The book that changed everything

You know, that book that, after you read it, made you want to become a writer. Made you say, “I want to do that.” And maybe without even realizing it, that book changed everything. You knew there was no going back.

Mine was Dune by Frank Herbert. I read it when I was 14. And I read it once a year. Of course, I’ve read the others in the saga, but the first one is, in my opinion, by far the best.

Dune made me fall in love with stories. As cheesy as it sounds, it felt like magic. For the first time I understood that words can, indeed, affect us more than reality itself. And I wanted to make people feel. More than anything, I wanted to make people feel with the same intensity that Dune made me feel. Strangely connected to a world I didn’t belong to. A world that didn’t exist.

Before outlines, first drafts, edits, deadlines, and audiences, I bet there was one book that changed everything. That one story that made you consider the possibility of  becoming a writer. What was it?

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194 thoughts on “The book that changed everything

  1. Pingback: The book that changed everything | Halina's Blog

    • I have never read Dune and now i must find a copy. For me it was Laura Ingalls Wilder, LIttle House in the big woods. I was 7 or 8. The entire series actually. Pat Conroy has really stirred up that desire to write as well. V.C. Andrews and the Flowers in the Attic series when i was 14…ok im stopping now :)

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  2. Martin Eden by Jack London. Innately, I knew his struggle, even before experiencing my own. And to this day – I still don't write outlines. I have always been and always will be, three steps left of the center-norm.

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  3. I could say Dune, too. I could also say the Foundation series, Pynchon's V., Cat's Cradle … That's me wanting to be a science fiction writer … The truth is The Great Gatsby made me realize I wanted to be a writer way before anything else. I was 10.

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  4. Too bad the movie stunk so badly. It really deserves a remake, with live actors.

    I do remember the book that made me quit trying to be a writer, of fiction, anyway.

    That was Gravity's Rainbow.

    So now the world knows who to thank …

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  5. Great post, and cheesy is very sexy! The book that made me want to write romance, was Kathleen Woodiwiss' "The Flame and the Flower." I read it when I was a teenager (sneaking, of course!) and knew I wanted to write stores that took my breath away.

    Best,

    Nett

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  6. Hmm, I've never thought of a single book inspiring me to write, though the kinds of things one reads no doubt do have an influence…Interesting. My love of stories can be directly traced to particlular authors, however: Lucy Maude Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon Days, and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, for example. I love HOW they tell their stories.

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  7. Oddly enough, it was probably Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving. It's an odd book, but in a fascinating way. I read it over and over, through my 20s and early 30s. Then I didn't read it again until in my 40s. At that point, it didn't play as well to me. I still love Irving's ability to tell a story that makes me think so hard about so many things. Cider House Rules is such a wonderful book, and of course, A Prayer For Owen Meany is the best of them all.

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  8. i'm glad you mentioned Dune. thanks to movies like "mission to mars" and friend recommendations, sci fi has taking over my life recently.

    your question is like life flashing before us..remembering all the way back…

    i'd have to say "lord of the flies" and "brave new world" because i got an F on my modern lit papers in high school and it motivated me….plus the authors kind of explained how and why everything is the way it is or at least pretended to and that felt powerful.

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  9. What a great post! It's so true… one book, one author.. they can change the future course of your life with their words. For me, I would have to say the book for me was "Kissed by an Angel" by Elizabeth Chandler. The book itself was a silly little teenage romance, but it was the ideas for stories that began to spin in my mind while reading the book.

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  10. I wanted to write after being exposed to Harry Potter, but it wasn't till I read Stephen King's It that I knew I wanted to write horror. And look where I've come since then; I'm even working on self-publishing my first book. It's amazing how books can influence your life, can't they?

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  11. It wasn't a book that made me want to be a writer but life. I began writing and did not think I would be a writer, I just began writing. First it was diaries, then it was papers in high school, then it was poems which became short stories, then a thesis and later a novel. I still don't know if I want to become a writer but I write because I like to. I do fantasize about being paid for it one day though.

