Significant Books

Significant Books (Image from Unsplash.com)

I ❤ reading. I read books, mangas, and fanfics, and I re-read things I haven’t read in awhile. To give you an idea, since this January, I’ve read or re-read 111 books and mangas — this doesn’t even include the fanfics I read. Becca asked me to teach her my ways, but I don’t really have a “way”, haha! ^^; I simply read before I sleep, on the weekend, and in coffee shops. I make the time to read because it is something I really love to do, and there’s nothing better than reading a book that significantly impacts me in life-changing ways. And this post compiles my top significant books that have affected me deeply.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This book started my love for reading. Until third grade, I actually hadn’t cared much for books, and I’d only read Archie comics. But one day, my third grade teacher read to us Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and I was instantly hooked on reading since. Dahl’s writing style, plot, characters, and wordplay captivated me. I realised then that books are awesome, and it made my imagination go wild! This book led me to like Dahl’s other works like Matilda, The Witches, and The BFG.

The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl

Hoo boy — this book, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, really opened up a can of worms for me. This book encouraged me to start keeping my own diaries, which eventually led to blogging. Granted none of my diaries were as eloquent as Frank’s, but I’d tried, haha! This book also made me become a World War II and Holocaust aficionado. I read up as much as I could about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, which led to me read the next book . . .

Anne Frank Remembered

Anne Frank Remembered

Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies and Alison Leslie Gold is a memoir about Gies, one of the helpers who hid Frank and her family and friends. This is a book I re-read almost every year because I really like reading about Gies’ perspectives about World War II and what she did to help hide her friends in Amsterdam. She also shared her life as a child refugee and what happened after the war. Gies’ straightforward narrating allowed me to relate to her easily. As I get older, I find that I prefer Gies’ memoir over Frank’s diary.

The Giver

The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry is the utopian-dystopian novel that came long before The Hunger Games and other similar novels, and it blew my mind. This is the book (along with “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut) that showed me that utopian/dystopian societies can be frightening, especially with the concept of sameness. I’ve always liked Lowry for her Number the Stars novel, but The Giver made a huge impact on me and opened my mind to so many new concepts.

Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five

I read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut in my high school senior English class. My teacher was a huge fan of the book, but she mentioned that it was a book we’d either love or hate. I fell into the “love” category because the book fascinated me. It’s a truly bizarre anti-war book with time-travelling and aliens, but the black humour is absolutely brilliant. In fact, when we had to silently read to ourselves, I was the only one in my class laughing. I guess I had a weird sense of humour even back then!

Rainbow Boys

Rainbow Boys

I happened upon Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez in my high school library, and I just about fell over when I saw it there. This is a teenage gay romance story, and back in 2003, I’d never have thought to see this in a military base school. Just, whoah! By then, I’d read slash fanfics, so I was into shipping characters in homosexual relationships, but this was the first official gay romance book I read. I really enjoyed this book to where I read its two sequels, but the first book will always hold a special place in my heart.

The Sixth Extinction

The Sixth Extinction

Normally I am not a big fan of non-fiction books, but The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert really opened my eyes up to the current climate changes in our world. I knew that global warming would affect all of us, but I didn’t realise just how much until I read this book. I learnt about how the corals are bleaching because of the rising ocean temperatures, how bats are dying because of a fungus that came from another continent, about trees moving up in elevation because of the hotter temperatures — these are just a few facts Kolbert touches, but they stayed in my mind as I began to see the seriousness of climate change.

The Baby-Sitters Club Series

The Baby-Sitters Club series

Ah, the good ol’ BSC books — I couldn’t leave them out. Literary-wise, these books aren’t anything special, but they are special to me. Even today I re-read these, and I enjoy them because of the diverse cast in the books. I have to admit, these didn’t make me baby-sit, but they did give me references to American cultures and showed me what life is like in suburban USA. I haven’t read all of the books in the series, but I am almost done — just need to read four or five more books to complete the series!

Animorphs Series

Animorphs series

I wrote about my love for this series last year, so I had to include this on this list. These were the first science-fiction books I enjoyed, and even now I constantly think about this series’ universe and its characters. I am hoping Scholastic will release the whole series on the Kindle in the future because I’d pay to have good digital copies of them. I’d totally do a massive re-read on them — or at least re-read the first 30 books, haha!

Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter series

Last but not the least, the Harry Potter books have been a huge part of my life. This series defined my online life in a huge way. I was a part of its fandom from 2001 to 2015. I read and wrote fanfics, interacted with other like-minded fans, speculated and thought about this wonderful, magical universe, and fell in love with its characters. This series and its fandom is what led me to focus my master’s degree capstone on fanworks and youth development. I am no longer in the fandom, but my time spent in it will never be forgotten.

What books made an impact on you and how did they affect you? Did any of them give you a major epiphany? Share in the comments!

Comments

  1. You’re kicking butt with reading 111 books and mangas so far! I am jealous of your reading skills ;). (If only I can find the focus to read!)

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an awesome classic! It can definitely trigger the imagination and creativity of children! The Diary of a Young Girl is definitely a book I remembered reading back in elementary school. It made me felt the importance of diaries, especially when it’s later used to discover how people lived through their situations.

    The Giver was an interesting book, though it did really made me think, are all utopias great? I haven’t read the rest of the books, but I do see my friends raving about Animorphs and Harry Potter! Though, there isn’t really a specific book that impacted me @___@.

    • I found that The Giver shown me that all utopias are idealistic, but realistically, they are frightening — at least that’s how I view them XD;

      And it’s okay you didn’t have a book that impacted you. Some people are just not readers, just like some people are huge readers!

  2. That’s a lot of reading. :p I used to be able to do about ten books per month, but my reading comprehension has gotten worse over the years, so I can’t read as quickly as I was once able to.

    It’s a reason I blog, actually, and comment other blogs—and a reason why I don’t always comment and/or my comments are sometimes sucky. :x

    Of the books on your list, The Diary of a Young Girl was my favorite book to read. I read it in Pre-AP Language Arts in eighth grade, and I frequently felt I could really relate to her. Of course, my teacher then decided he should quote the book often to make me feel better about my living situation—I didn’t favor that much.

    I heard The Giver was really good, but I don’t remember it, unfortunately. :(

    The top guy on the cover of Rainbow Boys looks like Matt Bomer. :o (After some searching, apparently it is Bomer. Ugh, so lovely.)

    The BSC books are…I think I’ve read them all? It’s been so long that I can’t remember. :p There is also a movie, though, that seems to sort of blend a few books, or maybe the entire series, together. It’s cute, I think.

    I used to re-read Because of Winn-Dixie every year, but I recently tried to again this year and eventually stopped. I’m slowly getting back into reading. I’m finding I like books based on/inspired by true stories only if they’re mysterious/sci-fi/etc.—I’m not big on the diary-like books, because I don’t relate well to most people.

    • Yes, I’ve seen the BSC movie, but I found myself not liking it compared to the book. It was okay, but not the best thing I’ve seen.

      Yeah, I can see why some epistolary-diary books wouldn’t appeal to certain people if they can’t relate to the individual. I felt the same way with some of memoirs I’ve tried to read!

      And Matt Bomer — I had no idea who that bloke was until people started mentioning him on this post LOL

  3. Ah, books, how I love them. XD I’m a big reader, though haven’t been reading as much lately. Trying to get back to it.

    Ah, Anne Frank! I adore that book! Since that I always had interest in the holocaust. Well, a little anyway. I find it interesting reading similar type books.

    And Harry Potter! Got me back into reading some years back. =3 I got totally hooked. Read the first 5 books many times.

    I read one or two random books of Animorphs and liked it. I’d really like them to get it online so I can read the others! It sounds like you really loved it. One sign of a good book to me is when you keep thinking about it. I often think about the ending of “Across the Universe” series by Beth Revis. And “The Girl and the Machine” also by her but a short one. It kinda was freaky (not in a gross way really, just like WHOA) and I often think about it.

    One book series that quite touched me probably is the Immortals series by Alyson Noel. Think Twilight, but to me better. There were times where I’d nearly cried. Actually a lot of her books affect me that way.

