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The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians, and Other Remarkable People

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One hundred of today’s most prominent literary and cultural icons talk about the books that hold a special place in their hearts—that made them who they are today. Leading authors, politicians, CEOs, actors, and other notables share the books that changed their life, why they love them, and their passion with readers everywhere. Regan Arts has teamed up with the literary ch One hundred of today’s most prominent literary and cultural icons talk about the books that hold a special place in their hearts—that made them who they are today. Leading authors, politicians, CEOs, actors, and other notables share the books that changed their life, why they love them, and their passion with readers everywhere. Regan Arts has teamed up with the literary charity 826National, which will receive a portion of the book’s proceeds to provide students ages 6–18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. Contributors include Al Roker, Carl Hiaasen, Dave Eggers, Emma Straub, Eric Idle, Fay Weldon, Fran Lebowitz, Gillian Flynn, Gregory Maguire, Jeff Kinney, Jim Shepard, Laura Lippmann, Lev Grossman, Liev Schreiber, Margaret Atwood, Mayim Bialik, Nelson DeMille, Rosanne Cash, Susan Orlean, Tim Gunn, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.


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One hundred of today’s most prominent literary and cultural icons talk about the books that hold a special place in their hearts—that made them who they are today. Leading authors, politicians, CEOs, actors, and other notables share the books that changed their life, why they love them, and their passion with readers everywhere. Regan Arts has teamed up with the literary ch One hundred of today’s most prominent literary and cultural icons talk about the books that hold a special place in their hearts—that made them who they are today. Leading authors, politicians, CEOs, actors, and other notables share the books that changed their life, why they love them, and their passion with readers everywhere. Regan Arts has teamed up with the literary charity 826National, which will receive a portion of the book’s proceeds to provide students ages 6–18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. Contributors include Al Roker, Carl Hiaasen, Dave Eggers, Emma Straub, Eric Idle, Fay Weldon, Fran Lebowitz, Gillian Flynn, Gregory Maguire, Jeff Kinney, Jim Shepard, Laura Lippmann, Lev Grossman, Liev Schreiber, Margaret Atwood, Mayim Bialik, Nelson DeMille, Rosanne Cash, Susan Orlean, Tim Gunn, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

30 review for The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians, and Other Remarkable People

