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English Muse: Which Books Changed Your World?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Which Books Changed Your World?

I guess it's officially books week on the English Muse...

There's a major trending topic sweeping Twitter at the moment: #booksthatchangedmyworld.
It made me stop and think. The book that most changed my world was Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast", because I finally understood that it didn't take a lot of money to live well.

What about you?

PS: Check out the twitter stream on the subject. The answers range from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to the Great Gatsby!

Also, the above photo is from here.

Have a lovely Wednesday and HAPPY BLOOMSDAY!

UPDATE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: Susan Orlean, one of my favorite New Yorker writers, is the one who started the Twitter hashtag! More about it on the New Yorker's website.



Blogger pearl. said...

i have not come accross a book that has changed my as of yet. The Kite Runner was extremly eye opening, but i wouldnt say it changed my life . . . ill have to get reading!
Pearl xo

June 16, 2010 at 1:08 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

This is an interesting topic! When I think of my favourite books they're often more books that I loved unreservedly and that moved me, but I don't know how many of them really changed my world. I really should compile my list. Really interesting! I haven't read any Hemingway which is pretty shocking, but I want to.

This reminds me of the article I read today on the BBC website this week about To Kill A Mockingbird, and whether or not it deserves the classic status. I totally think it does.

June 16, 2010 at 2:47 AM  
Blogger Lulu Peddar said...

Without a doubt 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' by Capote, it made we realise it was ok to be bonkers and afraid sometimes and to make sure I have a cat one day with a name!

June 16, 2010 at 3:21 AM  
Blogger Sundari said...

I don't know what has really changed my world in terms of books, but I do know that Haruki Murakami's writing does influence the way I see things now in a subtle way, Lolita broke my heart, and Keat's poetry moves me.

June 16, 2010 at 3:54 AM  
Blogger C said...

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I read day and night to finish it. Loved Russian history when i did it in school so when I was done there was a sense of accomplishment and also some sense that it had left a lingering impression on me.

June 16, 2010 at 3:58 AM  
Blogger Frau said...

I don't know about changing my world but opening up my world to other reads....East of Eden, Jane the Kite Runner also. Life of Phi...list goes on and on.

June 16, 2010 at 4:03 AM  
Blogger Tonia said...

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Colour Purple: nothing else has ever filled me with such rage, guilt and happiness - truly ground breaking piece of fictions. Wonderful books created by wonderful authors.
From childhood - Wind in the Willows - still can't read the Pan scene without my eyes filling.

June 16, 2010 at 5:02 AM  
Blogger Maria S. said...

I know this sounds pretentious, but in college when I read Ullyses by James Joyce, I just thought this is the most amazing, eye-opening thing I have ever read. Did it change me? I don't know. It changed the way I looked at art.

June 16, 2010 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger Her name was Lola said...

Top 5: Little Women, The Bell Jar, Tender Is the Night, A Room of One's Own, Pride&Prejudice - but so many plays too! Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Tennessee Williams' canon. I LOVE BOOK WEEK! Cheers.

June 16, 2010 at 6:06 AM  
Blogger curious constellation said...

Jane Eyre. I just can't think of any other book that I felt so much emotion whilst reading.

June 16, 2010 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger TheBeautyFile said...

East of Eden, The Red Tent and a close reading of the Bible with a teacher in 11th grade. I have a lot left to be inspired by!!

June 16, 2010 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Ann-Cathrine said...

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.. No question about it. I have gone through some similar things like the main character and I read this book at a time when I thought I was all alone with such feelings, and it was a great consolidation to me to find that I wasn't the only one dealing with these things.
There are also other books that have changed the way I look at art and writing, but not anyone other than The Bell Jar has changed the way I see the world.

June 16, 2010 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Cassie said...

It was almost ten years ago that Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard changed my life. I finally began to realize that all the questions I had concerning my life and the religious upbringing I had--were valid questions (of my own). She doesn't necessarily speak to much of this subject but she does illuminate the mystery that often fills in the gray space of our lives. Also she pays high tribute to the beauty and intricacy in our lives. I think I am in need of a re-read!!

p.s. Anything by Annie Dillard is a must.

June 16, 2010 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Ooh good choice. I read A Moveable Feast when I was living in Paris so I especially love it too. I have a few but one that jumps to mind is Crime and Punishment for finding beauty even in life's miserable conditions.

June 16, 2010 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger The Lil Bee said...

So funny, I just saw that on Twitter! Mine would definitely be A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. If you haven't read it, you must. I adore it.

June 16, 2010 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Chronicles of Narnia would probably be the first books that changed by world, but also Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. Before I'd read Anna Karenina, I hadn't read much classical literature, and it just opened my eyes to a whole genre of books that I now love.

