Books that have changed your life

flushd's picture

I am an avid reader of paper books; even in this age of hyper-media.
To me, there is something about a good book in my hands that can not be beat.

I am currently re-reading a book called 'Nam' by Mark Baker.
I think I have read it over ten times now. I first came across
it on a camping trip in Northern Manitoba. It was sitting there waiting for me at my campsite, and I've had it ever since.

It is a collection of stories from Vietnam vets. It has definetly changed my life.

THE book that changed my life most dramatically was Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I read it at 14; and it was an epiphany.

What books have influenced your life?

princessgavvie's picture

a lot of books have...

Harry Potter turned me into a psycho believing that she can do magic... I'm still not over the fact that I can't get a magic wand!

Les Miserables, just like really... wow, I can't even describe what it's done for me. It got me through back pains, and middle school. That's saying something.

Coping with scoliosis REALLY helped me and informed me about what was going to definitely change my life, back surgery.

I think the book that has helped me THE most, would be the book that nobody has ever read except me and my teacher... my auto-bography. It helped me learn about myself, who I was, and that's the book that helped me the most.

never kick a dog, because it's just a pup, we'll fight like twenty armies, and we won't give up, so you'd better run for cover when the pup grows up!~ Les Mis

jeff's picture


Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

and my own novel, which is currently being edited.

Lost Angry Youth's picture


i also liked fight club, and i wished it had followed the book to
a T , it would be interesting to see how it would have turned out.

Daisy's picture

My world was opened up by

Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates.

Did they love you or what?

hippiedyke87's picture

The Kite Runner, The Perks of

The Kite Runner, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Catcher in the Rye, and Rubyfruit Jungle. Peace

"If you think you know what I'm doing wrong well you're gonna have to get in line..." - Ani DiFranco

cherryredlipgloss's picture

The Perks of Being a Wallflow

The Perks of Being a Wallflower rocks!

"I do believe in fairies, I do believe in fairies, I do, I DO!!!!!!!!!!" - Peter Pan

Brosia's picture

Your list is perfect.

I give a copy of Perks to everyone who's having a hard time in life. My own copy is held together with tape and has mine and my friends' handwritten comments throughout it. I can't recommend this book enough.

My best friend just gave me a copy of Kite Runner. I'm only about halfway through, but it's one of the most painful books I've ever read. Both my friend and I saw unsavory parts of ourselves reflected in the characters. Definately an eye opener.

Children of a future age reading this indignant page know that in a former time love sweet love was thought a crime
- William Blake

yep_im_a_stalker's picture

the kite runner

wonderful simply put.


We don't have to be stars exploding in the night
Or electric eels under the covers
We don't have to be
Anything quite so unreal
Lets just be lovers


help_me_god's picture

The Pheonix

Well, i have a few books that have changed my life. one of which being Gingerbread. Ive read it so many times. The girl in the book is exactly like me. It was kinda wierd. i thought i was the only person who thought like that. Also Harry Potter but not necessarly because of the book but because of the friends it brought and took from me but not directly... long story dont want to go into detail at this time of night, p.s. i too cant cope with the fact that i cant get a wand. But i have to add this from my best friend.... He isnt the type to cry at all. And this book had him in tears and talking about it and thinking about it for as long as i know.. its called "The Phoenix" by Ruth Sims. I am currently in the process of reading it. and have to say it is amazing. No words to explain it. I do have to say that it was hard for us to find a book that centered around a gay man and we did find rainbow boys, which was great, but this book is just amazing.

micky's picture

not so much changed my life, but changed how i look at things...

the little prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
1984 - george orwell
animal farm - george orwell
day of the triffids - john wyndham
clockwork orange - anthony burgess
lolitta - Vladimir Nabokov
darkness at noon - Arthur Koestler
giovanni's room - james baldwin


sundancer16's picture

I loved the Little Prince. I

I loved the Little Prince. I had to read it for French class a few years ago. The teacher I had while reading it made the book even better, she made sure that we didn't any of the lessons that were in the book.

