On Books

Sarah B. wrote about the fact that she’s rereading a book she read when she was in her teens. At the time, it changed her life. While she hasn’t mentioned which book, it has me thinking about the books that affect me (before the age of 18).

BOOKS THAT CHANGED ME:

  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • Several of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories.
  • Then Again, Maybe I Won’t (heh) By Judy Blume
  • Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss.
  • The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
  • A Reckoning by May Sarton

BOOKS THAT DID NOT BUT I WAS TOLD WOULD:

  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Demien by Herman Hesse

That’s off the top of my head. I am sure there are more. (Should I be worried that two Dr. Seuss books came to mind immediately?)

24 Comments

  1. a few years ago, i re-read ‘catcher in the rye’

    i remember reading it in hs, and being ‘taught’ from the viewpoint that he’s a badass, and he’s real, and he’s an odd protagonist

    then i read it after college, and saw him to be the most superficial, silver spooned, dissatisfied little brat of a rich prep-school kid—more so than any of those types of people that i went to school with. and that he’s so miserable because in essence, he is everything that he hates.

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  2. I get the impression I might dislike that book a second time around.

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  3. Heck no sister. Seuss rules.

    I loved “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Silverstein, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”, and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. I’ve read those books like a gazillion times.

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  4. My bookclub read Catcher a couple summers ago and loved it. Yes Holden is a child of privilege, a ne’er do well grappling with his own “phoniness” as well as that of those around him. If I were a teacher again, I’d teach Catcher alongside Hamlet and the Wizard of Oz (the movie).

    The books that changed/influenced me as a teen were “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, “Absalom, Asalom!” and “Leaves of Grass.”

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  5. Maybe I will reread it, then. I am curious. You know, I haven’t ever read Fear and Loathing? Weird. :/

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  6. i second your opinion of on the road. just never happened for me. keep waiting to meet someone who will open my eyes to something I may have missed there… anyone?

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  7. I read “On The Road” one summer in high school and it did nothing for me. Frankly, Dean Moriarty (based on Neal Cassady) sounded like a horny prick, and Karlo Marx (based on Allen Ginsberg) just didn’t seem like a guy I wanted to hang around, either. Later on I read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (while backpacking through Europe) and realized that THAT is what I thought “On the Road” should have been.

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  8. damn … all my books are so “male.” i would never be able to get a job in academia. thank god i got outta that racket.

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  9. damn … all my books are so “male.”
    ha ha ha
    I think you should (re)read The Fountainhead—get some estrogen already. (Toby Joe LOVES Ms. Rand.)

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  10. Yeah, I’m your typical Rand fan, for sure!

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  11. “Dianetics” changed my life!

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  12. Yeah, it changed my life too.

    [Did I say that right, Tom?]

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  13. Katie, Tom is a homosexual.

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  14. “The Happy Hooker” was an eye opening read at the tender age of 16. And on the less pornographic end,”The Giving Tree” still is powerful to me.

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  15. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

    Amazing that it is the only book she has ever written.

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  16. i bounce from “the story of the eye” back and forth to “the giving tree”…..it’s so important to give and to receive….at least in my book.

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  17. Ah story of the eye. That’s a doozie. Incidentally, I bet those two books haven’t ever lived in the same sentence before now. We’ve hit a new ground.

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  18. they’re living together under my bathroom sink as we speak…hehehehehe

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  19. *silently wonders why both are in the bathroom.

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  20. Sex with priests and eggs = good pooping material? Or are you that dirty. Don’t answer that. I already know, sir Gregory.

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  21. “The Story of the Eye” for a while there I thought I was the only one to have read that….thank God I’m not alone.

    But my fav – Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

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  22. i had to read that book for a class in college. That and the Accursed Share, Volume 1. Insane, I tell ya. That class was rough but interesting to say the least.

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  23. Don’t tell, but mine is Babysitters Club #18: Stacey’s Mistake.

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  24. ooh, I’m late to the party, but I have to chime in about on the road as well. another that I thought I’d like but never really got into was zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

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