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I love to read about how much other people love books. For those of us whose life is so intertwined with reading, the idea that a book can change someone's life is not at all surprising. They are an intrinsic part of how we experience the world, how we learn. They can make us feel, change the way we think, show us new worlds, or another side of our world. This book is a celebration of that. There is a real variety in the 100 individuals chosen to give their story, but each gives a meaninful acco I love to read about how much other people love books. For those of us whose life is so intertwined with reading, the idea that a book can change someone's life is not at all surprising. They are an intrinsic part of how we experience the world, how we learn. They can make us feel, change the way we think, show us new worlds, or another side of our world. This book is a celebration of that. There is a real variety in the 100 individuals chosen to give their story, but each gives a meaninful account of what books or the experience of reading means to them. For the names you know, i'd wager their choice of book, and the reason they give for selecting it, will tell you more about them than the average interview. It speaks to the core of what they consider to be important, about themselves and the world around them. The stories are personal and funny and moving and enlightening and more. The reveal the incredibly diverse ways in which books appeal or have relevance to us. In reading about others, I reflected more deeply on how books have been part of my life. From being taught to read by my mum with Dick and Jane, to the Point Horror books I bought with my pocket money in my early teens, to the moments when I'm trying to read a story through my tears- I cannot imagine a world without books and I can barely fathom the ways in which each reading experience has changed me. My only issue with this book is how anyone could choose just one to talk about! Because I had this as a review copy, I read it in one go, but otherwise I think I would have rationed it out over a long period. A beautiful hardback copy to go on the coffee table would be perfect! Many thanks to Bethanne Patrick, Regan Arts, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This was... well, fine. There were some standout essays and some essays I much disliked (if I encounter another essay by a politician stating that their life was changed by either the Bible or Atlas Shrugged, I'm going to kill myself) but most of them were just fine. I've certainly read much better essays on reading and on one's favorite books elsewhere, including here on Goodreads. And to think that most essays in this book were written by professional writers! It's not that they were bad, it's This was... well, fine. There were some standout essays and some essays I much disliked (if I encounter another essay by a politician stating that their life was changed by either the Bible or Atlas Shrugged, I'm going to kill myself) but most of them were just fine. I've certainly read much better essays on reading and on one's favorite books elsewhere, including here on Goodreads. And to think that most essays in this book were written by professional writers! It's not that they were bad, it's just that most of them were bland. Anyway, a pretty good book to read in transport, which is exactly what I did, but other than that you will not lose anything if you don't read it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Otis Chandler on Dune: The spiritual concepts [Frank Herbert] writes about have served me my entire life to keep calm in moments of stress or distress. Like the title suggests, The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians and Other Remarkable People, is a series of essays/interviews on life-changing books. I bought this, as many other books, on a whim – then thought I'd been foolish. I wasn't. Robin Black on The Diary of Alice James: Alice James helped me maintain a Otis Chandler on Dune: The spiritual concepts [Frank Herbert] writes about have served me my entire life to keep calm in moments of stress or distress. Like the title suggests, The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians and Other Remarkable People, is a series of essays/interviews on life-changing books. I bought this, as many other books, on a whim – then thought I'd been foolish. I wasn't. Robin Black on The Diary of Alice James: Alice James helped me maintain a private belief that being a low-achieving “girl” in a high-achieving family didn’t necessarily mean that one has nothing to say, that one’s potential is, in fact, as limited as one’s performance. I love reading. I love talking about books and love how they affect the people who read them. The people in this book chose a range of books from Dr. Seuss to James Joyce. Many were early books, others from early adolescence. Few were from later than early adulthood. Maybe we are more open to new ideas in our early lives? Rosanne Cash on Little House on the Prairie: When Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about Ma setting the table for dinner and how the light looked when it came through the window from the prairie, and how Pa played the fiddle in the evenings— it gave me the courage to face my own life and my own family. It gave me peace, and a template for the future. When I was an impressionable 8th grader, I read Ann Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, followed shortly by The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter, Walden, and The Lorax. Dark reading for a young teenager. In different ways each of these awakened me to the injustices in the world and helped me think about how I wanted to live. I Speak For The Trees, let 'em grow, let 'em grow, but nobody listens too much don't you know. I speak for the trees, and I'll yell and I'll shout, for the fine things on earth that are on their way out. They say I'm old fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes i think progress progresses too fast. – The Lorax But it wasn't just them. I read as many Nancy Drews as I could. She was smart, capable, assertive, and could solve anything. I'm not sure her message translated into me believing that I could have those attributes, but it laid the foundation (with all sorts of real world mentors also playing a role). I spent hours and hours reading the Book of Knowledge encyclopedias from my father's childhood (and maybe his father's?). This set of 17 volumes from 1912 sits on my shelves still. You probably haven't seen them, but they opened me up to a larger, magical world. So many interesting essays and fairy tales, punctuated by art deco illustrations. So no, I’m sorry. My life is not changed by a single book. My life is changed by books. On a daily basis. – Eric Idle (and me)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jo-Ann