June 16, 2010 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger hawthorne girl said...

yes, a moveable feast is my all time favorite. oh what it would have been like to live in paris then. and thank you for the elizabeth bowen book recommendation, i have on on order now!

June 16, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger alyssa said...

definitely the great gatsby. it might be an obvious choice for some, but it was one of the first books that i just feel in love with. i understood that people do the craziest things to get something(someone) and sometimes it ends up all for nothing.

June 16, 2010 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Taylor Sterling said...

Right now I am reading a book by Chelsea Handler "My Horizontal Life" I can't say it is life changing (it is a little vulgar and over the top- why I love it. It really makes you laugh and appreciate the comedy in things!

June 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Steam Spectre said...

Tales of a Female Nomad was book that really changed my world and made me realize all the possibilities and "ways to live life" that are out there for those with the courage and passion to do it. Another life changing book is My Antonia. Movable Feast is my next planned read so this post is quite timely!

June 16, 2010 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Ms Smart said...

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. The concept of "cities" haunts me. This is not a tourist boo, or is it? Cities as concepts. Artsy read. Mentally stimulating. I think about it all the time. I write about cities. I have bought this book three times!!!

June 16, 2010 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Whimsy Being said...

Jack Kerouac's On The Road
Erica Jong's Fear of Flying


I will add the Hemingway title you that changed your world to the list!

June 16, 2010 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger Carrie Miller said...

Little Women and A Wrinkle in Time, somehow they made me want more. Of life, of personal relationships, of me. They were a few of the books that I read in the beginning that left lasting impressions. Oh and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, I still heart Dr. Seuss above all.

June 16, 2010 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger brittany said...

when i was in 5th grade, i read a wrinkle in time over and over and over again! i was also a nancy drew-aholic! i've always loved reading. these days, the books that have definitely changed my world are the 7 books of the outlander series by diana gabaldon. my aunt made me read the first two and i was hooked. perfect for a hopeless romantic.. with some good history mixed in :) oh oh and i've always loved some flannery o'connor... a good man is hard to find!

June 16, 2010 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger Thivia said...

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

I've haven't come across anything that reads so devastatingly but in the most beautiful and luxurious way imaginable.

June 17, 2010 at 5:41 AM  
Blogger Rita Finn said...

I have so many, and hate to leave any of my favorites out, but recently read two books that had me speelbound and speechless. Somerset Maugham's 'The Moon and Sixpence' completely blew me away, as well as CS Lewis's 'A Grief Observed.' Rarely do books make me cry, but these made me sob with their profound depths.

June 17, 2010 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Not sure if any books have changed my world but 'Chinese Cinderella' brought me to tears and definately moved me.

June 17, 2010 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Daydream Lily said...

I left a comment earlier but I dont think it went through.

I read a book as a teenager that shocked me so much it has stayed with me since-- Sleeping Dogs by Sonya Hartnett. It would be one of my favourite books. Other books that have changed my life... 1984 and Animal Farm - they sparked an interest in Politics that didnt exist before. Bride Stripped Bare - another schocking one, very perverted but I never looked at relationships the same again.

Catcher in the Rye - Holden really struck a cord with me, I felt he saw the world with the same cynicism. The cynicism I inherited from my Dad, although he didnt enjoy the book an I thought he would.

Fight Club -- OF COURSE!! and all of Chuck P's books.

Trainspotting - Choose Life, seriously the best quote ever!!!!!

Im very dark in my taste in books!! haha

June 17, 2010 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Daydream Lily said...

oh and I left off Haruki Murakami Norwegian Wood. Thats his best work, Ive tried other books of his but didnt enjoy them nearly as much.

June 17, 2010 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Pirate Trish said...

The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy changed, or rather reaffirmed my life. Random things happen, wonderful and terrible. Sometimes things make sense, usually they don't. Someone else always knows more than you and they'll give you a condescending look more often than an explaination. Sometimes the answers you get aren't matches for any of your questions. And finally, should the end of the world come I hope like Ford Prefect I'm too drunk to notice. It's much better than random useless panic.

June 18, 2010 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Erin Wallace said...

What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancy changed the way I look at my faith and the world. It is an amazing book. And A Time Traveler's Wife because it made me realize what an amazing book could do to me. I Love that book.

xo Erin

June 22, 2010 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Emily Alexandreta said...

I've come across many valuable books, but so far, none have exactly change my life in a major way yet.

But books like Kite Runner, Moutains beyond Moutains, oh and don't forget the Time Traveler's Wife.

June 25, 2010 at 2:02 AM  
Blogger ticklishfromadistance said...

For me it was The Poisonwood Bible by Barbra Kingsolver. Haunted me for weeks.

June 29, 2010 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger MJ said...

Fosca by I.U. Tarchetti (a reprint was titled "Passion.")

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson

View With a Grain of Sand by Wyslawa Szymborska

July 17, 2010 at 7:35 PM  

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