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(Buzzfeed)   32 Books That Will Actually Change Your Life. Yeah, I know, it's BuzzFeed. How many have you read? Bonus: Not a slide show   (buzzfeed.com) divider line 42
    More: Interesting, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Zen and the Art, butterflies  
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983 clicks; posted to FarkUs » on 20 Apr 2014 at 7:29 PM (26 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-20 05:43:35 PM  
That was pretty bad, even for a Buzzfeed list.

If "IT" changes your life....
 
2014-04-20 05:47:52 PM  
What?  No Bible?  I am dissapoint.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-20 06:00:57 PM  
I read 8 of them. None of them changed my life. Some contributed to it. For example, remembering the crop subsidy part of Catch 22 got me a Fark greenlight 30 years later.  On the other hand, It is mostly forgotten.
 
2014-04-20 06:03:05 PM  
I've read four of them.  No life altering epiphanies were there.
 
2014-04-20 06:32:49 PM  
Read It, Me Talk Pretty One Day and WWZ. Life of Pi, Catch-22 and Zen are three of the very rare occasions when I started a book and gave up partway through.
 
2014-04-20 06:43:15 PM  
Eight, as long as I can count Rombauer, which I haven't read cover-to-cover, since it's basically a reference book.

None changed my life, except by consuming some of it.
 
2014-04-20 07:29:33 PM  
Play It as It Lays is a great book, as is most of Didion's stuff. I take more away from her style of writing than anything else, though.
 
2014-04-20 08:09:03 PM  
Some decent books on the list, though, to be fair, I would substitute Jacques Pepin's The Art of Cooking. Julia's book was inspirational, at the time--but those were dark days for American cuisine, and Jacques' approach is accessible, and far better laid out--each recipe builds skill sets, and between both volumes, it is an entire cooking course, as well as a gorgeous reference book. It is the book that I suggest to folks who want to improve their cooking, and Jacques is a brilliant chef, a wonderful educator, and his cuisine has a simplicity to it that builds young chefs' confidence, as well as hobby cooks.

As for It? That is generational, I think. Same as Chuck being on there. There are books that help form a generation, and for mine, It wasn't just a horror story, but if you got to it at the right time--say in your high school years--it did change how you looked at the friendships you formed, how important those folks were to you, and what you would do to keep them--with enough remove from your life to not feel preachy or histrionic.

Books of all sorts can change your life. For me, there was a lot of Heinlein that resonated. Oddly enough, John D. MacDonald did as well. Same for Melville, and Larry Niven. King had his place too, though as I grew older, he got longer winded, and lacked for editors, which was sort of sad. Millward's A Biography of the English Language changed how I looked at language, though it is a textbook, it is frighteningly thorough, and yet inspiring at how English came to be. Gould's, The Mismeasure of Man was likewise eye opening. Whitman broke me from the thought of poetry as being something to be avoided. Then again, so did Ginsberg's Howl. Mill on the Floss and George Elliot was brilliant--even if Heinlein had little thought for it, and I do love me some Heinlein. John Irving's Cider House Rules came at just the right time for me as well.

And that's really the crux of the matter. Banana Yoshimoto I read at the right time. Clive Barker hit at just the right time. Neal Stephenson hit at just the right time. We take what we can from books, as they come. Some resonate more than others. Some we just obsess about, and some...meh. It's about the place we're in, at the time. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I was too young for the first time it came around. I got more the next read through, but even then, it didn't resonate as much as Alan Steele did. Or Twain. Or Burroughs for that matter. Or even King. That doesn't detract from books that have resonated with others, but it has to be about you and your relationship with the printed word. I LOVE Melville. The intro to Moby Dick is absolutely brilliant, with tongue firmly in cheek, with the right amount of wryness, and observation. For me. For others, forced to read it, it can be a dull plod, because it's forced. I absolutely despise Catcher in the Rye, and while I've tried to approach it again, without a reading list from a professor, it's still a book that I just don't like. I get why it hit some folks like a ton of bricks, but it absolutely doesn't resonate for me. Vonnegut on the other hand, has enough humor to click. Herbert. Nabokov. They are a toss up, because at the wrong time in your life, in the wrong mood, their work can just turn you away, and in the right mood, they can draw you in. It is about timing, and great books aren't just great, but they have to be great to you, and that is all about timing, as well as talent.
 
2014-04-20 08:10:11 PM  
The only one of those I've read is Beloved, and it was a hot mess.

Hey!  We've managed to come up with three of four condensed, evocative phrases that show the horrors of slave life!  Let's throw them at the reader, word-for-word, about a hundred times.
 
2014-04-20 08:15:16 PM  
In what universe would these books have changed my life?
Hawkings was fun, but I was already a physics major, so no change there.

32.  Never Let Me Go
Is on my nightstand WAITING for me to read it one day.


what a terrible list
 
2014-04-20 08:21:37 PM  
I've read 5. World War Z did not change me.
 
2014-04-20 08:24:46 PM  
I've read 6.
 
2014-04-20 08:26:14 PM  
I've read "In Cold Blood".
 
