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Thread: The Book That Changed Your Life

  1. #11
    The new me! Feifer's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Unklescott
    The book that changed my life is "Black Like Me" by John Griffin. It opened my eyes to racism and made me realize that you need to accept people for who they are, not what they are perceived to be. Being raised in Tennessee in the 50's there were many things that were just an accepted way of life that were no longer accepted by me after reading this book. Thank you Mrs. Seat my 8th grade English teacher for suggesting this book to our class.
    I adore this book. I read it to the end and then started reading it again immediately. It opened my eyes to life as it really was. I see more clearly indeed. This book should be required reading to graduate high school.
    It occurred to me that no matter how bleak things might seem at times, at least I have a head. ----Stargazer

  2. #12
    Black Like Me lives! I just tutored a student who had written an essay on the book. It's still having an impact.

    As a teenager Richard Brautigan really had an impact on me. The beauty of his language, and the promotion of a hippie ideal almost sent me to live on a commune. Unfortunately all the communards I met seemed to be pervy guys 20 years older than me, so I had to give up on that one!

    As a young adult, certainly Johnny Got His Gun was huge. I was already a pacifist, and this just really entrenched those beliefs for me.

    In my 30's (and this is a little crazy) it was chic lit. Sounds mad, but the whole idea that through the crap you can find something to laugh about, and that there will be redemption of some form or another seemed quite comforting. Rafaella Barker is my fave. I read loads of serious stuff, Balzac, Hardy, 2 years of reading on the Holocaust,other Euro-history too, but it was Chic Lit that buoyed me up and got me through. Now that I'm in a different place it'll be interesting to see what does it for me in this phase of my life.

  3. #13
    Premium Member DesertRose's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Reno hell
    I went to a French high school and never got to read these books. I am so going to the library this afternoon to get Black like me, A tree grows in Brooklyn and Johnny got his gun. I feel I missed out on something.

    As a young adult, I read Roots. It left a big mark on me.

  4. #14
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    Playing kickball for the beer
    I'd have to think to come up with a single book that changed my life -- I've always read a LOT.
    But I do have a poem that certainly influenced me -- it's one out of Ntozake Shange's "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf." I was assigned the book in an African-American women authors class in college. It's a series of related poems, but there was this one called "someone almost walked off with all of my stuff" that was about how this man just kept taking this woman's "stuff," or her self, away, and by the end of it she realizes he's not taking anything she isn't giving away. Basically, it was about losing yourself in a relationship. It really applied to a relationship I was in at the time, and affected my handling of it, and since then I've given that book to I don't know how many girlfriends in similar situations. We call it our "strong-woman poetry."
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

  5. #15
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Dublin, OH
    Lucy, I'm going to have to send that out to my friend in Arizona who is in the process of getting a divorce (#2) right now.

  6. #16
    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    In the trees
    When I was about eight or nine, I read Animal Farm and 1984. I guess reading something at that age it's not really determinable whether it changed your life or not, but they both, I believe, instilled in me a horror of power. I have never in my life wanted to have power over another human being, any more than I would want someone having power over me. The upside to this is that I am not at all ambitious (I loathed the brief time I spent in management), I am reasonably content with my job (not career) and Mr. Rattus and I have a wonderfully comfortable and equitable marriage.
    And so it begins, the end of times..

  7. #17
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    I'm hard-pressed to pick just one, too, but one would be The Women's Room, by Marilyn French - although it's a work of fiction, it made me appreciate the people who pioneered the women's movement and respect their courage and determination. I was too young in the '60's and '70's to understand what women like French's characters did to promote equality between the sexes - my generation and generations since just take all that stuff for granted.
    All my life, I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve.~ Thursday Next
    I don't want to "go with the flow". The flow just washes you down the drain. I want to fight the flow.- Henry Rollins
    All this spiritual talk is great and everything...but at the end of the day, there's nothing like a pair of skinny jeans. - Jillian Michaels

  8. #18
    Retired! hepcat's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    in a good place
    I would have to say M.M. Kaye's The Far Pavilions was the earliest book I read that had a major impact on my life. It's a historical novel that describes the Indian soldier mutiny of 1850 against the imperial British. It's the first book I read where the author was utterly enchanted by a foreign culture. I was about 10, and I knew basically nil about India. There are parts of that book that were just mind-blowing to me, such as the Muslim army serving under the British rising up and killing their officers when it became known that the cartridges they were provided contained pork grease. Each shell came greased with a little paper wrapped around it, and the soldier had to pull the wrapper off with his teeth and load it into the rifle. When they found out it was pork (which some historians say was a rumor), they were outraged at the British - it was tantamount to condemning them to Hell. It's amazing to think the British could be so out of touch with their own soldiers' religious beliefs. It was a bloody rebellion, one where women and children were not spared. I've been interested in world religions ever since, and I still adore historical novels.
    You've gotta hustle if you want to earn a dollar. - Boston Rob

  9. #19
    Cy Young 2010 Mariner's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
    Waiting for Spring
    I'm not sure I can say there is one book that influenced my life. One that stands out though is Chaim Potok's The Chosen about the relationship between two Jewish boys in Brooklyn in the 1940s one of whom is Hasidic and one of whom has been raised as an Orthodox Jew. I was probably 14 when I read it. I also was really impacted by Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird which we read in 8th grade English (we also read Black Like Me the same year).

  10. #20
    FORT Fogey Namaste's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    St. Louis
    To Kill a Mockingbird has always been one of those books that has stuck with me thruout my lifetime. Seems the good ones always teach me something or give me a perpective I might not have come across in my own little corner of the world. I also read, Black Like Me, in middle school and it's another that is classic, loved it.

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