Are there any books that have influenced more
than one of the authors interviewed in The Book That
Changed My Life? Consider why a certain book or
author would influence many people. Are there universal
themes or qualities prevalent in these work(s) that
speak to more people than others?
All of the authors
interviewed give a list of several or many books that
have changed their lives. Do you think that one book
can single-handedly change a person's life?
What are some ways
in which a fiction book could change someone's life,
and how do they compare to ways that a nonfiction book
could? Are there more similarities than differences?
is a historian and a writer. Do the books that have
influenced him reflect on his profession or interest
in history? Are there any books that have influenced
you in your profession?
Linda Pastan is
a poet. What do the poets she says have influenced her
have in common with each other? What do they have in
common with her? Do any of the other authors interviewed
mention poetry as an influence?
Can you see any
similarities between the writers being interviewed and
the authors on their lists, in terms of their writing
style? Their background? Do you find that the authors
with whom you can identify, with respect to race, gender,
upbringing, etc., have more of an impact on you than
Mother Goose as one of the books that changed
her life. What are some books that you read as a child?
How did they affect you? Can you say that any of them
influenced you to the point that you still think about
Grace Paley lists
Think about the
criteria that define which books influence your life.
Consider things like quality of writing, lyricism, themes,
setting, plot, and characterization. Would you be more
inclined toward a book that is beautifully written,
or toward one that speaks to you thematically?
Think about books
you've read throughout your life. Is your favorite book
now the same as your favorite book five years ago? Ten
years ago? Consider the course your life has taken.
Do changing themes and events in your life reflect changing
tastes in literature and art?
Finally, make a
list of books that have changed your life. Consider
why each one is on your list. Try to narrow it down
to one book. How did you come to the conclusions you