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  12. The book that catapulted me into writing was Edgar Allen Poe's, "The Cat." The beauty of his right choice of words, and his unsurpassed talent of holding the reader at every word, every paragraph, every turn of the page made me believe that I could write something grand from such a simple premise. ;-)

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  13. Mine was in 2009…..Nothing In This Book Is True, But Its Exactly They Way Things Are by Bob Frissell. The subject matter interested me, but then the combination of his writing style, layout, use of images and the size of the book made me want to do my own. When I met Bob recently and found out that he was in essence just like me(never wrote a book) before this one, it got me even more motivated.

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  14. Great post. Mine was Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell – I still remember the feeling of being inside the story. And outside of myself.

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  15. What a great question! The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It changed how I viewed everything. I still try to read it every once in while. It's the biggest reason why I started my blog or even writing. I never considered myself to be the writer type, but sharing my ideas through writing was such a powerful revelation to me.

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  16. For me it was "The Eagle and The Raven" by Pauline Gedge. She writes primarily Egyptian historical fiction now, but back in high school I found this book about the last native Britons defending their country and way of life from the Romans. I bought myself a new copy when it was re-released a few years ago.

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  17. For me, it was The Lord of the Rings. I didn't read it until college, but always wanted to write stories. This book pushed me over the edge and made me put pen to paper…well, fingers to keyboard (you get the idea).

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  18. "Blue Like Jazz," by Donald Miller, changed everything. From that moment on I wanted to write non fiction to inspired others. My narrative style changed and still, five years later, my goal is to move people the way that book moved me.

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  19. When I was little, comic books are what inspired me most. Then it was action paperbacks that stoked the imagination, then Stephen King thrillers, then George Macdonald Frazier's Flashman books, then Elmore Leonard, and most recently the novels of Ken Bruen. Bill Bryson is my non-fiction hero. And comic books have become graphic novels and the quality of the writing is better than ever.

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  20. Just one? A stable of books inspired my love of the written word! You are so right about the power of a well-written story! A well-written first sentence is equally important.

    :"Last night I dreamt I went at Manderley again…"

    "Call me Ishmael."

    or the last sentence, "The old man was dreaming about lions."

    z

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  21. For me it was the other way around. I read a book and thought 'I can do better than this (or at least as good as this)'. I'm nice, so won't mention which book it was. Actually, why not, it was Prophecy by Chris Kuzneski. It wasn't because it was a bad book, it's very readable, but I just felt that I could do something similar. He writes with a very simple style – quite functional – and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.

    Whether I can write like this I'll let other people be the judge. :-)

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  22. Amen! Dune is still my favorite literary work ever, and I do mean "literary." I couldn't care less if it's sci-fi, it's truly a complete masterwork.

    I draw inspiration from the book because of the amount of effort Frank Herbert put into this book; it took him 7 years to complete it, and it had been rejected countless times. Yet it's now acknowledged as one of the greatest novels ever.

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  23. I always wanted to be a writer, but I think the book that made me realize what I wanted to get myself into was "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy. Beautifully written, heartbreaking story. After I read it, I realized the true power of telling a story.

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  24. For me it was "Taliesin" by Stephen R. Lawhead. The imagery of Atlantis and it's weird connection to the British Isles was fantastic. His mystical writing style left me scratching my head and asking "was it magic?" I loved the entire Pendragon series, but the first is always the best.

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  25. For me that book was "Attentat", by Amélie Nothomb. Her writing was just so different from everything I had ever read before. She obviously knows her classics, but she has a distinct voice of her own. It made me realize being a writer did not mean trying to fit into the canon. It is about finding your own voice. Of course I knew this insight in theory, but reading that book Attentat made me feel it as well. However ordinary this insight may sound now, that book changed everything for me.