    This is a wonderful book. It is the type of book you can dip into daily; reading a few short chapters (2-3 pages each) at random about the books that changed peoples' lives. I have placed it on my nightstand so I can read a little each night before bed. This is a wonderful book. It is the type of book you can dip into daily; reading a few short chapters (2-3 pages each) at random about the books that changed peoples' lives. I have placed it on my nightstand so I can read a little each night before bed.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    ARC for review. "Say what you will about music, film, television, dance, painting, theater, sculpture - only text on a page can be sustained at such length that a person can both get lost in it and create his own version of it simultaneously. " (Introduction) I always love books about books and this was no exception - it's always great to see what books people have loved and why and many of my favorites appear here - Gillian Flynn completely "gets" everything I love about The Westing Game by th ARC for review. "Say what you will about music, film, television, dance, painting, theater, sculpture - only text on a page can be sustained at such length that a person can both get lost in it and create his own version of it simultaneously. " (Introduction) I always love books about books and this was no exception - it's always great to see what books people have loved and why and many of my favorites appear here - Gillian Flynn completely "gets" everything I love about The Westing Game by the wonderful Ellen Raskin (one of my top ten favorite books) and I love that so many of the books are children's books - Harriet the Spy, the "Little House" series, A Wrinkle in Time and others). There are also some incredibly interesting essays - Porochista Khakpour writes about Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys, a book so powerfully disturbing to her she "sort of felt like it brought on a nervous breakdown" and she can't stand not to have that very copy in her home because "it's such a part of me that even though I'm a bit scared by its presence I'm also scared by it's absence." Chilling. I also loved Glenn Taylor's entry on To Kill a Mockingbird, not so much because of his description of the book, but because of his lengthy discourse in growing up in Huntington, West Virginia and the idea of West Virginia being both Southern and not. Incredibly interesting. You know if this book is for you, and if it is, take a gander.

  6. 5 out of 5

    GONZA

    Famous authors, poets, essayist, journalists and some actors (not so many) talk about the book(s) that changed their life. A super interesting way to find out more about books you read and find many more to read. Better not to read it in one session because it can be boring. Autori famosi, poeti, giornalisti, saggisti e qualche attore, raccontano quale sia il libro/i che gli ha cambiato la vita. Un modo decisamente interessante di scoprire qualcosa di piú su libri che conoscevamo e qualche altro Famous authors, poets, essayist, journalists and some actors (not so many) talk about the book(s) that changed their life. A super interesting way to find out more about books you read and find many more to read. Better not to read it in one session because it can be boring. Autori famosi, poeti, giornalisti, saggisti e qualche attore, raccontano quale sia il libro/i che gli ha cambiato la vita. Un modo decisamente interessante di scoprire qualcosa di piú su libri che conoscevamo e qualche altro romanzo di cui non sapevamo niente. THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND REGAN ARTS FOR THE PREVIEW!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Diane Challenor

    Excellent, excellent, excellent. I enjoyed every word.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    I was inspired to read this book having followed, participated with, and thoroughly enjoyed “The Great American Read” on PBS. The individual shows not only did a brief overview of the book with a selected passage, but also featured Readers who lovingly explained why the featured book meant so much to them. So, I read this book hoping to continue the exhilaration. While there were moments describing the passion and excitement that came from reading a specific book, the comments varied from “This I was inspired to read this book having followed, participated with, and thoroughly enjoyed “The Great American Read” on PBS. The individual shows not only did a brief overview of the book with a selected passage, but also featured Readers who lovingly explained why the featured book meant so much to them. So, I read this book hoping to continue the exhilaration. While there were moments describing the passion and excitement that came from reading a specific book, the comments varied from “This made such a great impression on me” to drifting off to talk about other books rather than the one selected. The selections were occasionally unusual, too, such as the Reader who chose a sales book ... and another who chose a comic book. The main difference was that out of the 100 books featured in “The Great American Read,” I had read 23 of them, and almost that many were books that I now wanted to read after watching the programs. After finishing this book, I had read a little less than 10% of the ones mentioned, and I only had two that I wanted to read (and one of those two was also featured on “The Great American Read”). The main value for me was that the short segments made it very easy to fit in reading time between other activities. I did have difficulty in maintaining enthusiasm to read more than several comments in one sitting.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    As I have stated before, I enjoy reading about books as I do actual reading a book! This was a book that I enjoyed thoroughly because it was about books writers and the books that changed their lives. And, for me it was a great way to revisit many of my favorite books and how they influenced other people. Oh, and it led me some new ones to read - just what I need, more TBRs! One of the biggest surprises was reading about Otis Chandler who it turns out is the founder and CEO of Goodreads!!! His s As I have stated before, I enjoy reading about books as I do actual reading a book! This was a book that I enjoyed thoroughly because it was about books writers and the books that changed their lives. And, for me it was a great way to revisit many of my favorite books and how they influenced other people. Oh, and it led me some new ones to read - just what I need, more TBRs! One of the biggest surprises was reading about Otis Chandler who it turns out is the founder and CEO of Goodreads!!! His section ends with "He (Chandler) spends his time thinking about the future of reading. He's an entrepreneur, a product person, a book lover, a surfer, and a geek". And, I now want to read Richard Russo's memoir entitled Elsewhere. And, Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bill Krieger

