Friday's Missive: Books that changed your life
October 29, 2004

Okay I know I've had a tendency in the past to come down hard on the "classics", Dickens especially. I hope it comes across that I do appreciate books (even bad ones) and their impact on my life. When I categorize all the books I've read in my lifetime, I generally put them into three categories:

1) Really Good
2) Really Bad
3) Life-changing

Some of the life-changing books I've read haven't necessarily been the best books per se. For whatever reason, at the time I read some, no matter how poorly written, they were just what I needed. Then there are others that completely altered my thinking or worldview. Others enraged me. There are even books that changed my life that I vehemently disagreed with.

Aside from the Bible, which of course is off-the-charts by way of life-changing capabilities, I'm curious to know what other books had life-altering influence on your life? I'll start with just a few of mine:

  • Osa's Pride by Ann Grifalconi
  • Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer
  • Oedepus Rex by Sophocles
  • More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
  • The Jewish Phenomenon by Steven Silbiger
  • The Mis-Education of the Negro: Carter G. Woodson

Posted by Ambra at October 29, 2004 12:50 AM in Life
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Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
A People's History of the United States - Howard Zinn
Losing the Race - John McWhorter

Dickens. .... (just kidding - though I do enjoy him).

I had originally listed a few books but decided that this one had so much larger an impact than the others that I would list it alone:

Francis Schaeffer's "How Should we then Live"

It may not be the most scholarly or in-depth book, but it put me on a path in my understanding of Scripture and life that I have continued on to this day.

Other authors that have had a large impact on my thinking (for better or worse) include:

Ayn Rand
Cornelius Van Til - who was Schaeffer's teacher
Alvin Plantinga

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius,The portrait of Dorian gray by Oscar Wilde and visions of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell

The Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I was working at a job where i was terribly unhappy and had bad relations with my immediate supervisor. Reading these two books opened my eyes and mind and gave me strenght to holdout until I finished my MBA.
Without Remorse by Tom Clancy - Just an awesome book!

"Basketball is My Life" by Bob Cousy
"Message to the Blackman in America" by the Hon. Elijah Muhammad
"Manchild in the Promised Land" by Claude Brown
"The Circle of Sex" by Gavin Arthur
"Mucousless Diet Healing System" by Prof. Arnold Ehret
"The Manchurian Candidate" by Richard Condon

"In His Steps" by Charles M. Sheldon
This book was the Genisis for the WWJD movement, but I read it long before that got started, and it inspired me to critically examine my life in light of what The Master would do, and to take drastic action.

Just a few...

Of the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
Salt & Light by Eberhard Arnold
What Would You Do? by John H. Yoder
He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado--I became a Christian because of this book. I don't agree with all of Lucado's theology, but I am grateful for this book.

(Keep up the good work, Ambra! I am also 23 and living an hour south of you in Olympia. I love your site!)

ha, well i would actually list Dickens among other writers of the so-called classics. certainly they aren't better just because they're older but they often carry a dignified look at the lower classes of the time that I think is good for me to hear. they also reinforce valuable concepts of duty, love and honor that i'd like to think i've taken.

Augustine's [i]Confessions[/i] is a great book that shaped my heart some.

i recently appreciated some of Kierkegaard's journalings as well.

toss in some great pictures of humility and love in [i]The Brother's Karamazov[/i] and i think you've got the overview.

Hmmm...let's see:

Losing the Race, Authentically Black - John McWhorter
America Alone - Jonathan Clarke and Stephen Halper
Ethics - Alain Badiou
Power/Knowledge - Michel Foucault
Letters to a Young Conservative - Dinesh D'Souza
The Conservative Mind - Russell Kirk
God and Man at Yale - William F. Buckley, Jr.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers

Claudio

Higher Education: Books that elevated my mind, body and spirit

The Browder Files by Anthony Browder
As A Man/Woman Thinketh by James Allen
Melanin: Chemical Key to Black Greatness by Carol Barnes
African Origins of Major Western Religions by Dr. Joseph Ben Jochnan
Stolen Legacy by George G.M. James
Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss
Think & Grow Rich: A Black Choice by Dennis Kimbro & Napolean Hill
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Nothing Down by Robert Allen
Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children
by Amos N. Wilson

Here are some offerings:

1) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It didn't make me a high-waters-wearing fantasy nerd, but I loved it because it was historically rich (albeit fake history), exciting, interesting and cool.
2) The Rise and Fall of the Communist Revolution by Warren H. Carroll. It is a history of communism from a Catholic perspective, so it is not for everyone, but it does a great service in chronicling the damage communism wrougt on the world.
3) A History of the American People by Paul Johnson. Not too deep, but no less interesting for it.
4) Mind over Matters: Michael J. Nelson: didn't change my life, but it made me laugh; sometimes very hard.
5) The Bible. Duh. (should be #1)

A book by Ursula LeGuin that made me a fan of every fantasy book that I could get my hands on.

