Books that Saved (or, at least, changed) My Life


“You cannot open a book without learning something.”  — Confucius

Is there anything more powerful than a book?  What else has the power to educate, spread the imagination, foster fantasies, and inspire change?  What else can detach your feet from this earthly world and transport you to another alternate universe?  And, conversely, what else can firmly ground you to your world, community, family and self by imparting useful information and new ideas or by inspiring action?

In a recent post, Steph at People Do Things with Their Lives discussed the importance of books to a well-rounded childhood.  She talked of the importance of books in her own childhood as well as the importance of books for children in developing countries, particularly those in Africa.

“Forty percent of children in Africa do not attend school. That’s an entire continent, not a single country! In classrooms fortunate enough to staff teachers 10-20 students share a single textbook… …[C]harity organizations like Books for Africa and Book Aid International do diligent work to provide books for children in more than a dozen African countries. Opportunity begins with education. Whether we contribute to four star charity organizations that help globally, or promote literacy in our own communities, or simply read to our kids before they fall asleep, it’s comforting to realize we can change a kid’s life one book at a time.”

For as long as I can remember, I have been an avid reader.  I have been fascinated by the way books can inspire empathy, spark motivation, calm the soul, and teach new lessons.   Yes, books certainly do have the ability to transform us.  Books open minds.  Books open imaginations.  Books open doors of opportunity.  Books change lives.

Books That Have Changed My Life:

Cover of "A New Earth: Awakening to Your ...

1. A New Earth: Awakening Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle taught me the importance of focusing on the present in order to learn from the past and strive for the future.

2. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth gave this sleep-deprived, mildly depressed new mama the permission to let my son “cry it out” without fear of going to Mommy Hell.  

3. The Thousand Secret Senses by Amy Tan exemplifies my belief in reincarnation.

4. Oh, the Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss.  No matter how many times I read this book to my sons, I will never cease to be inspired to jump in, take a risk, and go for it. “You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Cover of "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

5. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Robert D. Putnam and David Campbell was instrumental to research conducted for the book that I am currently writing.

Cover of "The Happiness Project: Or, Why ...

Cover via Amazon

6. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Like Rubin, I am a former lawyerand an aspiring non-fiction writer (though I suppose she is no longer “aspiring”), so I am particularly intrigued and inspired by Rubin’s career change from lawyer to writer.  I am also drawn to Rubin’s straight-forward, practical advice on intentionally creating happiness in one’s life.

7. How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore was a gift from my husband and it changed my life, not so much for the information contained in the book, but through the sentiment that lay behind the gift.  With this book, my husband said to me “I believe in you.  You can do this.”

“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”  — Henry David Thoreau

What books have changed your life?

Linking up with Stasha’s Monday Listicles with the topic of (you guessed it!) books.  

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14 Responses to Books that Saved (or, at least, changed) My Life

  1. I think I need to get my hands on book #7! Love that you have Dr. Seuss on your list!

  2. Christine, Thanks for the shout out! I appreciate that. Books change my life everyday. It seems with each one that I get wrapped up in I see the world a little bit differently. Or maybe I understand someone that I might have been frustrated with a little bit better. To name a couple, One Hundred Years of Solitude by G. Marquez opened my eyes to the wonders of magical realism. I love that book! And more recently Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love. Phenomenal. Nice post! p.s. I have the Seuss book – that’s a great one! Others on your list are intriguing, I’ll need to seek them out.

  3. As another (unfortunately not former) lawyer — happiness is hard. We’ve been trained to be pessimists! Heck, we spent tens of thousands of dollars to learn how to see the bad in everything.

  4. I have to say, I love reading your blog. Your writing, voice and tone are so beautiful and soothing. The Thousand Secret Senses is my favorite book from Amy Tan, I like several of her books but that’s the one that I really connected with. Great quotes on the power of reading and lovely list!

    • Thank you SO much for saying that. As a new blogger, I’ve been struggling with self-doubt as I try to gain followers and find my voice. Thanks a bunch for giving me a little boost!

  5. Superb List. Dr. Seuss Rockssssss

  6. Stasha says:

    Love the quote you included and the relationship you have with books. I used to send office supplies to a girl that befriended me in Kenya and I remember how much pencil and notebook meant to her! I was starting to worry about books becoming extinct until I had my son. His love for them banished all my fears! I am very intrigued by #6 on your list. Queuing it now.

  7. eemusings says:

    This is great! I may have to add some of these to my Goodreads shelf. Ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of most of these titles.

  8. Lynne says:

    Love the variety! I’m a fan of The Life Organizer by Jennifer Louden and anything written by Life Coach, Martha Beck. As a Life After Loss Coach (www.GROwithLynne.com), I read a lot of nonfiction related to grief. I recommend anything by Dr. Alan Wolfelt. The best book related to children and grief is Talking With Children About Loss by Maria Trozzi.

  9. Pingback: Above the Water | Random Reflectionz

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