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  26. Tom Robbins' first novel, "Another Roadside Attraction." The irreverence. The change of voice in mid-read. The sheer fun of reading it. Once worked at the same newspaper as Robbins. Trying to follow his lead now.

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  27. The first "story" I ever wrote was a letter when I was five about how upset I was at my mom, and that I was running away to join the circus, but would be back by Thursday. She was so amused by it that I wrote more stories. My dad also used to take us to this old movie house (called "The Bijou") to watch old movies like "Captain's Courageous" and "Robin Hood" (the one with Errol Flynn), and all sorts of other ones. Anyway, after the show, he would buy a copy of the book for the movie we just watched – which they sold after every show – and I read allll of them. I have my parents to thank for this literary life.

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  28. It's strange – I wrote from a very young age, and I think the instinct to write was simply in me. Although if I had to pick a book that inspired me, it would probably be the CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore (when I was younger) and 'Old Man's War' by John Scalzi (recently). :)

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  29. Oddly enough, it was when I first read Enid Blyton's Famous Five series. It just blew me away, I read it under the sheets with a flashlight after my bedtime because I could not possibly put it down. It was exciting, funny, serious, made me laugh, made me cry, made me think.

    That's when I first thought, damn I want to do this as well :-)

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  30. Gone With the Wind at age 8. I used that book report every year, even in college. Actually started a sequel to Scarlett around ten. Never did finish it, and damned if I can't find a 3 1/2 floppy drive these days

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  31. Definitely "Heidi" – we had a super-old copy with a cloth cover (and no publication/copyright date in it, so I don't know how old) and I read it every year. I always fantasized about her life out in the Alps – it seemed so simple (eat some bread and cheese and wander around in the alpine meadows) but was so vivid and real. I've had the picture in my head ever since I first read it, and I'm almost afraid to visit the Alps one day in case it doesn't match up with my vision!

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  32. mine's was an action thriller by an old friend of mine, Andrew. I have no idea where he is or how he's doing but I'm glad he inspired me to write fiction (horror, macabre, surrealistic, abstract) I was about 12 at the time and don't regret a single story or fanfiction I've written.

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  33. I used to love reading the Nancy Drew series as a kid and read pretty much any book I could check out at the library. However Chronicles of Narnia, Jane Eyre, and A Severe Mercy are amongst my favorites.

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  34. Mine was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton; not only did it inspire me to become a teen fiction author, it got me through middle school and high school. In fact, I recently blogged about the book in honor of Banned Book Week last week.

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  35. I can't say Ray Bradbury was my inspiration for becoming a writer (I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be one, so it's hard to ascribe that desire to any one book or author), but he was the one who convinced me that I wasn't completely crazy for feeling so drawn to the craft. Whenever I feel lost I can pick up just about anything he's written and find the strength or guidance I need.

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  36. F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited" (short story) really got me excited about reading again. It prompted me to read "The Great Gatsby" and "The Paris Wife" after years of having not finished a book.

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  37. It would extremely difficult for me to pinpoint a single novel or story as a tipping point, because I have been reading since I was young and it was if I simply emerged into writing. I hardly remember a time when I was not scribbling, speaking aloud, reading, or planning words. The first books I had were old ones belonging to my parents, and I remember reading a medical encyclopedia cover to cover more than once. The classics, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz were always in my house. I inhaled everything from "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" to thick titles like "War and Peace." Currently, my muses are Murakami Haruki, China Mieville, and apocalyptic universes. When I need a break, though, I love J.R. Ward's novels to unwind my brain from thick prose.

    Oh, and seconding the poster on "The Great Gatsby" as a wonderful, poignant novel. :)

    And an inordinate amount of fanfiction has had influence … but we don't have to discuss that, haha.

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  38. I haven't read Dune but mine was One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. I wanted to create characters like that. Ones that you normally wouldn't cheer for but you found your self rooting on. And Sherman Alexi as well made me realize that I can tell a whole history in less than 500 words. When I read his stories or read Kesey, I write like a crazy woman.