2014-04-20 08:31:33 PM  
All of 'em.
 
2014-04-20 08:36:35 PM  
I've read 5 of them (Cat's Cradle, It, WWZ, Brief History of Time, and Catch-22). I don't think they changed my life, but they've added to it. Probably no more than many of the other hundreds of books I've read in my life, but also no less.

hubiestubert: I absolutely despise Catcher in the Rye, and while I've tried to approach it again, without a reading list from a professor, it's still a book that I just don't like. I get why it hit some folks like a ton of bricks, but it absolutely doesn't resonate for me.


Hear hear! The first time (and only) I read that book was on my own, for my own enjoyment rather than for a class, because I wanted to know what the big deal was. It did absolutely nothing for me except make me dislike the main character (another completely different but also rather acclaimed book that did this to me was "The Kite Runner"). If that was the whole point, then well done to the author, but yeah, it was completely off my wavelength. I guess I can see how it might resonate with people, especially of that generation, but it did absolutely nothing for me.
 
2014-04-20 08:37:14 PM  
Many of those books did change my life.  They made me realize I wasted a lot of time and money getting a degree in Modern Literature.

/ Would you like fries with that post?
 
2014-04-20 08:37:42 PM  

Chris Ween: I've read 5. World War Z did not change me.


have any of the books changed ANYONE?
and in what way??

I guess if you were shallow and close minded and ... what?
World War Z makes people turn into horders and preppers?
lawl
 
2014-04-20 08:40:14 PM  

Ryker's Peninsula: Many of those books did change my life.  They made me realize I wasted a lot of time and money getting a degree in Modern Literature.

/ Would you like fries with that post?


Well you could have reached for the stars and been able to write bullshiat articles like this.
LOL

Seriously, have you noticed that these lists are always written by lit people? Rather than normal humans?
 
2014-04-20 09:01:09 PM  
Life of Pi is wonderful.

/ Not life-changing, though
 
2014-04-20 09:08:12 PM  
List fails without Frank Herbert's Dune.
 
2014-04-20 09:09:39 PM  

Indolent: List fails without Frank Herbert's Dune.


Enders Game.
 
2014-04-20 09:32:36 PM  
Seventeen. Life unchanged.
 
2014-04-20 09:35:03 PM  
The last hundred pages of Life of Pi is one of the finest things I've ever read. The rest of the book was a slog. I've read most of these books and didn't find them life changing. And, as usual, my favorite book was left off the list. No Great Mischief by Alastair MacLeod
 
2014-04-20 10:14:54 PM  
Someday, somewhere, one of these book lists will have A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on it...
 
2014-04-20 10:18:46 PM  
I can't say that any books "changed my life" but some definitely came around at the right time and spoke to me, or made me feel as though someone understood that part of me I don't talk about.
Those books are: The Count of Monte Cristo, Catch-22, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, various things from Kurt Vonnegut, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Sense of an Ending (by Julian Barnes), A Prayer for Owen Meany.

The Sense of an Ending is a book I'd recommend to anyone.
 
2014-04-20 11:48:36 PM  
I found Cosmic Banditos by Allen Weisbecker on a mark down shelf when I was in 9th grade. That's the closest I ever came to having a book change my life. It definitely affected my approach to writing. Also Toffler's Future Shock and The Third Wave and Naisbitt's Megatrends made me mad for statistics and analysis so I guess they 'changed my life'.
 
2014-04-21 12:10:33 AM  
I have read Cat's Cradle and Catch-22.
 
2014-04-21 12:39:53 AM  
No book I read has ever changed my life in more than trivial ways.  (At least, not as the result of me reading it.  I mean, I'm pretty the Bible has changed just about everyone's life but it's usually for reasons other than you having personally read it.)

However, I'd have to agree that this is a good list of "makes you think" books.  I guessed I would have read six, and that's how many I read, and they were all very thought-provoking.
 
2014-04-21 01:11:04 AM  
The only way a book will ever change my life is if it falls off a shelf and paralyzes me
 
2014-04-21 02:04:57 AM  
After reading these three books

ecx.images-amazon.com

ecx.images-amazon.com

i.imgur.com

I stopped taking things so seriously.
 
2014-04-21 02:48:10 AM  
Just two here (looks like we got ourselves some "readers" in this here thread).

In Cold Blood was excellent and life changing in that I'll never forget it and how I became attached to the Clutter family and to a lesser extent Perry Smith.

Stephen King's It was just so much candy.  It was certainly no The Talisman, in terms of the ride those books took me on.
 
2014-04-21 09:23:07 AM  
No HHGTTG?  FAIL.
 
2014-04-21 09:56:30 AM  
0
 
2014-04-21 12:13:16 PM  
5.
Missing from the list is the only book that literally changed my life:  The Natural
 
2014-04-21 12:39:39 PM  
6 and none of them changed my life.
 
