#BigReads

Books That Changed My Life14 Jul

Every once in awhile a book comes along that is life changing. It’s the type of read that draws you in immediately, causing you to completely forget the world around you. And when you finish that book, you may even feel like a different person on some level because it just seems to stick with you.

We know this feeling here at Booktrack. We get it because we’ve been there often. So we asked our team to share their life changing reads. Read on, maybe you’ll find your next life changing read …
Justine

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

When I was 18, shortly after graduating high school I left for a 3 month trip to Costa Rica. It was my first time out on my own, in a foreign country, feeling very far away from my family. I read the Lord of Rings during this trip and instantly felt a kinship with Frodo. Both of us were experiencing a world so much bigger than the Shire (or in my case Regina, Saskatchewan). Both feeling the elation of meeting new friends, the despair of homesickness, and ultimately finding it in ourselves to endure hardship and conquer evil (a nasty sunburn followed by Montezuma’s revenge in my tale). When I finished the trilogy, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend, but I hung on….studied the maps, read the appendix, and luckily got to spend another 3 years watching the film.
-Justine from Booktrack

Ashish

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged changed my attitude towards life. I was an Engineering student in India, at Engineering college far away from home. My friends and I were exploring new things every day, challenging the norms and pushing ourselves to the limit. We were away from home and learning to live on our own. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I learned a lot about myself at the time. After hearing a lot about Atlas Shrugged, I borrowed it from one of my friends and could not put it down once I started reading it. Atlas Shrugged, for those who have not read it, introduces characters with different and contrasting philosophical thoughts. It challenges you to evaluate the actions of these characters using your own reasoning and logical thinking. This book changed my attitude towards life in a positive way and taught me a lot, it helped me to step back and analyze the world around me in order to be more perceptive. After finishing this book, I was mentally exhausted but highly satisfied. I still use what I learned from this book today and I hope to read it again once more very soon.
-Ashish from Booktrack (Pictured centre bottom in the above photo)

Cam from Booktrack

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Though I can think of many books that have had an effect on my life I would have to say that one of the first books that really sunk in, in a completely new way, would have to be “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. My English Teacher Mr. Webb made me read it either Grade 11 or 12. Written as series of letters from the author poet to a younger aspiring poet, Rilke revealed a whole new way of thinking for me. For sure it played into my very idealistic sense of the world but it also provided a new set of questions to ask about oneself in the pursuit of those ideals. I felt like the book launched me forward into some sort of foreign and unfamiliar land  – and it was exciting. It was this book that inspired me to travel after high school – which is where my picture is from.
-Cam from Booktrack

July19#BigReadsAmyBLOG

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte & Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

By the time I got to senior year of college, I hadn’t taken a single literature course. I placed out of the basic English requirement freshman year, and journalism majors weren’t required to take any additional English classes beyond their core writing requirements (which seems ridiculous now, but that’s a topic for another discussion). But I signed up for a comparative literature class to fill some elective requirement, and ended up experiencing stories in a whole new way. This class specifically examined classic stories and the more contemporary texts that borrowed elements of those classic novels. We read several book pairs, but the standouts were definitely The Crucible and I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and my favorite, Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. Reading Wide Sargasso Sea completely flipped my perspective on narrative. Aside from the fact that it is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read, it turned me on to the importance of backstory and perspective. Seeing the story of Jane Eyre from the perspective of the most vilified (and ultimately misunderstood) character in the narrative confirmed what I always thought was true of novels I loved — it confirmed that there is always more story behind the story, and that oftentimes, one version of the story is not enough.
That’s a big part of why I’m SO excited about some of the new books we’re about to bring on to our platform — they offer delicious side stories about some of my favorite characters. Can’t wait to share them with everyone! :)
-Amy from Booktrack

 

What books have you read that changed your life? Share the titles on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages using the hashtag #BigReads and we’ll feature the list in an upcoming blog post.

Here are some we’ve also received from fans and authors.

 

 

 

July17#BigReadsFan1BLOG

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

I was going through the loss of someone close to me and when I read this book. I was completely astonished, I felt so close to Laurel, I felt her pain and her thoughts were mine. We both shielded ourselves from crying in front of everyone and hid our emotions. Jennifer Castle, I applaud you in every way possible and thank you for writing a book that I recommend to anyone, especially those who are feeling lost and afraid to express their emotions.

-Emily

We also had an author respond and connect with a fan!

July19#BigReadsJosephBLOG

Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe

My earliest memories include reading, my mother taught me to read on her knee even before I formally started school. She was an artist and believed that reading and interacting with the world around us developed a person’s imagination and created a lifelong thirst for knowledge. Of course she was right, it was also one of the reasons she never allowed a television in our home. I stumbled across Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe by accident, but it became one my favorite books as a young adult, in many ways I identified with the main character Eugene. But it was Wolfe’s flair for descriptive passages and deep examination of what drove his characters I enjoyed and in many ways began to mimic in my own writing. My mother had moved from the northeast to rural South Carolina when I was a freshman in high school and this difficult transition only heightened my association and understanding of Eugene Gant. As an adult I read constantly, but I gravitate to authors that are masters at character development and descriptive writing that enable you to become part of the story. As a writer, I do find that I am revisiting many of my favorites from days past, re-reading favorite scenes and passages.

-Joseph

July20#BigReadsGeorginaBLOG

Nemesis by Anna Banks

This book made me more hopeful for a peaceful world. I loved it! from beginning to end! I was fascinated by the storyline and the descriptions. The main character is perfect! I barely like main characters but Sepora is just so unique and original. Fair and just! She believes in a world without wars and I can relate to her in so many ways! I may say this book has touched my life and heart. Currently in my country we are going through many things. Our government is not the best one and just like the story in Nemesis, I would certainly like to make it better. This book has taught me that good has a chance to overcome evil and that the effort of one person can become the effort of many. Even though this book is the first of many to come, I have learned that if you believe in something, stick to it! Eventually , if you are persistent enough, you will see that the path will clear for you.! This book has symbolized hope for me, hope for peace and a better world.

-Georgina

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