    First things first. The title should be "The Book that Changed My Life", singular, not "The Books". Each person chooses just one book. More interesting and cool, the cover of the book is a picture of the book itself opened to its title page. That's kind of recursive and clever. This is a great idea that isn't executed particularly well. The reviews are just listed alphabetically. A little creative organization may have helped here. Each review is 2-3 pages. This uniformity wears on you after a wh First things first. The title should be "The Book that Changed My Life", singular, not "The Books". Each person chooses just one book. More interesting and cool, the cover of the book is a picture of the book itself opened to its title page. That's kind of recursive and clever. This is a great idea that isn't executed particularly well. The reviews are just listed alphabetically. A little creative organization may have helped here. Each review is 2-3 pages. This uniformity wears on you after a while. And not every contributor has had their life changed by a book. A fair number of the reviews are books that are special gifts or a person's favorite, not life-changing. The biggest problem here, however, is a lack of diversity. I'm not talking about diversity of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. I'm talking about the diversity that's most important: diversity of thought. A high percentage of the contributions focus on their left-wing political ideology. So many of the contributors liberally (get it?) tout their stories of victimization. It's a one-note song played over and over again, and it gets very tedious. If I may paraphrase David Mamet: If you're going to prosthelytize, you better be darn entertaining while doing it. I love Richard Russo's books. Love! So I was sad to see him join in the leftie chorus. He selected a Mark Twain book, Pudd'nhead Wilson, as his favorite. Russo praises the book and Twain's craftsmanship, and then describes how he can't really enjoy it now because it's racist. Sigh. I added two books to my queue as a result of reading this book. Excellent! Stone Diaries by Carol Shields - recommended by Amy Bloom as "Gorgeous prose. Humor so dark it tints all you see." Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury - recommended by R.L. Stine as "...one of the most beautiful books ever written. It's like poetry." Here are some other highlights: + Roseanne Cash left the chaos of her childhood by "retreating into" Little House on the Prairie. + Otis Chandler is the Goodreads guy! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodreads) He likes Dune and still remembers the cool quote, "I will not fear. Fear is the mind-killer..." +Eric Idle has his own web page to track his reading at http://www.ericidle.com/reading. Idle was honest right up front. Books have changed his life, not one single book. + Kate Mulgrew's favorite book is The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien. I imagine this is something of acute interest to Dr. Holly... well, 20 years ago at least. (ha) +Luis Urrea is an author who lives in Naperville at teaches at UIC, http://www.luisurrea.com. QOTD Every week for eighteen years now, I've written a review: snappy opening, plot description, critical commentary, a few characteristic quotes, sign off. And it's agony every week; I just sweat it out. - Ron Charles, who writes weekly book reviews for a living Ron Charles, above, chose Richard Russo's Straight Man as his book. I don't have a single book that changed my life. I'd have a hard time even picking my favorite. No matter. A good read. thanks... yow, bill

