There’s a trending topic on Twitter right now called #booksthatchangedmyworld. (For those of you who are non-Twitterers, that means people are posting on a common topic and using the # to denote said topic.) It’s an interesting topic, and made me think a little bit.  I could easily tell you what my favorite books are.  But books that changed my world?  Totally different.  There’s certainly some overlap, but it’s a much more varied list and is made up from books read at nearly every stage of my life.  I posted some of the titles on Twitter last night, but here’s a list with explanations of what effect they actually had:

Mary Anne Saves the Day (Baby-sitter’s Club #4) – My aunt checked this book out of her public library when I was going to be spending a week at her house, and it became one of the most formative reads of my elementary school years.  I can’t remember exactly how old I was (7, I think, but maybe 8?) but it’s the first chapter book I can really remember reading, and it opened me up to a whole new world of books – specifically the other BSCs, yes, and also Sweet Valley and various other series, which I spent hours upon hours reading as a kid (much to my mother’s chagrin – the books, not the time spent, I mean), but also the love of reading in general.

Ballet Shoes –  In spite of my obsession with the BSC, I did find my way into a few other books as a kid.  And one that I discovered and then read over and over and over again was Ballet Shoes.  Not only was this the first book I remember reading repeatedly, but it may also have started me on a path to become a bit of an Anglophile, at least literarily speaking.  I’m not sure it’s a coincidence that so many of my favorite books are set in Britain.

The Little House books  – Also read repeatedly, I credit these books with starting my love of historical literature and strong female protagonists.  They’re still comfort reads I return to every now and then.

Summer of My German Soldier – I read this book for a sixth grade class.  While the book itself is a great one, it was actually the assignments we had to complete for the class – and the feedback I received from my teacher – that really made me start thinking about myself as a writer.

Jane Eyre – I received this for Christmas from another aunt when I was in the eighth grade, and it was the first true (non-children’s) classic I read and loved, and therefore is directly responsible for leading me to Austen, Alcott,  Dickens and others.

(This is starting to get long-winded, so I’ll try to be briefer in the next few!)

SpeakShowed me how powerful young adult literature could be

The Harry Potter series – Rowling’s masterpiece of a fantasy world taught me 1) Sometimes the hype is there for a reason and 2) You should never write off an entire genre

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much – Inspired me to start collecting rare copies of, among others, #booksthatchangedmyworld

There are so many other books that I feel have made a marked impact in my life – Jacob Have I Loved; Pride and Prejudice; 1984; The Giver; The Poisonwood Bible; To Kill a Mockingbird, The Book Thiefthough in less definable ways.  But perhaps not surprisingly, I feel it’s mostly those earlier literary encounters that largely shaped me to be the reader (and writer) I am.

Which books would you say changed your world?


~ by Molly on June 16, 2010.

One Response to “#booksthatchangedmyworld”

  1. I’m dating myself, but the first two that come to mind are The Women’s Room by Marilyn French and The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. It was a very formative time in my life, and I looked at myself as a woman differently because of these books. As a child, the Little House series had a great impact on me, much as they did on you.

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