2014-04-21 01:49:11 PM  
I propose a new threadjack.  5 books I read and would recommend to other Farkers

1) John Casti - The Cambridge Quintet
C.P. Snow, Schrodinger, Wittgenstein, Turing and someone else gather for dinner and debate artificial conscious (AI)

2) W.E.B. Griffin - Presidential Agent.  Great escapism, trash novel with good dialogue and believable enough military fiction.

3)Tim Dorsey - Florida Roadkill - Gotta love some Serge whacking inconsiderate a-holes in Florida

4) David Morell - Brotherhood of the Rose - Screw Rambo, this novel's one of the best spy thrillers ever.

5) William Forstchen - One Second After - Way too plausible of a premise.  An EMP device is detonated in low atmosphere off a freighter in the Gulf of Mexico, and the south experiences waves of die-offs.
 
2014-04-21 02:14:23 PM  
This is just a list of the author's favorite books, ginned up as something more than that.

Every book can change your life to the extent you allow it.  No list needed.
 
2014-04-21 02:25:11 PM  

doglover: That was pretty bad, even for a Buzzfeed list.

If "IT" changes your life....


I read It when I was the same age as the kids in the story, and I thought it was pretty great at the time.  Can't imagine liking it very much now, though.  And, no, I wouldn't call it "life changing".
 
2014-04-21 02:58:08 PM  
I've read 1 - Under The Banner Of Heaven.

My cousin just recommended The Invention Of Wings, any comments?
 
2014-04-21 03:18:29 PM  
9.  The Artist's Way has some good advice, but I think it'd only be life changing if you decided to follow it's recommendations for the rest of your life.

As for the books that ACTUALLY changed my life:

1.  The Friendship Pact by Susan Beth Pfiffer (sp?).  Not a great book by any means, but the first book where I 'saw' the story play out in my mind, setting me up for a lifetime of reading addiction.  I can still remember the yellow corduroy fabric the apron was made with, despite having forgotten a lot of better books since.

2.  I Want to Go Home - Gordon Korman.  Read when I was the right age for it, the only time when reading I laughed so hard I fell off something.  Korman's mostly in it for the money now (and with a family to raise, no judgement there), but when he was younger his creativity level stood feet above the other books on the YA shelf.  When I lose out on writing contests where I'm fairly sure I, *perhaps,* should've gone further, I remember that scene with the teacher from the end of Son of Interflux (if you've read it, you probably know which one I mean).

Korman's early work in general changed what I consider the minimum level of creativity one can and should expect from a book, especially in the YA genre.

3.  Christy - Catherine Marshall.  Read it in high school - and it's still one of the only "Christian" books and only romances that doesn't make me want to roll my eyes so hard they stick.  Very evocative of a time and place.  I bought and gave away every cheap copy I found for years.

4.  The Vilde Affair, Martin Blumeson.  This is THE BOOK to me.  This is the book that altered my DNA.  Before it, I was just someone with a passing interest in French history.  After, I was obsessed with the topic of the French Resistance and have been ever since.  Perhaps every teenager thinks they 'discover' something when they first listen to punk or read Vonnegut...  The French Resistance was my teenage 'discovery.'    It may not make sense to anyone else, but it doesn't have to.

It's like all history was in black and white before this book, then suddenly a large chunk of it was in color.

Other than those four, I don't think I'd say a book changed my life.  "The Fault in Our Stars" proved YA could do a serious topic without making want to shoot everyone in it, the Tuesday Next series showed how good metafiction can work, the Harry Potter series led to my meeting some friends and having a lot of fun with them, the Sherlock Holmes stories taught me about how much I love mysteries, but I wouldn't say just reading any of them changed my life.
 
2014-04-21 09:22:38 PM  

Dust: This is just a list of the author's favorite books, ginned up as something more than that.

Every book can change your life to the extent you allow it.  No list needed.


Well said.
 
2014-04-21 10:32:51 PM  

K.B.O. Winston: 9.  The Artist's Way has some good advice, but I think it'd only be life changing if you decided to follow it's recommendations for the rest of your life.

As for the books that ACTUALLY changed my life:

1.  The Friendship Pact by Susan Beth Pfiffer (sp?).  Not a great book by any means, but the first book where I 'saw' the story play out in my mind, setting me up for a lifetime of reading addiction.  I can still remember the yellow corduroy fabric the apron was made with, despite having forgotten a lot of better books since.

2.  I Want to Go Home - Gordon Korman.  Read when I was the right age for it, the only time when reading I laughed so hard I fell off something.  Korman's mostly in it for the money now (and with a family to raise, no judgement there), but when he was younger his creativity level stood feet above the other books on the YA shelf.  When I lose out on writing contests where I'm fairly sure I, *perhaps,* should've gone further, I remember that scene with the teacher from the end of Son of Interflux (if you've read it, you probably know which one I mean).

Korman's early work in general changed what I consider the minimum level of creativity one can and should expect from a book, especially in the YA genre.


Holy crap, I haven't thought about that book in years.  It was hysterical.  "Early to rise, early to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead," Chip the baffled counselor, the box of dirt, the escape attempt(s), Rudy's laughing jag, the twist ending.  

Miller!!!
 
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