5 Books That Changed my Life

I saw this as a discussion post on reddit, and it really piqued my interest. I thought it would make an interesting blog post, although I’d much rather hear about books that changed YOUR lives, to be honest. So I’ll make y’all a deal. I’ll give you 5 books that changed my life if you’ll tell me about one of yours in the comments. Sound good? Great.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

51HSkTKlauL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been an avid reader literally my entire life. I can’t remember a time when my nose wasn’t lodged in a book at every possible moment. I started reading Goosebumps when I was five years old. Books have always been a huge part of who I am. But when my fifth grade teacher started reading us the first book in the Harry Potter series, a whole new world opened up for me. It was the first book I’d read that was over 150 pages. Honestly, it was probably the first book I’d read at my reading level in YEARS. Prior to Harry I’d basically been reading the same couple of books over and over and over again because I didn’t know how to find new books I would love. Harry Potter launched me into higher reading level books and a whole new set of options that I loved to explore.

Aside from that, it launched a love affair with Harry Potter. Before fandoms were a thing the Harry Potter fandom was forming, and I was in it. To this day it remains one of my all-time favorite series, and I never hesitate to share it or talk about it with random strangers. I can’t wait to read this book with my boys, especially my beautiful illustrated editions. ❤

The Lord of the Rings

41p5LCEosFL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_The Hobbit was required reading in my sixth grade English class. Needless to say, I loved it. My dad, surprisingly nerdy for a jock, knew the next step was The Lord of the Rings, and he went out and bought the first volume for me. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t make it through the first time. Maybe some 11 year-olds are ready for The Lord of the Rings, but I was NOT one of them! But a year later I picked it up again, finished it, and was obsessed. Luckily for me, this was just in time for the movies, which I am also obsessed with.

The Lord of the Rings changed my life in a few ways. Like Harry Potter, it remains one of my favorite books of all time, and loving it and the characters has really shaped who I am as a person. It also created my love of fantasy. I wish I read more fantasy novels, because it’s probably my favorite genre. Elves, dwarves, magic, swordplay, dragons, everything about it. Finally, Tolkien taught me that I was ready to enjoy “grown-up” books. Gone were the days when I looked for my books exclusively in the kids section. (This was before the Young Adult section was REALLY a thing, it was just nestled into the side of the kids section then.)

Finally, The Lord of the Rings (in combination with Ender’s Game later on) became a real bonding experience for me and my dad. Before then he wasn’t much of a reader. These days he devours sci-fi, and anytime one of us reads a really good one we share it with each other. We love talking books now. How funny, that out of all the people in my family I would most enjoy talking books with, that it would be my dad. If you knew him, you’d be as surprised as I am.

Pride and Prejudice

9781435160514_p0_v1_s550x406The required reading at my high school was pretty intense. In tenth grade we read Les Miserables. Whew, what a beast! I didn’t enjoy most of those books (though I loved Les Mis!), so I thought that classic literature was too hard or too boring or too something.

Then, round about tenth or eleventh grade, I picked up Pride and Prejudice. I was hooked. While I’m not sure I completely “got it” the first time I read it, I enjoyed it a lot and started picking up other classic novels. Soon enough I spent the vast majority of my time reading books written before 1900 and loving them. So we can all thank Jane Austen for my undying love of the classics. Thanks Jane!

Love in the Time of Cholera

51GxFpytqiL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_College marching band. I don’t even know what to say about it, save that I did NOT fit in. I don’t understand why doing simple things like taking an 8-to-5 step are so difficult for the best of the best, especially considering how many of them march drum corps. Like, I get it, you want to have fun and be lazy, BUT IT ISN’T HARD AND YOU’VE BEEN DOING IT FOR 5+ YEARS NOW, AND CAN WE PLEASE GET OUR ACT TOGETHER?!?! *end rant*

So, yeah, during my first week of college marching band I quickly discovered that I didn’t fit in. Something about being the only person in your section NOT invited to lunch clues you in. But nevermind, I had a book to read, and now the music building was empty so I could have some peace and quiet. Which I needed, because Love in the Time of Cholera is not exactly an easy read.

Enter Kyle. He sees me reading. He thinks to himself, hey, she looks smart. And she’s cute. (I don’t know what he was thinking, I was most certainly NOT cute…) Maybe I should go talk to her.