    I seriously could go on and on about various books, but I’ll leave it there. XD

    • I’ve not heard of the books you like! I’ll look into them :)

      Yes, I do like the Animorphs series a lot. I do hope the entire series will be released in digital format one day!

  4. Wow, you’ve read a lot this year! I think this is a nifty idea to look back on books that have really affected you.

    One of these days, I should really read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’ve seen the movie several times and still haven’t read the book it’s based on. I’m also interested in reading The Giver.

    I haven’t heard of Sixth Extinction, but now I want to check it out! Climate change is such a big deal, and it’s disappointing when people don’t believe the problem is real. I’d like to read up more about it.

    I remember both the Baby-Sitters Club and Animorphs being so popular when I was young! I didn’t read either series and instead was really into the Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children series. If I were to make a list, I’d actually put Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew on it since they led me into other mystery series, and it’s still my favorite genre to read. The Stranger by Albert Camus is another book that really stuck with me through the years.

    • Boxcar Children! I liked those, too! Somehow I never read Nancy Drew until a year or two ago! For some reasons, I just never got into them as a kid. I’m not sure why, haha! As a kid I actually didn’t like mysteries that much, so maybe that’s why.

      And yes! Do read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! The book’s way better!

  5. The Giver, The Book Thief, Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Outsiders (particularly), and The 12 Who Ruled by R.R. Palmer; and that’s really it. I’ve read a lot of books in my life and haven’t found exactly too many books that impacted me as much as those books.

    Books are wonderful tools to help you get into the mind of the narrator but be careful, sometimes, the narrator can be unreliable. I’ve heard a few like Fight Club and others are just as screwy. But regardless, books are wonderful and I hope to continue reading for however long I have on this Earth!

    • Yes, I’m well aware of the unreliable narrator factor, haha! XD; I did major in English. One thing I found fascinating aside from unreliable narrators are frame narratives like in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

      I couldn’t get into A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I did like The Outsiders and its film :D

  6. I love Roald Dahl! He’s one of my favorite childhood authors. :D I used to only just read Archie comics too until I picked up Nancy Drew. I would say that’s what I started loving to read.

    Some significant books for me in no particular order:

    Harry Potter – Definitely! I couldn’t put them down, and my classmates and would always talk about it. I wrote some bad fanfic too when I was 13 LOL.

    Chronicles of Narnia – My mom bought me this beautiful boxed set of all 7 books that I treasured. My online handle at one point was Aravis. XD

    Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer rules my middle school life basically. XD

    The Hiding Place – Corrie ten Boom’s autobiography which really opened my eyes to WW2 in the European theater. Her attitude also inspired me to be kinder and stay hopeful in the face of adversity.

    New Rules of Lifting for Women – a more recent book I read that really reshaped how I viewed fitness and being healthy. Super informative! I don’t follow the program that comes with it, but I think it would be a great starter program for beginners!

    • I have The Hiding Place on my to-read list! I remember you reccing that before, so I really need to read that soon!

      Chronicles of Narnia is something I finally read a couple of years ago. That series and I had a long history LOL

      And yay for another Archie comic reader! Those are still something I like to read. I need to read the Married With Archie books I have!

  7. Oh my goodness I haven’t thought of “The Giver” in so long!! That was my favourite junior high read in my childhood. Wow, 111 reads!! Not a lot of people intentionally make time to read anymore so you’re really inspiring regarding that aspect!

    • Aw ^^;; I’m not sure if I’d call my reading amount inspiring, but if you think so, then thanks XD;; I think those who love reading will make the time — those who love something will always make the time!

  8. I love that you make time to read. That’s something I would love to incorporate into my morning and evening routines more. I’ve been getting better due to ebooks and how easily I can pull my phone out to read when I have a free moment.

    Definitely The Giver and Slaughterhouse Five! I remember reading them and being mindblown. I would also add Fahrenheit 45 and Brave New World to that utopian category. And I would add Survival in Aushwitz to the war category. Ah so many great books! Although I think I need to re-read a few because I know I’ve read Slaughterhouse Five, but I can’t recall aliens…and so it goes…

    • Girl, I’d definitely invest in an e-reader instead of the cellphone! I tried reading on my phone, but the battery life is just horrid, so I’m thankful for the better battery life on my Kindle!

