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A book that changed your life


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I recently re-read "The Womens Room" by Marilyn French, and thought it rather OTT but when I first read it in the early 70s, it had a profound effect on me. I became a feminist, not in a public way, but in my own life, and when I look back now, I can hardly believe for example, that within my lifetime, wives were required to have their husbands guarantee any loans they applied for.

I wondered what books influenced the lives of you forum members.

 

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As a 14 year old I was given Anne Franks Dairy as a Christmas present I read it at the time and it had a huge affect on me and saddened me that people could do those terrible things to each other. I came from a rascist family having grown up in singapore and India my parents treated the local people like servants .... I believe it was the start of me thinking for my self in such matters and not just following my parents word .... I later read a new version of it and it had the same affect , in that it made me rethink my attitudes to people different from me ... I hope today I treat everyone as I would like to be treated and any judging thoughs I may make of people in my head never surface to my attitude to them ... But Im not always perfect. I do wonder if I would of come to the same thoughts with out this books or was it the book that changed me ?
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[quote user="woolybanana"]I think that The Three Bears had a substantial effect on me, followed years later by Catch 22 which made me the outsider I am and which made me take rowing lessons.[/quote]

Catch 22 did for me too, that and any film Jack Nicholson appeared in, but to return to the subject I'd have to say in my formative years The Three Bears were ousted by Tootles the Taxi.

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"One foot in France" by Roger Pilkington

I had previously read several of his Small Boat books, and this one came out just as I was deciding to come to France.

His advice on the local climate was spot on,  and the description of the town where I now live was influential if a little flattering in retrospect. Much better than the later 'my tedious self in France about which I think I know something but am just pig-ignorant ' books which followed from lesser writers.

 I later met him in passing shortly before he died

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'Sa Majesté des Mouches' or to you all anglophones : Lord of the Flies.

Having read it in French first then a few years later in English, I noticed that a lot of the 'savagery' somewhat got lost in translation. I say this as where the French would use 10 words, the English only use 1, so making any feeling/description quite terse and brutal at times. 

It also showed me that my upbringing was very sheltered indeed as then I never remotely conceived the idea that children could be so cruel to each other and be pushed to cowardice by following the strongest willed in the group if only to have a quiet and falsely protected life.

 

'Anne Frank' was another book that made me see the world quite differently. I visited her hiding place later in life and remember standing in her bedroom quietly weeping, looking at the poster picture of a very young Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) on the wall. You just can't visit that place (and the museum next door) and be impervious to any feelings at all. 

 

 

 

 

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[quote user="Ariège Author"]A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. It started my wanderlust which hasn't abated since.[/quote]

ditto that one and his Pied Piper.

I have to say I can't think of one book that exactly changed my life but there have been many books that I have read and that have really made a strong impression on me.

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Someone else who found Catch 22 life changing. I have a copy and re-read it sometimes.

Also, about the same epoch , The Divided Self by R.D. Laing - a brilliant re-interpretation of schizophrenia, with which I had connections at the time it was published.

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The Celestine Prophecy - wouldn't be everyone's cuppa tea however for me, due to an incident on a train, I no longer believe in coincidence.

But the book I've enjoyed the most so far and which made me think about the german families who hated the war as much as anyone else is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I've lent this book out numerous times and everyone seems to feel the same way about it ie they love it.
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That reminds me of another book which had a big impact on me - A Model Childhood by Christa Woolff.

Trying to understand how the ordinary german could be drawn into such wickedness, this book helped to explain it.

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I was going to put The Celestine Prophecy as well but although I have read it 3 times im still not sure what I thing about it ...Is it a book written by a very clever brain washer !! or a very intuative man who seemed to pick up on many things Id felt and thought about most of my life. I have never believed in coincedences always thinking there was a reason for them and now I can see why ...Interesting and clever book.

Knee gel I would be interested to here what happened to you on the train ??
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I thought at the time that Alistair Cooke's "America" would change my life.There was something about Cooke's descriptions that made me - and no doubt many others in the early 70s - yearn for a Harley and several months to explore the States, perhaps never to return.

Instead, I ended up in France. (Geography was never my strong subject.) 

I still like to read anything by Cooke. Wonderful style. I can hear his voice and phrasing as I read.

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[quote user="Alan Zoff"] ....  I can hear his voice .... [/quote] 

I used to religiously listen to his Radio4 Sunday morning at 8.45 'Letters from America'.  In the very many years I've lived in the UK, I have only missed listening to just one of his letters, the one broadcasted on the Sunday my daughter was born. She came in to this world at 9.30 [:)] 

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[quote user="fandango"] .... that I will only lend but never give away![/quote]

I find that lending a book, to some people it is as good as if you are giving them the book away, certainly in this family I married into, it's the norm... I just don't lend them my favorite books as I know I will never see them again.

 

 

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