Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The books that change our lives

I was delighted yesterday, to learn that Rebecca Stead's wonderful book, When You Reach Me, was awarded the Newbery Prize. When You Reach Me was one of my favorite books of last year, a quietly lovely book that grew into something extraordinary, and the story has become one of those that I find myself thinking of often. (My original review is here.)

I originally decided to read it because I had heard about the connection between When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time (also a Newbery winner, 1963). Those of you who have been reading here for a while know that A Wrinkle in Time is a book that means a great deal to me. When I look back over my life (and look forward to what I want my life to be) it is a book that is always there, and I can see the shape of its influence. And A Wrinkle in Time seems to be one of those books that is beloved by everyone who picks it up.

So I'm curious: what is the book that changed your life?


  1. Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes." Of course, I'm sure that is tied to being able to meet him at my university when he spoke. Still, it inspired me, influenced me to look at my life and my writing with a different set of eyes. Through McCourt and his work, I learned that everyone, everywhere has a story to tell. RIP, Frank.

  2. I think L.M. Montgomery's Emily books had the strongest influence on me as a writer. I always liked Emily better than Anne. Emily is more dreamy, more introverted... she feels like more of a kindred spirit than Anne. I come back to them again and again, because the story is so enticing, and because the characters are so very real to me.

  3. Thank you for sharing these. I love the thoughts of everyone having a story to tell (and looking for people's stories) and of finding kindred spirits in books.