What are the books that changed your world?

A couple weeks ago, renowned author and columnist Susan Orlean created the #booksthatchangedmyworld tag on her Twitter page. Soon, the Twitterverse was abuzz and closely following her original post, the tag became a trending topic – and it’s still going.

The New Yorker, The New York Times and Canada’s National Post have all urged readers to comment with their favorite books, and here at TNGG we would like you to as well!

What are the books that changed your world?

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18 Responses to “What are the books that changed your world?”

  1. alexpearlman

    The Chronicles of Narnia were my childhood favorites – nothing compares. And this may be passe, but Gone with the Wind had a big impact on me in middle school. And then, obviously, Catcher in the Rye.

  2. acerlilly

    1. Johnny Tremaine 2. A Childs Garden of Verses' w/ original artwork 3. The Children's Story, by James Clavell. 4. Torah whether Jewish or Gentile.

  3. Julia Drewniak

    I've been thinking about this question for a while now, after seeing a few of my friends tweet their responses. I don't think I could pin-point A book, or even a few that changed my world. It's my mother's conviction to foster a love of reading in me when I was a child that really changed my world. I'd always devour books throughout my K-12 school-years, and while I tried reading for pleasure during college, one of my first stops as soon as I came home for the summer was the local public library (a place that, because of our <3 for technology is in great jeopardy). From reading I've traveled to different places, both in time and space. I've learned so much from books; they've helped developed my love of film-making and manners.

    The thing that really breaks my heart is to hear so many people say they don't like reading, even to the point of hating it.
    If that's the case, where are we going wrong? What can we do to make people enjoy reading again?

  4. Angela Stefano

    This was such an awesome hashtag. I spent about an hour one night reading through tagged tweets, and I loved seeing how many times my favorite books showed up — and realizing that I forgot about a lot of books, too.

    I have a pretty long list (as well as, now, a long list of books I want to read), but I think The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Jester (childhood) and The Great Gatsby (high school/college) are the two top ones.

  5. Valeria Villarroel

    Definitely the book that changed my world had to be The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It's an incredible insight into a controversial historical figure that spent most of his life misunderstood – even after his death. Not only that, but it gives great insight into the basics of race relations in the US and why things are the way they are. Honestly, this little thing does absolutely nothing to explain how much this book means to me – it's just that good.

    And contrary to what people might think, it's not a book that is polarizing – in fact, quite the opposite.

  6. Andreana Drencheva

    I have a really lonnggg list, but here are a few that have had a tremendous impact on me: The Kite Runner, almost everything by Alexandre Dumas, especially The Three Musketeers series, A Tale of Two Cities, The Portrait of Dorian Grey and many many more.

  7. Christine

    I had this exact same question for my college application. I completely forget what I wrote… but I desperately wanted to write about how my brother's life was changed by Harry Potter. That book triggered a love for reading in him that I'm proud to say has eventually transformed him into an uber nerd (he's now 18).

    For me, it's harder to pinpoint a real life-changer… but the closest might be a book I read in college on the philosophy of John Dewey. Love that guy.

  8. Carlee Mallard

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera — without a doubt, the first book that really got me thinking about my own philosophy of life, purpose, and values. I read it freshman year of college and haven't read anything since then that's been as world-changing for me.

  9. Kim Angelovich

    I would have to say The Kite Runner is one of my favorites. It was something I would never read on my own and when my high school assigned it years ago I fell in love. It gave me insight into a culture I previously knew little about.

  10. Dylan

    “I Served the King of England” by Bohumil Hrabal. It was a beautifully translated work. The style of writing was a sort of a stream of consciousness, something very different from any other books I've read. One would think it was all put to page by the author in a single sitting, without rest. It taught me, in the most comical way possible, about the comedy that is life.

  11. McKenzie Lawton

    This is difficult. I love to read, but I don't know if there is one specific book that changed something for me. I'd like to say Harry Potter like Christine because it really has had a significant impact on not just me, but our entire generation. But some of my other favorites include: Cat's Cradle, Pride & Prejudice (AND Pride & Prejudice and Zombies), and 1984.

    Now that I think about it, 1984 has had a huge impact on me an the way I think, so I would go with that.

  12. Jessica Weil

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins completely redefined my thoughts about love and relationships.

  13. Tom Miesen

    In high school, it was “The Things They Carried” By Tim O'Brien. It's a book about the Vietnam War, and is all about the thin line between truth and fiction, how stories that aren't real can be more real than the truth. Really great read, though it appears that only us kids growing up in Minnesota had to read it.

    In college, as much of a cliche as it is, “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac had the greatest impact. That sense of looking for the essence of Saturday night across America, that longing for adventure, and the excitement of being constantly with friends and out in the great wide America got to me.

    Now, recently graduated, I've been mostly into books about advertising and PR. “Adland” by James Othmer is a good one to read.

  14. Karey Shane

    No question: To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus and Scout still remain my favorite characters in all fiction. His lack of prejudice, his love, and Scout's spunkiness and curiosity for life, as well as her strong sense of self but eventual awakening to Boo's true nature? Wow. Just read it again during a trip in Scotland.


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