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Jenkins

    Let me start by saying: What a beautifully, sensational book!! Bethanne Patrick had this wonderful revelation: "Every person today has a book that made them into who they are, why not ask them and send the message back to those who read too?" The play of interviewer, inquirer, and a tried and true author has guided her curiosity to find out, "what came first, the Writer or the Reader?" This book does exactly what it set out to do. It is inspiring, personable, relateable, exciting, and absolutely Let me start by saying: What a beautifully, sensational book!! Bethanne Patrick had this wonderful revelation: "Every person today has a book that made them into who they are, why not ask them and send the message back to those who read too?" The play of interviewer, inquirer, and a tried and true author has guided her curiosity to find out, "what came first, the Writer or the Reader?" This book does exactly what it set out to do. It is inspiring, personable, relateable, exciting, and absolutely relevant to all peoples, regardless of their standing, occupation, age, gender or ethnicity. This is a book about breaking boundaries and looking into what matters: the creation of the self. Fantastic, fantastic. Pick this up along with Tim Ferris' Tribe of Mentors and you will be solid for life!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    It goes without saying that a collection like this one is dependent on the one hundred "remarkable" people who share the books that changed their lives. (One hundred different writers, actors, musicians, etc. would pick different life-altering books than these one hundred did.) The editor did not explain how she picked these particular "remarkable" people, but nearly all were left-of-center politically, most of the women were feminists, many contributors were gay (far more than the 3% of the pop It goes without saying that a collection like this one is dependent on the one hundred "remarkable" people who share the books that changed their lives. (One hundred different writers, actors, musicians, etc. would pick different life-altering books than these one hundred did.) The editor did not explain how she picked these particular "remarkable" people, but nearly all were left-of-center politically, most of the women were feminists, many contributors were gay (far more than the 3% of the population that identifies as LGBT), and many white authors expressed guilt over their privilege. While few chose the same book to highlight as significant to their lives, those liberal themes repeated over and over. I would have preferred a more representative sample of authors and themes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    Even though I didn't know all the authors and celebrities that were interviewed about the most impactful book they ever read, I still found the book interesting. I ended up highlighting so many passages about the importance of books and reading as well as adding several books to my reading list. I read this over several months, reading a couple of chapters at a time. Each author/celebrity is a chapter and shares the book and the importance of reading books in their life. Then, in case you don't k Even though I didn't know all the authors and celebrities that were interviewed about the most impactful book they ever read, I still found the book interesting. I ended up highlighting so many passages about the importance of books and reading as well as adding several books to my reading list. I read this over several months, reading a couple of chapters at a time. Each author/celebrity is a chapter and shares the book and the importance of reading books in their life. Then, in case you don't know who that particular celebrity is, there is a very brief bio of them at the end of the chapter. I didn't realize that this author is the one who started the hashtag #FridayReads! Most bibliophiles will find this compilation and ode to a love for books interesting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    3.5 stars. I enjoyed reading a few of these every night before going to sleep. Some were better/more interesting than others. I didn’t know the majority of the people describing the books that were meaningful to them, and I think I would have rated this book higher if I’d had more familiarity with the “remarkable people.” Somehow the reflections seemed to be more interesting when I had some other background to the person’s life—even when their insights weren’t particularly remarkable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I love books and books about books. This book is filled with essays about how books or a specific book have touched people's lives. I like to read a couple a night. You may find some new books to read, or you may just be reminded of the different ways reading can touch us. I love books and books about books. This book is filled with essays about how books or a specific book have touched people's lives. I like to read a couple a night. You may find some new books to read, or you may just be reminded of the different ways reading can touch us.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Great collection. Full Review to come.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Alkire

    Well worth reading especially for book lovers and authors

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Books about books are my favorite genre, especially when I come out of it with about 85 new recommendations. My "to read" list is about 1,000 books long so I don't actually need any more of those. Anyways! I loved all the various insights into a love of books and reading from 100 very different people. There were a few I could relate to and others that I literally noted with just a big old "?" - Fay Weldon you don't keep, love, and cherish every physical book you've ever read!? And Jess Walter's Books about books are my favorite genre, especially when I come out of it with about 85 new recommendations. My "to read" list is about 1,000 books long so I don't actually need any more of those. Anyways! I loved all the various insights into a love of books and reading from 100 very different people. There were a few I could relate to and others that I literally noted with just a big old "?" - Fay Weldon you don't keep, love, and cherish every physical book you've ever read!? And Jess Walter's essay on One Hundred Years of Solitude: this essay was the one that hit me in the gut and had me in tears, a true piece of writing that speaks to exactly what I love about books and stories. I would estimate that almost half of these essays touched on a love of reading taught and encouraged by parents and/or the public library, so I guess I have a lot to thank my mom for. I am currently teaching English in Thailand, a decision I made in part to determine how I could incorporate a love of the English language, reading, and writing into a career, but so far (and with some major encouraging by the essay's of all these incredible people), I'm learning this isn't quite it. But all the reading I'm getting to do along the way might be bringing me closer to an answer. A thank you to Bethanne Patrick and all 100 contributors, I can pick out a few books that definitely affected my life, and I think I will look back and this will have become one of them. And it will be sitting in a prized spot on my many shelves of novels, biographies, anthologies, and other shining literary treasures.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda Brunner