I was supposed to read 1984 for school, but I only got about 30 pages in, and I couldn't get into it, so I just stopped reading. But now after seeing two people that liked it, maybe I should give it another chance.

Paladin's picture


Animal Farm - George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-four - George Orwell
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Outsider - Albert Camus
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (doesn't belong in this list because it's so different)

A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking


RadclyffeGeek's picture

I loved 'The Curious Incident

I loved 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' it was such a brilliantly written book. Great choice with the Tolkien and Orwells!


Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.

Geek It Til' It MHz

yep_im_a_stalker's picture

I'm reading Animal Farm

I'm reading Animal Farm right now and I finished 1984 awhile ago--I love them both and have yet to be disappointed by Animal Farm


We don't have to be stars exploding in the night
Or electric eels under the covers
We don't have to be
Anything quite so unreal
Lets just be lovers


sundancer16's picture

I can't really say that these

I can't really say that these books have changed my life, but some of the books I really love are War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, Annie on My Mind, The Keepers' Chronicles by Tanya Huff, Harry Potter (of coarse),and The Little Prince.

Some of my favorite authors are Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold, Pamela Dean, Emma Bull, Tanya Huff, and Caroline Stevermer

nikodemus's picture

Top Three

1)THe Messiah's Handbook
2)Tuesdays with Morrie
3)Dharma Punx

"Artists have always been the initiators of revolution."
-Master Otori Niko

Duct Tape Fairy's picture


Wow, you like some pretty heavy books. One book I think you might like is called "The Things They Carried"- I can't remember the author's name. It is an amazing book about vietnam.

Currently one of my favorite books is The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It is science fiction, and I am not much into sci-fi, however this book really moved me.
One of my all time favorites was Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood- great book, really fun and emotional.
I also was very moved by a book called Darkness at Noon. It is set in the USSR under Stalin. It is an amazingly written book, very powerful.
My favorite fun and silly book is The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. I love that series. They are so fun and rediculous and weird.

There is a difference between having confusion and having a marvelous sense of disorder.
-Judy Grhan "Mundane's World"

niks121997's picture

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is the author of "The Things They Carried"

"Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful that it is no worse than it is."

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."

Dim's picture

Oh, I've also read "Crime and

Oh, I've also read "Crime and Punishment". It was great!

My biggest reading-experiences must be, (in this order):

- "Brave new world" by Aldous Huxley.
- Edgar Allan Poe's "Collected Poems."
- "A clockwork orange" by Anthony Burgess (the movie too is great!)
- Cervante's "Don Quixote."
- "The catcher in the rye" by Salinger.

If you haven't read any of these, you should.

- dim

Ashe Wednesday's picture

The Giving Tree by Shel Silve

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein... I simply adore that book, even though it's so short and childish.
Number the Stars and The Giver by Lois Lowry
I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson

I love how the few books that have changed my life I read in elementary school.

hippiedyke87's picture

I love the Giving Tree too!!

I love the Giving Tree too!! It was my favorite book as a child and still ranks up there! Peace.

"If you think you know what I'm doing wrong well you're gonna have to get in line..." - Ani DiFranco

Gerardo's picture

The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy

The Inferno and Paradiso

TeeAhr1's picture

Okay, here we go

*Robert Anton Wilson - The Illuminatus Trilogy
Every day, at least one person asks me, "Pete, what the fuck is wrong with you?" I point them to this book.

*Daniel Quinn - Ishmael
The story of a talking ape who wants to save the world. But not necessarily the people. Highly reccomended.

*Robert Pirsig - Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
The subtitle is "An Inquiry Into Values," and I think that's the most apt way to describe it. A story about the things that matter to us and why they matter to us.

*Stephen King - The Stand
The only "pulp" author on this list, and the only book by that author that I would ever consider calling an "important" book. Not to say that other stuff he's written (some of it, anyway) wasn't good, but I wouldn't call it important. A book about good and evil, and how fine the line between them can be.

I may add more to this list as I think of them.
TeeAhr1 (p. daniels) - Special Assistant To Mr. Wonka

Paladin's picture

Phaedrus's Knife

Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance... I should have added that to my list as well. Although I do think that Pirsig really went out on a limb with his ideas neaer the end.