      Survival in Auschwitz? I’ll have to look into that! I think I’ve read Fahrenheit 451, but not Brave New World . . .

      And yes, there are aliens in Slaughterhouse-Five XD The Tralfamadore, hahaha!

      And so it goes :D

  9. I can’t believe how much you’ve read this year! I’m attempting to give up wasting time on Facebook so I can have more time to read. It would be nice to get all my books read so I have an excuse to buy more!

    I never really got into Roald Dahl as a kid. I loved Matilda, but I found the rest quite difficult to be honest. I was much more of an Enid Blyton girl!

    I love Harry Potter. My lecturers always used to say it was bad writing, but I think it’s magical!

    I have quite a lot on my book list. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is my favourite book. Emilie Autumn’s Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Holly Bourne’s Am I Normal Yet? are also really important to me. There’s so many more as well, but I’ll leave it at that for now!
    Xxx

    • I don’t think I’ve read any Enid Blyton’s books. I may need to check at least one of them out.

      And Harry Potter may not be a literary work like The Book Thief, but it is definitely a great magical world to escape to in our imagination!

  10. While I read a lot of fiction, the books that have made considerable impact on me actually belong to the non-fiction category. It must be because of my inclination to journalistic writing, but it could also be because, personally, I find real human stories a lot more interesting.

    Some of my faves include: Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing, John Hersey’s Hiroshima and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. On fiction, there’s Pride and Prejudice, and all the Neil Gaimans I’ve read so far. :D

    I wanted to read Anne Frank in high school but after seeing the film adaptation, I just couldn’t bring myself to it. I think I’d enjoy Slaughterhouse Five though!

    • Oh, and Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet (NF)!

      • That makes sense you’d prefer non-fiction because of your journalism background.

        I’ve actually not read any Neil Gaiman’s books, so I should remedy that soon!

  11. I always think I read a lot until I compare how much I’ve read to friends like you, Tara. XDD I think it’s amazing that you read so much, but I think as we settle down after the move and into our new home, I’ll be able to read a lot more!

    Slaughterhouse Five is on my to-read list, so I haven’t gotten to it quite yet! I’m going to have to bump it up, because I’ve heard such great things about it.

    I’m so glad you listed Harry Potter. I would also include this on my list, though I didn’t get into the series until late middle school/early high school. But I fell so deeply in love with the world, story, and characters. I’ve re-read the series so many times, and I want to re-read them again because it’s been a couple of years!

    Oooh, I love Matt Bomer, so I recognized him instantly on th ecover of Rainbow Boys. Andrew and I have been watching White Collar, and he’s also in Chuck which is one of my favorite TV series.

    I would include the LOTR books and a book called The Seer and the Sword to my list. My father owned a paperback version of all the LOTR books and me and my brothers read them over and over, since elementary school! Each time I read them I get something new from them, and it holds a special place because it reminds me of my dad and brothers. :)

    • Oh, trust me. I didn’t read a lot in uni and grad school. School + work just sucks up all my time, so reading — what’s that?!

      I didn’t get into Harry Potter until ninth grade, myself, but that series has made a huge impact on me!

      LotR . . . I love the world Tolkien created, but his writing style puts me to sleep T_T;

      Hope you’ll do a lot of reading when things settle down!

  12. 111 books wow! Do you really just read at night and on weekends? I used to read like there’s no tomorrow when I was in grade school and high school but that involved locking myself and reading in the bathroom late at night since everyone sleeping already. Hmm this post inspires me to write my own literary journey! haha

    Yehey a fellow WWII/Holocaust enthusiast. Number the Stars was my first intro to that field and I never stopped at reading it since. I recommend The Book Thief and Maus (the Graphic novel) if you really want to read more. If you could also suggest other books, I’d be happy to hear!

    Sad to say I’ve never read any Roald Dahl. Guess I better try! The books you mentioned are very 1990s-2000s. I liked Animorphs! It was in the same league as Roswell High etc.

    Instead of the Babysitters club, I read a lot of Nancy Drew books and Madison Finn. Man love those!