    I cherry picked my way through this book partly because I didn't recognize or weren't interested in the books or the folks making comment. But a few of the perspectives really spoke to me and of course, books have been participants in my life since I was a child. And some have had big meaning for me up through time. Here from Jodi Picoult who I have read little on Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: "I believe that that's the purpose of fiction, that it allows you to address topics that are I cherry picked my way through this book partly because I didn't recognize or weren't interested in the books or the folks making comment. But a few of the perspectives really spoke to me and of course, books have been participants in my life since I was a child. And some have had big meaning for me up through time. Here from Jodi Picoult who I have read little on Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: "I believe that that's the purpose of fiction, that it allows you to address topics that are difficult by putting a human face on a tough topic. Harvey Milk said, come out, and show people who you are. Show them that they don't have to be afraid of you. Fiction gets people to think about things in a way that opens their minds. If there's anything that can make you do that, whether it's a book or a movie or a conversation or a personal experience, that's what makes us grow as people. And for me that's the whole reason that we have art in the world."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    This is a book for book lovers. For anybody who has ever read a book and felt inspired to do something, either become a film lover, a cook, a knitter, anything- this book is for you. There is so much passion here from the 100 different participants who range from all walks in life that readers will either be brought back to found memories or will find new things to read. A lot of fun and breezy as each participant gets 2-3 pages to tell their story, so things move fast and always feel fresh.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I give this book 4.5 stars. I really want to read some of the books discussed, but not all of the them. I just love to read about how different books (and books and reading in general) have had such a profound affect on so many people. It helps me to remember that I am not as different as I sometimes think I am.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    A phenomenal read for bibliophiles. You will want to create a long list of not only books recommended but also want to read the books of the recommenders who are authors! An inspiration for any reader with wonderful discussion on the power and meaning of reading throughout ones life.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rick Barnes

    Interesting, but I think 'Writer's On Writing' is a much more interesting and informative book. I didn't get the feeling that very few of these books had the kind of impact the individual author was trying to express. It was as if at the last minute they to pick one and write a quick review. Interesting, but I think 'Writer's On Writing' is a much more interesting and informative book. I didn't get the feeling that very few of these books had the kind of impact the individual author was trying to express. It was as if at the last minute they to pick one and write a quick review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Loved these short essays about significant books. I have a new list to read of the books they loved as well as books of some of the essay writers themselves.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ramesh Naidu

    I read recently in a book where the author makes a point to reiterate that he does not read any book that is at least not a 100 years old , I should probably make that my rule as well!!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    The Books that Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians, and Other Remarkable People is one of my favorite kinds of book: books about books. This was a series of interviews with people about books that changed their lives. Men and women from all walks of life shared books that may not have been their favorites, but definitely had an impact on their lives. Some of the people were famous, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Al Roker. Keither Carradine, Roseanne Cash, and Kate Mulgrew The Books that Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians, and Other Remarkable People is one of my favorite kinds of book: books about books. This was a series of interviews with people about books that changed their lives. Men and women from all walks of life shared books that may not have been their favorites, but definitely had an impact on their lives. Some of the people were famous, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Al Roker. Keither Carradine, Roseanne Cash, and Kate Mulgrew were a few of the entertainers that were included. Of course, I saw some of my favorite authors: Celeste Ng, John Scalzi and Meg Wolitzer. Then there were the less well known, but equally important, chefs Gesine Bullock-Prado and Cat Cora, US Army Judge Advocate General Lt. General Flora Darpino and Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. These are only a few of the people whose stories were as interesting as the books they had chosen. Bethanne Patrick did the interviews and put them together into The Books that Changed My Life. This one is definitely a keeper.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Alvarez

