Have you ever stopped and thought about the impact a certain book, or several books, has had on your life, either as a blogger, a bookworm, or just a regular book reader?
I have. Especially because I have seen how reading has affected my choices and habits throughout the years. Books have inspired me to read other books, to read more, to explore a different genre, to expand my knowledge, teased me with new tidbits, and one book in particular has steered me from a particular choice.
The first book that I consider the starting point of my bookworm path is Francine Pascal's The Easter Bunny Battle from the Sweet Valley Kids series. This book sparked my lifelong (so far) love for the Sweet Valley series and inspired me to persuade my parents to spend thousands to buy me books. And I’m still buying them.
From the Sweet Valley Kids series, I moved on to twins, then high school, then university, until the Elizabeth series. But somewhere among those high school books, Elizabeth mentioned her love for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and that brief mention sparked my interest to read Pride and Prejudice. Do you see how huge of an impact that was? Just one brief mention and already, I was on the quest to reading a classic book I have never heard of when I was about 12 years old. And in the Unicorns series, Lila Fowler mentions reading The Great Gatsby, and again, I was inspired to read the book. Just like that. Although with The Great Gatsby I think I have to reread the book because I only appreciated it at the end, and I think it’s one of those books that you have to relish from start to finish because there’s something hidden in every chapter that will bring about that glorious, tremendous emotional impact at the end.
Pride and Prejudice not only inspired me to read other Jane Austen books, but also sparked my interest in reading the classics. From my small, limited world of just reading Sweet Valley books (and Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys), I moved on to the fascinating, mind-numbing world of classics. What I particularly liked about Pride and Prejudice is that it was so easy for me to read. I was only 12 at that time, but I finished the book quickly. It also introduced me to the world of regency, to the world of balls, and English aristocracy. It also inspired my first-ever book crush: Mr. Darcy. My copy is getting quite a bit tattered because I keep reading it every year. And I’m still fascinated every. single. time.
With my adoration for Pride and Prejudice, I then ventured on to other classics such as L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.
In high school also, I challenged myself to read Gone With the Wind. I think it’s the longest book I have finished to date (I’m still not yet finished with War and Peace – it’s an ongoing battle). Don’t get me wrong, it’s an epic story, but since I was too young to read it, only one line stood out for me. But that one line made me fall in love with the book all over again. Of course it was, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” – Utterly heartbreaking.
Anyway, the point of this book for me was that it erased my fears of boredom with long books. I mean, it was over a thousand pages but it was so good, I read it a second time in college. I know not all long books are as exciting or as easy to read as Gone With the Wind, but at least now I won’t feel overwhelmed by having a thick book in my hand. And now that I’m low on funds, I’m more partial to thick books because I feel like they offer more bang for the buck!
Lastly, also in high school, I read Sidney Sheldon’s Rage of Angels. You know how when you were young and your mom/dad would tell you not to read a particular book because it was not appropriate for your age? Well, I never listened. I just read and read and read. And Rage of Angels was one of the books I wished I didn’t read at that age.
It’s not that Rage of Angels was so very bad or boring or frightening. It was simply because it was the first book that really made me realize how easy it is to do bad things, even when you didn’t mean to. I wanted to be a lawyer when I was in high school – a corporate lawyer. But then I read Rage of Angels and it made me realize that someday I might embark on a path and not realize that it’s not what I want until it’s too late. That turned me off being a lawyer and it made me sad for a couple of days, actually! I never reread the book, and I used to think that I shouldn’t have read it…but now that I’m in my 20s, I realize that maybe it’s a good thing, maybe law really isn’t the career for me.
There are a lot of other books that have affected my book choices, or got me started on reading a new genre, or even turn me off some (like Twilight, which has turned me off paranormal love stories). But these four books are the ones that has really made a huge impact on my favorite books, helped me embark on a new genre, or even steered my life choices.
How about you? Are there any books that have made such a huge impact on your life?
Happy musings :)