Books that have moved or impacted you

gsk8

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Here are a few of mine. I may recall others later and edit my post:

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

and all of Khaled Hosseini's books


The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns
And the Mountains Echoed
 

TontoK

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I'm a "binge" reader. History for a while, then biography, then classics, then "trash" (as my mother referred to non-enlightening, but fun, reads).

When I burn out on one genre, I pick up on another.

One particularly moving book for me... and it is surprising because it is contemporary... John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.

ETA: I've read several of OP's favorites. I highly recommend Unbroken.
 
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Alba

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There are many books but the most important:

David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)
Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
War and Peace (Tolstoy)
Stefan Zweig novels
Three Comrades (Erich Maria Remarque)
Arch of Triumph (Erich Maria Remarque)
If This Is a Man & The Drowned and the Saved (two books by Primo Levi which IMHO should be read by everybody at least once)
The Banality of Evil (Hannah Arendt)
The Origins of Totalitarianism (Hannah Arendt)
Into That Darkness (Gitta Sereny)
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
 
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samson

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Hmmmmmmm a book that really affected me was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

I read it when I was 18, in my first semester of college. I was doing a special semester my college, Skidmore, called the London First Year Experience where they send 36 freshman to London (it was impossible to keep up with the grand prix that year!)

It was such a heady time for me, the school wasn't my first choice, but I didn't get into any of my top choices (for reasons that ultimately made me very happy and even thrilled with where I did go) and wasn't sure if Skidmore was the right fit - so leaving the continent for a while seemed like a good idea. As a group we all seemed to vacillate between moments of exuberance and joy with the world literally opening up before us, and anxiety and fear for what our future held and in a way it felt we had to wait 4 more months before real college would actually, finally begin.

Never Let Me Go was assigned reading in one of my classes and the book absolutely floored me. I think this was partly because I was at an age and time in my life where the themes in the novel just resonated so deeply for me, but also Ishiguro has this way of unfolding a story so thoughtfully and slowly that by the end you feel turned inside out but your not exactly sure why. It's a devastating coming of age story, that also raises some really heavy moral questions that have grown increasing relevant in our world today, about the value of life, the spirit, and the community.

I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone.

I'm curious, those of you who have posted - is there one book in particular that you've mentioned that you'd like to share what about it resonated?
 

wordsworthgirl

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Hmmmmmmm a book that really affected me was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

I read it when I was 18, in my first semester of college. I was doing a special semester my college, Skidmore, called the London First Year Experience where they send 36 freshman to London (it was impossible to keep up with the grand prix that year!)

It was such a heady time for me, the school wasn't my first choice, but I didn't get into any of my top choices (for reasons that ultimately made me very happy and even thrilled with where I did go) and wasn't sure if Skidmore was the right fit - so leaving the continent for a while seemed like a good idea. As a group we all seemed to vacillate between moments of exuberance and joy with the world literally opening up before us, and anxiety and fear for what our future held and in a way it felt we had to wait 4 more months before real college would actually, finally begin.

Never Let Me Go was assigned reading in one of my classes and the book absolutely floored me. I think this was partly because I was at an age and time in my life where the themes in the novel just resonated so deeply for me, but also Ishiguro has this way of unfolding a story so thoughtfully and slowly that by the end you feel turned inside out but your not exactly sure why. It's a devastating coming of age story, that also raises some really heavy moral questions that have grown increasing relevant in our world today, about the value of life, the spirit, and the community.

I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone.

I'm curious, those of you who have posted - is there one book in particular that you've mentioned that you'd like to share what about it resonated?

Samson, I am with you on Never Let Me Go. An extraordinary novel. I love Ishiguro in general- even his "lesser" or "weaker" novels- but I think this is his best. I have taught it to college students and book groups and everyone seems to respond very strongly to it.

You describe it very beautifully and effectively. I wish I'd gotten to teach you! :)
 

Alba

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I'm curious, those of you who have posted - is there one book in particular that you've mentioned that you'd like to share what about it resonated?

I'm really poor in describing books in english, but I'll try at least.
IMO, If This Is a Man & The Drowned and the Saved (particluarly the later), are just so crude in going to the heart of human nature in certain circumstances, that it blow me away completely.
I was really like: OH GOD! Let me breath a bit, while reading it.