    I really loved this book as it made me realize how life changing a book can be. For me, it was the Diary of Anne Frank. She introduced me to history and how it affected her a young person who still had hope in the future despite what was going on right outside her door. She taught me that people we love can drive us crazy and that little things can mean big things. I have carried that book with me every where I have gone. Always had it in whatever book shelf I was using and save up for the book I really loved this book as it made me realize how life changing a book can be. For me, it was the Diary of Anne Frank. She introduced me to history and how it affected her a young person who still had hope in the future despite what was going on right outside her door. She taught me that people we love can drive us crazy and that little things can mean big things. I have carried that book with me every where I have gone. Always had it in whatever book shelf I was using and save up for the book that the Dutch government wrote to prove that the book was written by one girl and that she was rewriting and editing it while it was a work in progress. This book gave me new books to connect to and explore. I am still trying to get through a list on my side of my computer that I wrote last year plus get through the books in shelf. This is a long and enjoyable journey that I am on.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    The target audience for this book is not at all clear to me, but I know it's not me, or my 88 year old mom for that matter.  I ordered it from the library by accident (my finger slipped) and didn't cancel it because I thought it might help her find some books she'd enjoy reading.  However, these very brief essays (not sure some are long enough to be called essays) tell you very little about the books, and sadly, not that much, or at least not that much of interest, about the essays' authors! I've The target audience for this book is not at all clear to me, but I know it's not me, or my 88 year old mom for that matter.  I ordered it from the library by accident (my finger slipped) and didn't cancel it because I thought it might help her find some books she'd enjoy reading.  However, these very brief essays (not sure some are long enough to be called essays) tell you very little about the books, and sadly, not that much, or at least not that much of interest, about the essays' authors! I've selected a couple dozen I plan to read, either because of interest in the book or in the essay writer, but based on the ones I've read thus far, I don't expect to learn much about either.  Okay, finished the essays and only identified one book I will read as a result... and it's one I'd already heard of!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    When I was five years old, I entered a library for the first time. I swear I heard angels sing! I don't know how someone is able to choose just one book that changed his or her life, as I've had so many, but I enjoyed reading about the choices that were made. I've added some of the books to my already too long To Read List, based on those choices. I think it's probably true that we can learn a lot about people based on what they read. I belong to a Book club that meets once a month and agree who When I was five years old, I entered a library for the first time. I swear I heard angels sing! I don't know how someone is able to choose just one book that changed his or her life, as I've had so many, but I enjoyed reading about the choices that were made. I've added some of the books to my already too long To Read List, based on those choices. I think it's probably true that we can learn a lot about people based on what they read. I belong to a Book club that meets once a month and agree whole heartedly with some of the observations such as, "Everybody reads a different version of the same book." That explains a lot! Loved the lines, "When we open a book, the characters breathe. When we close the book, they live in our memories."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Many of the books on this list are just mediocre or I suppose what changed anyone’s life can be different for different people. It is hard to believe that a book like any Harry Potter, the very disappointing The End Of Life Book Club, or Tuesdays with Morrie could match up with Anna Karenina (which is on the list). While Sense and Sensibility is on the list, my favorite, Persuasion, is not. Also Pride and Prejudice which is perennially on the top or near it on your Desert Islands book lists is u Many of the books on this list are just mediocre or I suppose what changed anyone’s life can be different for different people. It is hard to believe that a book like any Harry Potter, the very disappointing The End Of Life Book Club, or Tuesdays with Morrie could match up with Anna Karenina (which is on the list). While Sense and Sensibility is on the list, my favorite, Persuasion, is not. Also Pride and Prejudice which is perennially on the top or near it on your Desert Islands book lists is unmentioned. I am speaking of an author who is many times ranked second after Shakespeare, Jane Austin. Many of the classics and newer books are just fine and should be on any list. I suspect that ten years from now many of these books would not be in a new edition (if there is one).

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