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  39. Oddly, I think it was these long poems my mom used to write when I was a little girl. I've been fascinated by words since I was two, reading by three. The book that wow'd me? The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton when I was 11. Especially since she apparently wrote it when she was 14.

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  40. The book that really got me wanting to write more, not just fiction but also journalism and so much more, was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or The Girl Who Played with Fire.

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  41. Wow, I'm actually reading Dune right now! But I guess the first real novels I ever plunged into reading seriously were the Chronicles of Narnia. I must have been around 9 when I first read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. At that time, it didn't change me, other than just enticing me to read more fantasy fiction. I additionally grew up with the BBC series based on the books, which also helped in the visualization process. Now, 20 years later, I can rightfully say that it is more-or-less responsible for getting me into fantasy writing!

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  42. I don't remember the title, and I can't find it in a google search. It was a youth/young adult story from the 50's or 60's that retold the story of the American Revolution, substituting a Mars colony for the Americans. Same slogans ("Don't Tread on Me'" etc.) I caught the parallels, and realized it was possible to actually make money doing that kind of thing. And yes, that was my actual thought! What made me believe in how it's possible to write high-quality SF was David Brin's "Postman". Still hoping, and working at it.

    And, of course, Madelaine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.

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  43. I've also experienced the same feeling. The book that inspired is titled "The Sword of Shannara" by Terry Brooks. I am a huge fan of science fiction novels. As a kid I imagine myself living in a world of magic and demons, fairies and druids, elves and trolls and others. As I read I somehow let my mind wonder and find my self wishing that I am one of the characters.

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  44. For me, it was "The Complete Poetry Of Edgar Allan Poe" and since then I have evolved on my own work. I think I was about 13 when I first read him; it was the poem "Israfel" that had me hooked.

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  45. my favourite book when i was about 12 is called "The palace of laughter" and i completely agree with you when you say the first book is the best in the series. My favourite books at the moment are the Time Riders series by Alex Scarrow and they are so amazing and you just get pulled into this world which you want to be real so badly, and that inspires me to write stuff and hopefully try and get other people to feel the same with stuff i write.

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  46. Mine was The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. I read it in an eighth grade English class. I was about 14. There is such poetry to her writing and it moved me so much that it was then I believed that words can be something more than just words on a page. Great post! :)

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  47. As a young teenager it was 'Catch-22' which i read several times; however when I tried to read it again recently I just couldn't get into it. My all time favourite book which had a great impact on my writing was – still is 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' by John le Carré. Oh, and by the way, I thought the recent film was awful, a travesty!

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  48. For me the same case. Tolkien was definetly my eyeopener for everything else I did the rest of my life. I absolutely love LotR, and it has made em this fanboy I am today. And it got me interested in medieval studies.

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  49. As I said above in reply to another commenter, I loved the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton but it was when I discovered Agatha Christie a few years later that I got that "I can do that!" moment.

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  50. I love the Secret Garden to the comment above, mine it pretty cliche, A Catcher In the Rye, I like to read at least every three years or so, The honesty in that book made me realize how true life really is.

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  51. Pingback: The Book That Changed Everything | Shadows in the Aethyr

  52. At risk of scaring everyone or creating a bad first impression, I'll take a deep breath and say it anyway. I was in 4th grade so approx age 10. It was Stephen King's The Stand. I loved the writing style, the way I was drawn into what was admittedly a very adult storyline. I began to dream that I might, some day, be able to draw my readers into my own story line. LOL Not yet, but still dreaming :)

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  53. I was quite young when I read what inspired me. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It had everything, mystery, suspense, scariness, romance, coming of age. It had it all and I decided one day I wanted to write something half as good.

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  54. Pretty much everything I read as a child. I just loved the notion of storytelling.