It's not "just" Holocaust, so to speak. It's about understanding who we are, understanding shame, what we are capable of and tries to see through to the core. He is such a great writer too.
I've read a lot about the subject, but Levi is THE ONE! It's completely different from any other that I've read on the Holocaust.

It's such a profound work, that everyone should read. It's a necessary reading for humans looking to be better humans.
It's easy and hard to read at the same time, but worth it.
 
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iluvtodd

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The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N & The Return of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N - Leo Rosten (later known for The Joys of Yiddish. I taught ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Langauges), so I can really relate to these books - read out loud funny, but lovingly written about adult night school students striving to learn English.

Tuesdays With Morrie & Have a Little Faith - Mitch Albom
 
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TontoK

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I'm curious, those of you who have posted - is there one book in particular that you've mentioned that you'd like to share what about it resonated?

I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany because it highlighted the beautiful and wonderful and unique qualities to be found in ordinary (some might say ugly) people... that we have a purpose in life... that God exists in all of us...

This is accomplished without one iota of preachiness, and told through the story of one of the more odd and memorable characters in contemporary fiction that I've read.

A relatively unknown masterpiece, IMO.
 

noskates

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Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy....not so much for the story but the beautiful way it was written.

I, too, loved Unbroken and Life of Pi. But I also really, really, REALLY liked The Help.
 

peg

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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.
Just about anything by Hugh MacLennan (a Canadian writer whom I "blame" for my choice of major in university)

I really liked Life of Pi but I'm not sure that it impacted me to the same degree that the other books I mentioned have.
I've also been impacted by non-fiction books I've read more recently.
 

karne

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The Art Of Racing In The Rain never fails to make me cry. Possibly because it's told from a dog's perspective which, I don't know, just somehow makes the feelings more real.

Mao's Last Dancer was also very powerful.
 

TontoK

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Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy....not so much for the story but the beautiful way it was written.

I, too, loved Unbroken and Life of Pi. But I also really, really, REALLY liked The Help.

I enjoy Pat Conroy, too. But, as a friend says, the power of his writing and the emotion of his stories will "wear you out." He writes books to be savored slowly, not gulped.
 

Sandpiper

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I don't know if any one book changed me as a person--more like a series of books all exerted their influence (loved Life of Pi btw).

But, I can easily point to the book that changed my perception on storytelling. That is Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia (and to a lesser extent, The Great Gilly Hopkins).

Because sometimes stories--and life--don't end in happily-ever-afters. It was actually kinda mind-blowing to realize this as a kid, because every book I came across just ended so damn happily. I was subconsciously getting sick of it, without really knowing what was the problem.

These books are probably what fuelled my lifelong (thus far) love of the bittersweet or tragic ending. And my endless frustration that I still find them so infrequently.
 

samson

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Samson, I am with you on Never Let Me Go. An extraordinary novel. I love Ishiguro in general- even his "lesser" or "weaker" novels- but I think this is his best. I have taught it to college students and book groups and everyone seems to respond very strongly to it.

You describe it very beautifully and effectively. I wish I'd gotten to teach you! :)

Thank you so much, wordsworthgirl! I know it would be a pleasure to be your student! :)
 

Tonichelle

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We were talking about this inbetween sunday school and services today - I was traumatized as a child after reading "Where The Red Fern Grows". I was in 3rd grade and never knew that books could destroy your soul... it's about a boy and his two dogs that he raises and trains as hunting dogs... one dies, and its sibling dies of a broken heart. OMG. I sobbed for days and then refused to pick up another book for months. :laugh:

Bridge to Terabithia was another one that was very upsetting and has stuck with me.

Girl of the Limberlost...

The Hatchet

Winterdance by Gary Paulsen (about how he got into dog mushing and running the Iditarod)
 

silverfoxes

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I'd say The Little House books...loved them as a kid, and I still re-read them every so often. It helps me keep a bit of perspective to think about how challenging life was back then...and how insignificant my "first world problems" actually are in comparison.

Where The Red Fern Grows was too depressing! I can't deal with books or movies where animals suffer or die. :no:
 

Tonichelle

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Where The Red Fern Grows was too depressing! I can't deal with books or movies where animals suffer or die. :no:

I can't either The Incredible Journey/Homeward Bound was a movie I couldn't watch... The Yearling was another... and dad has banned Old Yeller because it messed him up as a kid! LOL

Also - War Horse? Most traumatizing movie I've ever watched... so I refuse to read the book! LOL
 
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