I grew up borderline Amish.
I’m not talking the white puffy hats, buggies, and handcrafted furniture. I mean, I grew up not watching TV. It’s not that we didn’t have a TV in the house (we did), it’s that we spent our time elsewhere — reading. The highlight of the week was my mom taking my sister and I to the library where we would pick out our weekly book selection. I would peruse the shelves with the methodicity of a lawyer in search of loopholes. What care I’d take to pick out my selection and bring the towering stack to the circulation desk! Secretly hoping, of course, that the clerk wouldn’t notice I had one book over the takeout limit. Grand Theft Novel. My rebel streak runs deep.
I thank my lucky stars daily that I was raised this way — to value the world of imagination, curiosity, and reading, over more shallow pursuits. Much has changed in my life in the last two decades: I became an English Lit major, an Educator, an IT Trainer, an Engagement Manager, and now — an Operations Manager by day and an avid writer by night/lunch breaks. Oh, and I started watching TV ;) But this much has remained: I am a reader to my core. I’ve studied literature, I’ve taught it, and most importantly, I live it.
I’ve read 1,000+ books in these first three decades of my life. While I’m allergic to grand sweeping statements, at the risk of dissembling, I need to let the title of this article stand: these books did change my life. Some came crashing down with all the grace of a drunken dock worker intent on up-heaving the status quo. Quick change, rapid results, lots of collateral damage. Others came on more gradually, like a silent invasion. So-so when reading them, but for months after, the truths therein continuing to bloom and amaze as I implemented them in my day-to-day-life.
Regardless of if they fluttered or steamrolled in, the lessons gleaned from these 30 books are here to stay. In my blood, in my brain, in my actions. I am the product of their tutelage, and Teach, I gotta say, thanks.
I present to you: The 30 books that changed my life.
(in no particular order, broken up by genre)
Philosophy & Non-Fiction
So there you have it. The 30 books that changed my life.
Not that you asked, but the selection and elimination process behind creating this list was quite brutal. So many hurt book feelings on my shelf right now. I have to go make nice. But before I depart, I must know: Which books changed your life? Asking for myse… errr… a friend 😉
10/9/2019 12:17:50 am
It makes me happy knowing that reading was not just a hobby for you, but it has changed your life in general. For that, I must assume that these books have huge impact to a person's life because it had a massive effect in your life in general. We're totally different because I don't read that much. But still, I acknowledge the fact that there are so many benefits we can get from reading. It also depends on the book that we read!
10/9/2019 06:42:40 pm
You're right - the benefits of reading are endless!
10/9/2019 05:36:40 pm
:) Thanks for sharing.
10/9/2019 06:41:37 pm
You're welcome, Jose!
10/9/2019 07:48:12 pm
Yes girlie! I’ve been needing to update my book list with new titles so this is very fortuitous :) also I think it’s really ironic that we both referenced our library adventures this week - you on your blog, me on social media. Our twinning runs deeper than red dresses ;)
10/10/2019 10:09:09 pm
Oh my gosh yes!! Same wavelength :)
10/12/2019 07:42:41 pm
This is a wonderful post Marybeth! In a world that can’t stop talking, reading a good book provides solace, clarity and meaning. So, let's quiet the noise and curl up in our comfy chair with a fluffy blanket and a cup of steaming hot chocolate and revel in the power of the written word. There is so much value in autonomous thought and alone-time. I agree that they are indeed the engines for creativity. Marybeth, I treasured our library adventures when you were growing up. It always made my heart glad to see you so enthusiastic and excited about reading. This love has served you well and has now made you the most interesting person in the room. Kudos to you! Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking list with us. I am happy to say that I have read a good number of these books myself. I would like to add one more to the list, not just because of the bright and happy memory I have of all the lazy, warm summer days we spent reading this book together in our backyard on Potawatomie Street, but because it also teaches all of us some important life lessons. So, let's make book #31 The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill. Let's keep reading! Let's keep learning! Let's keep growing! Read On !
10/13/2019 04:11:51 pm
Oh my gosh Pushcart War!!! I forgot about that book!!
10/26/2019 08:55:37 am
We have two grown daughters and I could have written your description of a trip to the library. Our youngest was (is) especially captivated with books (words, thoughts). Lovely piece of writing. Brought back sweet memories.
11/3/2019 06:40:52 pm
Your daughters sound awesome!
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