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Books that Changed my Life, Pt. 1

The other day, I asked you to let me know what books that mattered to you and why. In the next couple of posts, I’m sharing what books rocked my world, so to speak. Some of these books had a message that resonated with me; others meant something different.  In no particular order:


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle ~ Self-Confidence


I read this book in 2nd grade and it was the first book (other than the books with which I learned to read) that I distinctly remember r-e-a-d-i-n-g, holding in my hands, turning the pages and being awed by the story unfolding in my hands. I remember thinking that like Meg Wallace Murray, I didn’t feel able.  Of course, I wasn’t trying to save my family from some unknown force in the outer reaches of a different galaxy, but to this day this book is memorable because sometimes people don’t believe in themselves until they have to believe.  Sometimes we have to practice not only believing in ourselves, but in something greater as well.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand ~ Redemption


Words cannot describe how much I love this book.  Rarely have I read a non-fiction book that captivated me the way this one did.  Toward the last 3rd of the book, I was literally turning the pages as fast as if it were the most intriguing mystery I’d ever read.  Parts of it were so gut-wrenching and disturbing that I felt nauseous.  HOWEVER, this true story is ultimately one of hope and grace and God’s redeeming, intractable love for one of His own.  “They” always say that books are 10 times better than the movie, and while the movie was good, this book was brilliant.

Penmarric by Susan Howatch  Writer


Set on the Welsh coast, this family saga is narrated by all the major characters, sometimes telling the same part of a story, sometimes telling a new portion.  This book changed me simply because I loved the way the writer wrote. Aside from the high school writing assignments that I did well on, this book made me want to write. I loved how the story unfolded and each narrator’s perspective brought something new to the plot line.  Rather than a simple linear story, each character’s thoughts and choices were like real life; we all have our own viewpoint of the world around us because our experiences and personalities make that vantage unique.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain ~  Epiphany


I’m an introvert.  As a kid, I moved frequently, and being an introvert in a new place, you can feel like an outsider. Actually, in a large room full of people as an introvert, you can also feel like an outsider, even if some of the people in the room are your friends and family.  Not that they know they’re doing it (and they’d be mortified if they did know), but many of the extroverts in my life have made me feel that because I don’t like parties or large gatherings and TALK TALK TALK everywhere around me, there’s something wrong with me.  Instead, quiet works for me.  Quiet IS me.  I’m pretty good nowadays at faking extroversion, but still, quiet is my go-to preference.  This book let me know even though I like to be alone, I’m really not alone in that preference.  And quiet can be – and is – a good thing.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee ~ Value


I read this in Mrs. Gwynn’s 8th grade advanced English. I only tell you that because anything, and I do mean anything Mrs. Gwynn taught in that class stuck with me.  Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet,  A Separate Peace, Catcher in the Rye, just to name a few. She did more to fire up my love of literature and what could be learned from literature than anyone I ever knew. When she died a few years ago, there were more than 2000 entries in the online condolence book because what she taught was learned.  She cherished To Kill a Mockingbird because she took to heart the lesson Scout learned – that every human being has value.  Likewise, Mrs. Gwynn believed that every one of her students had value, and she let us know.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom ~ Trust


This book was much talked about when I was in high school and college. What was so appealing to me about this book was that unlike her sister Betsie, for whom faith and trust came naturally, Corrie Ten Boom struggled with every action and thought. Uncertain how best to care for the Jews her family hid, while keeping her own family safe, she fought anger, doubt and many misgivings about her role in life, as well as God’s role in hers.  Ultimately, she chooses to trust Him in everything.  In the good and the bad.  It’s a good lesson to learn, that.

While there’s the potential to read a book tomorrow that can be earth-shattering to me, these are just a few of my favorites. So I don’t bore you by listing them all today, I’ll share the rest in another couple days.  And again, I’d love to know what matters to YOU!

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