Thursday, November 29, 2012

5 Life-Changing Books

Jeremy Lynch of Crimespree Magazine recently asked me to list 5 books that changed my life. That made me wonder if indeed any book actually had.  In thinking back over the years, I realized that yes, several had.  So here is the list I sent him on November 16. If a book changed your life, come over to my Facebook page and share your story.

Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Seuss.  I have never forgotten the heart-stopping suspense, the appealing character and the surprising plot twist that led to a happy ending.  A children's librarian read it aloud when I was 3 and I was hooked on books for life.

 A red-leather diary with a lock that I received for my 10th birthday.  When my brother found it, picked the lock and read a passage aloud at breakfast one morning, I learned that words written down on a page can have unintended consequences.  A good lesson to learn at age 10.

Collected Poems, by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  At 13, it made me want to write and it also taught me the value of specificity in pulling a reader into the writer's setting.  Not "herb garden" but "sweet basil, sage, etc."  Not a generic "bird" but "whip-poor-will" or "meadow lark."  Not "trees" but "tamaracks" or "pines."

The Trial, by Franz Kafka -- At 20, I gained a deeply personal, life-changing insight with this book. (Plus, seeing it on my bookshelf led my husband to propose!)

Roget's Thesauraus - Not the dictionary version, but the one where words are grouped by relationships. Finding the precise word with the exact nuance you want to convey is very liberating.

So what book changed your life?

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