    So Dune, huh? For me, that book excelled at one thing – worldbuilding (space-feudalism is a guilty pleasure of mine). The setting is fantastically realized, and I do enjoy a few of the characters (Jessica in particular; I love the concept of the Bene Gesserit), but the story never really grabbed me. It felt like an afterthought that served only as a vehicle to explore the novel's technological and social ideas. Still, the book's influence on the sci-fi scene is undeniable, and its universe is fascinating enough that I've wanted to read others in the series to see what else was done with it.

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  55. Tracing it back to the very beginning, I'd say it was the stacks of Writer's Digest magazines I went through when I was eight and nine. I would flip to the editing sections and read through them, marveling at how literary nips and tucks could take a sentence, a paragraph, and bring it to full greatness.

    I have loved many stories, but strangely enough, it was the artistic and intangible science of writing that captured me.

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  56. I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith when I was 15. The characters had such personality and the imagery was so vivid that I wanted to create writings from my own life in a similar fashion. Ever since then, I have kept a journal. It's pretty humorous, really. When you read back to when I was 15, I mimicked the same language used in I Capture the Castle. A little too romantic for my rather ordinary teenage-life…

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  57. Two books changed the game for me:

    1. The Stand – Stephen King (OMG, that man can spin a story!)

    2. Shogun – James Clavell (That made me travel far and wide)

    But Like Ceelee said, it takes another kind of courage to actually start "writing". I just might get there, someday. Maybe blogging is like a reahearsal :)

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  58. As others have said, it's hard to pinpoint a particular work or a particular moment for me. The works that hit me hardest emotionally have always been poetry; Wilde's "Ballad Of Reading Gaol", Yeats' "The Second Coming", Coleridge's "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner", Elliot's "Love Song Of J Alfred Proofrock", Millay's, well everything by Edna St. Vincent Millay. (I was given free access to my mother's books very young, and I firmly believe that exposure to great poetry while I was learning to read did more for my prose style than any writing class I've ever taken.)

    As far as writing fiction, though, I'd have to go with Heinlein, probably "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" if I had to pick just one.

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  59. Oddly, while a lot of stories inspired me to create my own, the book that made me want to WRITE them was Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye. Talk about cheesy. Even though it's a book for kids I still reread it. He uses language so well…there's a scene where he describes the main character ordering donuts and coffee that's incredibly evocative. It made me mull on how amazing writing can be.

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  60. When I was nine I read the Harry Potter series. Not the best as far as writing goes, but I do love the world and all the publicity helped me completely realize that someone was paid to write the books I loved to read. I'm not sure what I thought before then; maybe they grew on trees?

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  61. Great post! For your own sake, I will keep it short.

    The bible..written by the same God who authored my life. Makes me want to have a great life story.

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  62. I'm not sure there was one specific book. I can remember getting a whole hardcover set of Daphne du Maurier's books that my grandmother was getting rid of. They were all great, but The King's General I think was the one with poems in it by Emily Bronte. It was the mix of du Maurier's and Bronte's haunting writing that hooked me.

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  63. As a little girl, E.B. White's 'Charlotte's Web' was the first story to truly touch my heart and I'm sure served as a model of personification when I wrote and illustrated my 1st story in 3rd grade, 'Roxy the Rabbit.' (No brag there – it was rather corny, but it was my 1st attempt). However, it was Rawls who stirred my heart to its depths when I read (re-read, absorbed) 'Where the Red Fern Grows.'

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  64. Pingback: The book which changed the course of my life. « wrampage

  65. I've always loved writing and reading both, but the books that finally made me understand the "feeling" part of writing were… no kidding… Fruits Basket, the manga series. Those 23 books made me laugh, weep bitterly, and cry happy tears in a way I never did before, and I came out changed. I still read them often when I needed to be reminded what character is about.

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  66. It wasn't a book that made me want to write. It was poetry. I liked the sonnets, but one poem truly stands out for me "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray. That made me want to tell stories in rhyme.

