got wrong about teenagers was published on HuffPost. (Also, they gave it a much better headline.) Check it out here: I’m A Teenager And I Don’t Like Young Adult Novels. Here’s Why.
Also, I’ve just started a Goodreads account. You can find my profile here. Please, shoot me a message and a friend request if you want to talk about writing, books, or delicious food. (Or if you want to explain how Goodreads works, since I’m still a little lost at the moment.)
In the last couple of posts I’ve written, I’ve included a link to a survey asking for what sort of posts you all wanted to see. The results are in! This summer, be prepared for more Reading/Literary Discussions, Literary Lifestyle blogging, Writing Advice, and Funny Writing Posts!
Finally, keep your eyes peeled for a new guest blog post on A Writer’s Path...I’ve just become an occasional contributor!
What books have ‘formed you?’ What books have ‘changed you?’ Sometimes books that change some people form others, and vice versa. Tell me all about what books influenced you in the comments below!