Is it Life Changing?


When I got up this morning, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to write about. I started glancing through my Twitter feed and I happened to follow the author Paulo Coehlo. If you have never read any of his work, I highly recommend “The Alchemist” and “Aleph,” both of which are excellent books. He had posed a question on his Twitter feed and on his blog and the more I got to thinking about it the better I thought it would be to ask myself. He asked for the names of the five books that changed your life. I think five might be a bit much for some people. I think a lot of people can say they have really only been influenced highly by one or two, three at the most. So I am going to change the question up a little bit:

What is the one book that you think has changed or affected your life the most?


I started thinking about this as soon as I read the question this morning. For me, I think there are 2 books that I can say have had a big effect on my life. The first is William Paul Young’s “The Shack.” Granted, many critics and people will say that it is not a great piece of literature and just as many might say they disagree with message. That’s fine; I am not looking for an argument on its literary merits or its religious take. For me, the book carried meaning. It came along at an important time in my life just after my father had passed away in 2008 and I think it really helped me to understand things better from my own personal perspective. After my own illness and brush with death in 2009, I read it again and I think it meant even more to me. As someone who does not consider himself to be the model Christian or even very religious, it gave me some insight into the way that I need to approach life, love, religion, the hereafter and God. For me, it was a life changer.

The other book that I think had a big effect on me, and for completely different reasons, is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Now, some may wonder how this particular book could have any type of influence on a person, but it changed the way I approach literature and writing. This was one of the first books I read when I was starting to go for my Master’s degree in English and it opened my eyes. The way Marquez is able to employ just about everything into his writing and make you feel what the many characters in the book are feeling to me was enlightening. It also gave me my first exposure to books using things like magical realism and a postmodern approach, and I loved it. From then on, I was always looking for books that would give me the same feeling and insight and I think it still affects the way I read today.

So what book do you think has had the biggest effect on your life?It can be anything; it doesn’t have to be something profound or deep or with great literary meaning as long as it means something to you. Leave a comment here and let’s see what you can come up with. I’ll ask  some people on Twitter too and see if they respond.

Thank’s to all who answered my last question about the Muppets. It seems as though there are a lot of Miss Piggy and Animal fans out there :). Check back next time and see what I feel like talking about.

6 Responses to “Is it Life Changing?”

  1. It’s hard to tell which books might have changed my life, because there’s nothing obvious (like a book that made me choose my career path, for example). There have been books that left a lasting effect on me though. There’s Harry Potter – it became so much more than a book series in my life so is probably the best answer to this question. However, I have never forgotten ‘Noughts and Crosses’, ‘One Day’ or ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’.
    – Lauren

    • 2 MikeG

      Lauren – Thanks for your reply! A number of people I know say the same thing about Harry Potter and the books. I think they have had an effect on an entire generation of readers, maybe bringing more people back to reading than had been in recent years, which is a great thing. Both my wife and son devoured those books and loved every page.

  2. 3 MikeG

    E L James ‏@E_L_James
    @IguanaFlats Twilight.

  3. 4 MikeG

    Wm Paul Young
    @IguanaFlats @wmpaulyoung …depends on the day, many books with major impacts. One is Unspoken Sermons, by George MacDonald.

  4. 5 MikeG

    Frank Rich
    @IguanaFlats “Act One” by Moss Hart

  5. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!
    It is the little changes that will make the largest changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

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