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  67. It would have to be the first book I read at age 11. John O'Hara's "Butterflied-8". The book was inspired by the real life mysterious death in the early 1930's of New York City call girl Starr Faithful.

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  68. I'm no writer, but I would have to say that some of the early Stephen King really hooked me in terms of fiction. Perhaps The Gunslinger was the one that drew me in.

    More recently, we've been reading (devouring!) The Hunger Games trilogy. We read through the Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series) last year, also very good but longer reads than THG.

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  69. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. I make sure that I read it EVERY YEAR.

    Every time I go back to it there's always new theme or message that comes out of the pages, and I get to understand the world better because of it.

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  70. Mine was The Most Beautiful Woman in Town & Other Stories by Charles Bukowski. I read voraciously through my childhood and adolescence, but at 20 years old I discovered Bukowski and that book alone got me so stoked on the idea of writing that it's fired me for the past twenty years. Not that, you know, I've gotten any good at it but I'm still spurred on by his work nonetheless.

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  71. I run the risk of looking like a pretentious something-or-other, but it's the truth: War and Peace. I was 12 when I bought it at a school book fair because I liked history and French, and I didn't like the popular kids' stuff my friends were reading.

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  72. It's hard to for me to pin down THE book, but A Wrinkle in Time was one of them for me. Definitely a book every child or grownup with an inner child should read at least once. And then read again.

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  73. Mine has to be Lloyd Alexander's "Taran Wanderer." I think I was twelve or thirteen, and my aunt had given me all the books she was assigned to read for her young adult/children's lit semester at university. I devoured them all, but Alexander stuck with me. His legacy has always inspired me to write.

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  74. I actually have two things that have fairly recently really bitten me with the writing bug; the first is a book, "The Everything Guide to C.S.Lewis & Narnia," and the other is the extras on the extended DVD of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy where they talk about J.R.R. Tolkien and his writings. I am dying to try to write, but I haven't done any writing since junior high, about 30 years ago.

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  75. After finishing 'Catcher in the Rye' I really felt like writing a book. I probably finished that book over night. My life course took different route after reading 'See You at the Top' by Zig and 'Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle. I have much control over myself, how I think, how I act.

    Thanks for this post. Good one Cristian!!

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  76. I've wanted to write ever since I was in high school, so I can't pick one influence that made me want to write. If I were to pick one book though, Cordwainer Smith's "The Rediscovery of Man" would be it.

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  77. While it wasn't the story that made me want to be a writer, the short story that made me seriously rethink how to write was "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver. Before that, Douglas Adams and Roald Dahl were big inspirations.

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  78. When I was 12 I read the Odyssey by Homer and I was blown away by how amazing and transcendant a good story could be, and around the same time the Hobbit and Lotr as well inspired me to read voraciously. They made me want to write something that inspired such a reaction in someone else.

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  79. "The Lions of Al-Rassan" by Guy Gavriel Kay. I'd never before read such a perfect blend of plot, poetry and such complex, fascinating characters with engaging and entertaining dialogue. I don't read many books over but I've gone through this one multiple times. Ammar Ibn Kairan is still my favorite character of any fiction I've ever read.

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  80. The day of the tryffids… definitely. Its so funny I didnt realise that until I read this post, but that was definitely the moment. I read it by a swimming pool in Turkey on holiday, and when I put it down, my life had changed forever.

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  81. Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse had a huge impact on me as teenager. I read most of his books, they all haunted mne for years. Tried re-reading it lately, and couldn't make it – too slow for me nowadays. Perhaps there's an app for this..

    I got into Graham Green and read everything of his. If you want a chuckle then read his "our Man in Havana"

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  82. I think the SciFi book(s) that really pulled off the idea of Empires in (or across) space is the Foundation Trillogy by Issac Asimov. Three Books that chronical the demise of a Galactic Empire and the seeds of a new civilisation being secretly germinated at edge of the Galaxy. no guns, no bombs just fantasic ideas set in an epic landscape.