TeeAhr1's picture

Zen & the Art

If you ever want to read this book, don't read this post! Pete is about to give away a major plot piece!


I agree, and yet I think a lot of that was intentional, to illustrate further points. His protaganist, after all, went insane. I think, in addition to a philosophical treatise, it's kind of a cautionary tale, about far down the rabbit hole you can fall without realizing it.

Which reminds me in a tangental way, did you ever read When Rabbit Howls? Great book.
TeeAhr1 (p. daniels) - Special Assistant To Mr. Wonka

Paladin's picture

I don't subscribe to the idea

I don't subscribe to the idea that philosophy can make one mad. I would have liked to have been able to really follow the narrator's line of thought to the end so that I could figure out where it went faulty.


FreeRadical's picture

I love books!!

Some of these are just really good books, i can't say they all changed my life, though.
Field Notes on the Compassionate Life
Stranger At the Gate
The Sight and Firebringer by David Clement-Davies
The Lovely Bones
House of the Scorpion
Before Women Had Wings
Great Expectations
Dark Is Rising series
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.
John Cage

extreme447's picture

Some of the books that have altered my way of thinking

Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein

Brave New World by Huxley

The Stranger by Camus

Metamorphosis by Kafka

immortality_17's picture

Books that have changed your life

I just finished reading A Girl becomes a comma like that...
Was like looking in a mirror only through words of a paper back book.
I could truely connect...a must read.

flushd's picture

wow; thanks all!

I saw a tonne of great classics and books listen here that I love!
Yeaaa! A nice diverse, well-read crowd:)

Thanks for the suggestions too. I've been looking for some 'new' books to read:)

Sam-McCowan's picture


The book (its actually a play) Angels in America changed my life.

My favorite book as a child was Goodnight Moon and yes, the Giving Tree was awsome.

ac4308's picture


i can't think of a book that changed my life but if you like fantasy Robert Jordan has a good series called the wheel of time.
oh and if you're into politics Al Frankens book called lies and the lying liars who tell them is awesome. i've read it over and over again. but you may not want to read it if you're a republican because it may make you very angry but you could read it just to get information(i almost thought about reading a republican book just to see how stupid they were but i have A LOT of other things that i want to read more.

HotPinkFlames's picture

i like robert jordan! hurrah.

i like robert jordan! hurrah. are you excited about his new book coming out in october?

ac4308's picture


i didn't know. now im really excited. thanx for telling me. i can't wait!

FlyflewAway's picture

the little prince

its not like one of those card cover books for adults nor is it 1000 pages long, its more of like a book for all ages it was simple and i loved it =]

I'd never lie to you
Unless I had to, I'll do what I got to
The you could slit my throat
And with my one last gasping breath
I'd apologize for bleeding on your shirt - Tbs

jdub's picture

My choices

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
-Written during the Stalinist Era, so it's what's not said that is so important

All But My Life by Gerda Weissman Klein
-A Holocaust survivor's story. Very sad, but very worth the read. If you think you've had it hard, it's nothing compared to what this woman survived through

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
-Also a Stalinist Era Russian work that is fantastic. It's one of those books I didn't want to stop reading until I was finished, but also didn't want it to end because I didn't want the story to be finished.

On a side note, I just finally read 1984 by George Orwell after having attempting to before but never being interested by it. I must say that it's much better than I expected. As I told my brother, I think the first time I tried reading it I was too optimistic, that the reader has to be somewhat disillusioned themself to fully appreciate the disillusionment of Winston Smith

flushd's picture


Solzhenitsyn is one of my favorites. I really felt connected to him when I read 'Cancer Ward'. Also, I adore The Gulag Arc.
If Solzhenitsyn were alive I'd be all over him like a cheap suit.