    And I am so happy to meet a fellow Potterhead! I became a founder of a Pottermore Gryffindor fansite. It’s gone now but I’m still in touch with some members and my fellow admins. It’s crazy how awesome this fandom is. Harry Potter has definitely changed my life. It was the topic of my college essay application. Man, thank you JK Rowling!

    Other books that made an impact in my life:
    Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, Creativity Inc., Anne of Green Gables, Fall of Giants, Life of Pi, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, The Hobbit… okay I can go on forever! hahaha. I’ll write a post someday.

    • Yes, I primarily read at night and on the weekends :) And woot for another WWII/Holocaust enthusiast. I’ve read The Book Thief, but not Maus, so I may look into that.

      Do write your own book post. I’d be interested in seeing your full list!

  13. Chantelle on

    When I was in elementary school, I read a few BSB books. I liked Dawn best, I think (your relative dislike makes me cautious and doubt myself there though). But my favorite series then was Fear Street, which I devoured. Even when I think about the series now, I become happy. I can’t say what kind of impact it had on me–I just really really liked it.

    In high school, I loved White Oleander by Janet Fitch and William Faulkner’s books. I’m a fan of their writing styles. Still, I always say that 1984 had a big impact on me (the biggest?) because I read it years before I entered high school, before I became a teenager, and was completely shocked by it. I think the shock is what got me through it. That book is grim.

    Perhaps Catcher in the Rye had a profound impact on me as well–but not in the expected way–it made me rage. I hated the protagonist, Holden, so much. I had never disliked a protagonist more.

    Nowadays, I like to praise Geraldine Brooks for Caleb’s Crossing and March (but I can’t seem to get anyone to read those books! they start out a bit rough, but they’re amazing~) as well as Flynn’s Gone Girl.

    • 1984 . . . is definitely grim. In fact, its creepiness got to me and I had to stop reading after a couple of chapters. I really need to just complete it one day!

      Your dislike for Holden makes me wonder if I’ll like him, too. I’ll still read it one day, but I’ve a feeling I’ll not like him much, either!

      I’ll check out Caleb’s Cross and March. They do intrigue me!

  14. What an awesome list! :D This is such a great post. I have a read a number of those books you mentioned and I really like them as well!

    One of the first books that ever got me connected to reading on my own was Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal by Emily Rodda. I haven’t read it again since I was a child, so it might be interesting to read it again! :D

    • I don’t know that book, but I’m glad that got you to be connected to reading! I love books that just do that — that make you fall in love with reading all over!

  15. I am so jealous of your reading skills, you’re so good at it, you need to teach me how to stay focused! D: I usually lose focus quite quickly especially if it’s not engaging from the first page.

    I’m so embarrassed that I’ve heard some of the books youve listed but not actually read them to the end. I have a book goal for this year so hopefully I will hit it with some of your suggestions! :)

    A book that I really love is Ready Player One, it affected me because it reminded me on my love for games and told me the importance of a person based on their inside rather than external appearance :)

    • No need to feel embarrassed! There are a lot of books I’ve heard of but not read, too. There are so many books out there that they’d be impossible to read all!

      I’ve heard of Ready Player One, and I’ve plans to check it out one day, but my to-read list is so huge! Who knows when I’ll get to it LOL

  16. Wow you just took me back! I remember Rainbow Boys! I think there was a sequel? I remember a bisexual friend and a gay male friend of mine recommending the book to me. I think some parts of it really struck a chord with me. I read so many books when I was in high school that I forgot a large percentage of them – Rainbow Boys was one of them. But now that you’ve reminded me, I remember what a great book it was.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of my favourite Dahl books. I loved it a lot, and the old movie went hand-in-hand with it. Nick and I are seeing the musical in London and I am excited. No other Dahl book brings me to my childhood more than this one. I loved Matilda as well, but it doesn’t conjure up the same memories.

    I only read a bit of Babysitter’s Club, I may have mentioned that I was a bigger Sweet Valley fan. XD

    • Yeah, there are two sequels after RB, but I much prefer RB over those two! I’m glad I reminded you of some of the books you’ve forgotten over these years!

      Sweet Valley was also something I read, but not as much as the BSC books XD

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