The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them

by Roxanne J. Coady (Editor)

Other authorsJoy Johannessen (Editor)
Hardcover, 2006




Gotham (2006), 224 pages


Sixty-five concise and lively essays by some of today's most successful writers identify the books that proved pivotal to the shaping of their careers, in a volume that includes Harold Bloom on "Little, Big," Nelson DeMille on "Atlas Shrugged," and Sebastian Junger on "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee."

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
What a wonderful book. In concise writing, each author tells a tale of the book that changed his/her life and the reasons why.

I was delighted that two of the authors wrote about the amazing life-changing book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Both Wally Lamb and Susan Vreeland write eloquently and emotionally about the power of Harper Lee's writing.

Susan Vreeland writes "Harper Lee's classic and timeless plea for tolerance, To Kill a Mockingbird, gives us hope that communities racked by ignorance and pretension can experience moments of grace. The lessons here are not just for children."

Suffice it to say that her page and 1/2 of text brought tears to my eyes.

Chris Bohjalian credits Joyce Carol Oates's book Expensive People and More

Kate Atkinson lauds Robert Coover's Pricksons & Descants

Sabastian Junger notes Dee Brown's Bury My Heart As Wounded Knee and a life-changing read.

Frank McCourt writes about William Shakespeare's Henvy VIII

Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member bohemima
71 nauthors do extremely short sketches of the most influential books in their lives. Kind of humdrum, but okay if read in short bursts. Anne Perry's essay is excellent, as are a very few more. The most striking thing? How many of these authors cited books that they felt had given them "permission" to write: that is, they were suddenly surprised--"Hey, I can do this, too!"… (more)
LibraryThing member -Eva-
A collection of essays by 71 writers on which book has changed their life the most. Interesting collection to read a few entries at a time (not a one-sitting kind of book). Nothing too unexpected, except Harold Bloom's pick (Little, Big) which I had expected to be more along the Shakespeare lines. Most interesting is when you call tell the writer's overall style from a short essay - I recognize the voices of the authors I'm familiar with, but I'm assuming they're all the same. Nice read that gave me a few more books for the old wishlist.… (more)
LibraryThing member debnance
It was pretty much the usual suspects: To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, David Copperfield, For Whom the Bell Tolls. But there were some surprises, too: Kristin Lavransdatter (new to me), Albert Schweitzer's Out of My Life and Thought (sounded compelling), H.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday (I've had this recommended to me long ago, but I forgot about it). All in all, some nice additions to my wishlist.… (more)
LibraryThing member damcg63
Great read.
LibraryThing member bookworm12
“You could read the same text repeatedly over time, and that something fresh and new would declare itself with each reading - was a revelation to me.”

“I finally got it: a book could do more than help you pass an exam, it could lift you up and sweep you away.”

“I don’t want to reread any of them now, for fear of finding they have aged as gracelessly as I have.”… (more)
LibraryThing member Paul-the-well-read
Every book has an influence on the reader, some profound, some not so meaningful, and some even repugnant, but every book ever read leaves the reader changed. In this collection of the books which most affected 71 authors, you find books of fiction, of history, of poetry of non-fiction and books that influenced these authors even when they were young. From The Little Engine that Could to Charlotte's Web to the Collected Works of Shakespeare to The Catcher in the Rye to To Kill a Mocking Bird, all of these books left indelible imprints of authors who themselves offered their souls in the books they have created.
One of the best ways to answer yourself when asking, "What should I read next?" is to have the recommendations of others and nowhere will better recommendations be found than in the recommendations of the people who craft books themselves.
This was a wonderful read and gave me a roadmap to many volumes I must now add to my own experience.
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LibraryThing member Dmtcer
I found this book to be inspiring. As I read it, I found myself asking the question - just what book changed my life? My answer kept coming back to the same thing - ALL of them! I found this book to be an inspiring collection of essays by a variety of authors. Writing styles, humor, individual quirks; small opinions of each writer could be found in each essay. I do, however, have one small complaint. my list of to-read books got much longer during my reading of The Book That Changed My Life! So many books...too little time!… (more)


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