The Russian authors have always done it for me. And I do love dark n' heavy books a lot of the time.


jdub's picture

the Russians

I own Cancer Ward, it's sitting on the bookshelf by the front door at this very moment and, yes, I have read it. I read Ivan first and then liked it so much that I got Cancer Ward because I felt the need to read more Solzhenitsyn. I'm trying now to get ahold of the First Circle

I don't know, though, if I had to choose between Solzhenitsyn and Bulgakov I think I would have to go with Bulgakov. There's just something about Master and Margarita, maybe it's the devil

I prefer the dark ones too

"Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar's vile tongue be cut out!"

somedays dreamer's picture

Harry Potter: It gave me hope

Harry Potter: It gave me hope that some day some one would take me away to a place were I can be happy and have friends.

Catcher in the Rye: Gave the idea that rebellion is possible.

Les Miserables: The idea that people can change and are forgivible.

Among the Hidden: Count your blessings because it can easily be taken away.

Princess Diaries: Duty is important no matter who you are.

Geography Club: Gave the courage to attempt at a GSA at my Catholic school even though it was shot down every time I tried by the student body.

I love Integra Wingates Hellsing!...Heh I am so sad, I am in love with a fictional character. Wait I can lie to my self, I have been doing that for the past 16 years.

NovaCat's picture

"To the Lighthouse" by Virgin

"To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf
"Go Down, Moses!" by William Faulkner
"Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
"A Streetcar Named Desire" & "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams

zephyr013's picture

Illusions by Richard Bach /z

Illusions by Richard Bach

MrMortimer's picture

oo so many fabulous books. Le

oo so many fabulous books. Leslie Feinber's Stone Butch Blues. a beautiful and haunting description of a young butch growing up in the 50's. i cried so much reading it and it definatly changed my life. i love the little prince too. anyone read annie on my mind by nancy garden? lesbian teen love story..its terrific.

ally_hawk1ns's picture

grrr..i have tried to find

grrr..i have tried to find Annie On My Mind,but have failed,i live in Alabama,and i dont think one Library in the whole state has it anywhere...

One time I was eating a poptart.

hippiedyke87's picture

Hmmm...maybe you could get it

Hmmm...maybe you could get it online, it is such a good book. Peace.

"If you think you know what I'm doing wrong well you're gonna have to get in line..." - Ani DiFranco

Lost Angry Youth's picture

repairative thearapy of male

repairative thearapy of male homosexuality...
just kidding.

i am a nerd-
psyhcocybernetics/pyshocybernetics 2000
the power of self-image psyhcology- maxwell maltz

the hidden power of your sub-concious mind - dr. joseph murphy

ultimate power/awakening the giant within- anthony robbins

art of seduction/48 laws of power - robert r. greene

how not to be gay - F.U. homo

attraction isn't a choice - david deangleo

here are a list of very important books, but i forgot the
authors name ,most are borderline men's studies/psychology:

finding our fathers , myth of masculinity,the bastard,
the wounded male..
yeah i know, i have issues!

fight club
invisible monsters

Ebony's picture

Way of the Peaceful Warrior b

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

corcra-carraig's picture

quite a few books... I rea

quite a few books...

I really like local history, so some of those... but definatly Annie On My Mind. I had given up on reading any sort of romantic book...but I loved this book so so much.

rowie's picture

catcher in the rye - j.d. sal

catcher in the rye - j.d. salinger
fahrenhiet 451 - ray bradbury
lucky - alice sebold

--would the last one out please shut the door--

**you must be the change you wish to see in the world**

Moonmage's picture


YEah I am also a book worm (I read and almost never watch T.VI am a book worm) Alot of books change how I think about life here is a few:

The handmaiden tale- M. Atwood
Oryx and Crake- M. Atwood
Faherenheit 451
Grapes of Wrath
The Red Tent
The Naming
A Tree grows in Broyklen

Hey if you want to chat email me I think you and I would get along:

I should not worry who I love but if they love me:


RadclyffeGeek's picture

Great! A fellow Margaret Atwo

Great! A fellow Margaret Atwood fan. The Handmaid's Tale is such an excellent book, one of the greatest I have ever read, the same goes for Oryx and Crake. What's so scary is that it could actually be real someday.


Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.

Geek It Til' It MHz