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  83. Domain by James Herbert and I still have that old paperback copy I read many years ago when I was 11. Was lucky enough to get it signed by the man himself recently, but it opened up my eyes to classic horror writing and if I could produce even a page of what I read in that book, I would be a very happy bunny.

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  84. Yeah, "A Prayer For Owen Meany" IS the best, isn't it? Kind of made me realize my favorite place to be in a book (and in life!): at the very edge of what's possible . . . what's emotionally survivable . . . where the line between tragedy and comedy is so thin that it completely disappears at times . . . where absurdity is the norm and.any attempt at normalcy absurd.

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  85. Yeah, I too LOVE characters you wouldn't normally cheer for, but find yourself rooting on. I like myself best when reading books like that (guess I figure that if I could love somebody like that, there's hope for me after all!)

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  86. I can absolutely relate to this post. For me it was Stephen King's "Eyes of the Dragon" when I was 12. My parents have always been huge King fan's and bought every book he wrote. Though I had tried to read a few of them before "Eyes of the Dragon", I simply couldn't get interested in most of the stories. But when I opened "Eyes of the Dragon" I found myself sucked into the story and I couldn't put it down.

    When I finished that book I knew I wanted to be a writer. I actually went so far as to write a letter to Mr. King asking for his advice. I mailed that letter to his publisher requesting that they forward it on to him. Not long afterwards I received a personalized handwritten response from Mr. King himself and he included copies of articles he had written about being a writer. That was one of the happiest days of my life. Since then I have read practicaly every book he has written and he remains one of my most influential sources of inspiration. Whenever I start to feel discouraged I think back to that letter from him and it helps to keep me going.

    When I think about being a writer there are two things that I want more than anything. One is that I hope to be just half as successful as Stephen King, and the other is that I hope to one day get the opportunity to meet him and thank him in person for writing back to me all those years ago.

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  87. Agreed; reading 'Dune' was a life-changing experience, though I didn't actually break into it and finish it until I was nearly twenty. The book that made me realize I could become a writer was some little short saga about unicorns I read around age twelve or thirteen. I believe it was "The Unicorn Chronicles" by Bruce Coville, but it's been so long… Another big influence of my early writing career was the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce.

    Recently though, I suddenly realized science fiction doesn't have to be quite so daunting to write while reading 'Out of the Silent Planet' by CS Lewis. Another book I wish I had discovered earlier!

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  88. though it was a time ago indeed, the book that changed everything for me was The Second Earth: The Pentateuch Retold-Rebirth Of The Cosmogony by Patrick Woodroffe. The illustrations beyond beautiful, the prose beyond reproach. magnificent, and in heady company here

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  89. For me, it wasn't so much that a particular book made me want to write, but Jean Auel's EC series definitely has affected the way I look at our world and especially the way we eat. It prompted me to become proactive in my decisions about my diet, and to become a better cook. Although I do enjoy writing, I live in my kitchen.

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  90. This hombre viejo was 18, an engineering student in a Jesuit university, given "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce as an assignment for a 1st year English class. Goodbye engineering not forever since I didn't have the cojones to give up making money for taking up the art. The book had been written 60 years before I read it yet Dublin at the turn of the 20th century was my experience of being an Irish Catholic street kid In mid-century Philadelphia. The pain, the guilt, the sexual awakening, the isolation and the imagery of "the smithy of the soul creating the conscience of my race" planted the seeds. It's been a while getting here but now I can call myself a writer.

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  91. Hi Cristian. Dune I had on Video but the book is always better and I now have a reminder to get a copy (Sci-Fi I love, a real Trekkie ya' know). So thanks for that :-)

    I can't think of a specific book that made me want to write. I guess it was that I had somethings I wanted to 'Say' hence why I started blogging. And through that I have even wrote some poetry. But I always had a desire for creative writing. Plus one day I want to 'Tell' my story and that motivates me.