The rest, as they say, is history. We’ve now been married almost 7 years and have 2 beautiful children. Just think, if I had gone to lunch with the rest of those losers, we might never have gotten together. Or, if I had been like all the other girls and had my nose buried in Twilight. And you know what? I think Gabriel Garcia Marquez would rather like this story.

The Leader in Me

518+7JOSZmL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I read this book as a way to earn professional development hours at school a few years ago, and it ended up changing everything. First of all, it introduced me to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has since changed how I view and live life. I am happier and more effective than I’ve ever been before. Also, being proactive is a game-changer when it comes to teaching difficult kids. Second of all, it changed my career. At the time I was given this book I was teaching band. It was a crap job, but I was trying to pay my dues until I could get a better one. But this book came around, I got so excited about it, and everything it stood for, and implementing it at my school. I couldn’t wait to start using it in my beginner band curriculum the next year! Then some stuff went down. I found myself looking for a new job. But I didn’t want to leave my school and leave the Leader in Me. So I talked to my principal, took an exam, and got myself certified to be a classroom teacher. I now teach fourth grade math and science. Life’s been crazy different, I can tell you that.

I’m still super passionate about The Leader in Me, and I think that if I can stay at Leader in Me schools, when I’m finally burnt out on teaching I might like to work for the Franklin-Covey people. I would love to see this program implemented effectively at more schools.

Alright kids, I’ve kept up my end of the bargain, now it’s time for you to keep up yours. What’s a book that’s changed YOUR life?

18 thoughts on “5 Books That Changed my Life

  1. That story about meeting your now-husband because of Gabriel Garcia Marquez is so sweet! I’m sure Marquez would have loved it!

    The Lord of the Rings changed my life, too, but the book that has changed my life the most recently is Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild’. I’d always wanted to travel before then, but was waiting around for friends to be ready to go with me. Strayed’s story gave me the nudge I needed to go on my own, and since then I’ve visited four countries and given me some of the best experiences of my life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that’s so awesome! I am super jealous, I would LOVE to travel. Unfortunately for me it’s kind of a money issue. But I’m so happy to hear you’ve been to so many cool places! Which countries have you visited?


  2. Dawlyn: I love the reasonings behind your choices, especially the Meet Cute with your hubby! So sweet! 😆

    Harry Potter also changed, my reading life, as I have also always been an avid reader, but up until third grade I don’t think I had read any fantasy. Enter Harry Potter, the first fantasy love of my life! ❤️

    I haven’t read The Leader in Me but I saw it in other classes during undergrad and my professors in both undergrad and grad have taught The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. They’re great and I’ll have to pick up the book now!

    A book that changed my life is Front of the Class by: Brad Cohen. Not only did it confirm my passion for working with students with disabilities, but it deeply encouraged me to go into teaching confidently as a teacher with disabilities. I would highly recommend it, even to teachers working in classrooms with majority typically developing students.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are a lot. It’s hard to choose. I would have to say… The Silmarillion. The scope of it and how it ties everything in Tolkein’s universe together really opened up a lot of avenues to me. And the tale of Beren and Luthien is still my all time favorite thing of Tolkein’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of mine would probably be 1984. I had to read it for a political science class and after reading it and discussing it in class I finally knew that I had gotten my major right on my sixth try!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I started in international studies, bounced to creative writing, biology, computer science, art history, journalism. I loved learning so I enjoyed nearly all my classes. Everything interested me, but that made it very difficult to settle down in one area.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. i’ve never read love in the time of cholera but i feel like it was referenced constantly in a movie of some sort but i can’t remember which one!
    i would have to say The Uglies or The Truth About forever- bc before those books, I didn’t know I liked reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oooh I love posts like this! I haven’t read The Lord of the Rings although I love the movies. They seem long-winded and I don’t really do well with long, wordy books. I wouldn’t say Harry Potter changed my life but, like most people, I love the stories. I think mine would have to be The Book Thief xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, there seem to be two types of people. The ones who are in love with The Lord of the Rings, and the ones who thing it’s too long and wordy in the descriptions. I definitely love the movies too, and think they’re a great alternative for folks who couldn’t enjoy the story because they didn’t connect with the writing style.

      I, on the other hand, might be the only person in the world who didn’t fall in love with The Book Thief. Probably because it’s a WW2 book, and I have kind of a THING about the holocaust.


  7. Wonderful post!! HP and the Hobbit are two books that absolutely changed my life!! 😀 So I really relate there! (and LOTR is the obvious next step- your dad’s cool for knowing that 🙂 ) And I love the story of how you met your husband- it’s so sweet 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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