    All these things makes me go in the direction of learning how to write well and better.

    To be honest, I think that every book I have ever read has inspired me. Truly.

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  92. Maybe not a book… Hermann Hesse's short story "Iris" made a profound impact when I read it in Grade 9. I've got a very crumpled, duct taped Modern Japanese Haiku, An Anthology by Makoto Ueda that was big influence. Hmmm but now that you've really made me think about it, Richard Brautigan's, In Watermelon Sugar was a game changer. Good question!

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  93. I love this post because it touches on my first love, reading. I fell in love with language, and story telling, after convincing my father to buy me a novel he thought I was too young to understand. This was so many years ago, I don't think anyone remembers this book: Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell, an English novelist. Ten years later, I would read Hermann Hesse's novel, Narcissus and Goldmund, which led to my reading his other work, and I was hooked for life. Few authors have touched me as deeply as Hesse.

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  94. CS Lewis, The Horse and His Boy. It was the first of the Narnia series that I read and it opened my eyes to the genre of fantasy and how much I love reading and writing (though perhaps I should then say Enid Blyton. Because i devoured every single book of hers that I could find as soon as I was able to read on my own). Enid Blyton taught to me love reading, CS Lewis showed me the magical worlds just beyond my reach.

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  95. Ah,love Dune,but the book that really changed my life was the Iliad.

    I was about 10 and had read everything in the house, when my grandfather handed it to me with a twinkle in his eye saying, "I think you'll like this," since I'd made it known that I was really into adventure, the more violent, the better.

    It changed everything. Even though I'd read hundreds of good books already, I got a sense that this was the source of some really important cultural touchstones, and I was fascinated with the sheer drama and scope of it. Achilles was my first crush.

    Yes, I was a "special" child. :-)

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  96. I think 'Through the Looking Glass' was the one for me. I was very young and when I read The Jabberwocky I totally got it, even though the words didn't make proper sense. I realized there are no rules, you can write whatever you want!

    Twas brillig, and the slithy Toves….. Still makes me happy :)

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  97. The Gold of Cape Girardeau by Morley Swingle. I have always written something, since I could put a crayon to the living room wall behind the curtains. This book, while reading it, I would stop and read sections out loud to my family, screaming I can write better than that. (Yes, I know, EGO talking here.) Sorry Mr. Swingle, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

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  98. When I was a kid I used to read anything that I could get my hands into, including shampoo bottles. Well, two books come to mind, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and the other one is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

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  99. There have been numerous books, Sci-Fi I would say Wheel of Time or Shannara series, fiction it has always been Keroack's Dharma Bums or Desolation angels if it was journalism reporting I always was a fan of Hunter S. Thompson and Fran Lebowitz, non-fiction Carl Sagan. So it all really depends.

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  100. Mine was Little Women. I was 8 the first time I read it and have read it many times since. I liked that there were stories within the main story. I wanted to be Jo and move to the city to become a strong, independent female writer.

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  101. You'll think this is terrible, but when I actually really really wanted to be a writer was after I read the Twilight Series.. not because the books were superbly written, because it's that whole stay at home mom become successful writer dream that does it for me… just that there are possibilities for writers- anyone can jump on board.. well not anyone :-)

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  102. This might sound corny, but the book that changed everything for me was the Harry Potter series. I started reading those book when I was at a crossroads in my life at the age of 35. It brought back into that amazing, intense world of imagination. It made me feel so good inside.

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  103. Pingback: Thought of the Day 10.8.12 B Frank Herbert « ritaLOVEStoWRITE

  104. It wasn't a book, it was a random idea that just grew. And then I kept feeding it and it grew bigger and bigger. I never knew I could write creatively, but now I have 3 blogs and a book underway. So essentially it wasn't a book, but some faith in myself and my writing abilities.

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