Unfortunately, I don't remember the name.. I read it in 5th grade.

The Cat in the Hat.

It's where it all began for me.

(And after 46 years, I still don't know what I would do!)

Andy, peep the original post, the Torah and the Gospels were a given.

Hey. Here's a question...why doesn't anybody list any books that run counter to their archetypal belief system? Nobody with conservative political leanings has read a "liberal" book that made you stop and think about the ideas you took for granted?

Oh. And add The Biggest Fish In The Sea - Dahlov Ipcar

Funny how reading is my No. 1 favorite leisure activity, I have a house FULL of books, but I can't really point out one book that was "life changing".

Now, that could be because I am old and forgetful, or it could be because I don't read a whole lot of books that have "life changing" potential.

That being said, I have some very favorite authors whose works I will always read:

R.F Delderfield
Jeffrey Archer
Nevada Barr
Dick Francis

And Avery, the problem with "liberal" books is they have always already been colored in when I pick them up at the library :) (couldn't resist...)

Good stuff guys. It's amazing how books affect people differently. I think I saw Ayn Rand twice so far. Interesting...

I second whoever said "The Cat in the Hat" as well as anything by Napoleon Hill.

Joe from Jersey: I didn't know you had an MBA?

Avery: Good point. As I stated in the post, a lot of the books that changed my life are not necessarily books that I agreed with, but they somehow challenged my thinking or made me stronger in what I already believed. I'm curious to see what others say. I'm not really an avid reader of "liberal theory" anymore. I think I had my fair share in high school and college. I named one already, but here's a few more that greatly influenced me but I take issue with:

1) Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
2) The Bhagavad Vita
3) Le Petit Prince by Saint Exupery
4) The Auto-biography of Malcolm X
5) Race Matters by Cornel West
6) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
7) The Stranger by Albert Camus
8) For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Enuf by Ntozake Shange
9) On civilization by Margaret Sanger
10) Everything by Sigmund Freud

Ambra- I don't just get by on my good looks ya know! MBA in Strategic Mgmt.

Another one of my favorite books...
If I Don't Six by ELWOOD REID

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls taught me to love reading.

The How and Why of Homeschooling by Ray Ballman convinced me to homeschool.

The Christian:Called to Obedience by Howie and Dennie Dowell helped me grow spirtually.

The Pleasures of God by John Piper
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George
Brokenness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

I'm only halfway through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, but it has already impacted me greatly. Can I list that here, too?

Co-sign Linda on the Narnia Chronicles, which were read to me long before I knew C.S. Lewis was a theologian (like any kids knew)

anna karenina (tolstoy) - levin's awakening at the end. tremendous.
the chronicles of narnia (lewis) - i've either had this read to me or read it yearly since i was 3.
the gulag archipelago (solzhenitsyn) - puts things in perspective.
crime and punishment (dostoevsky) - a brave and brilliant attempt to get into a criminal mind. really opened my eyes to some things.
1984 (orwell) - gulp.
fahrenheit 451 (bradbury) - ditto, though not quite as much.
song of the lotus eaters (tennyson) - language can be unblinkingly beautiful.
the riverside shakespeare (duh) - times change. the human condition doesn't. plus, reading it makes me feel smart!
the pilgrim's regress (lewis) - whenever i am concerned that really intelligent people don't believe in God, i remember this one.
candide (voltaire) - this is what a really intelligent unbeliever thinks.
catch-22 (heller) - people are insane. all of us. we all have the ability to be completely insane, at any time.
les miserables (hugo) - epic, in every way. there is grace for the seeking.

it is hard for me to think of books, but much easier for me to think of authors, as someone else mentioned.

so, here's a hodgepodge of books and authors that have influenced me (in no particular order)

for colored girls... ntozake shange
the color purple alice worker (and many of her other works)
unfaithful angels: how social work abandoned its mission james billups
the chosen child unknown (book on adoption that was read to me as i child to "tell" me that i was adopted)
civil rights: rhetoric or reality thomas sowell
black feminist thought patricia hill collins
killing the black body dorothy roberts

Before I make a comment, I have to give a word of thanks for making me feel like I aint the only young black person in the state who is a moderate conservative. I spent a great deal of my life on the hill in Tacoma, and it was conservative principles that helped me grow out of destructive lifestyles and go to school.


With regards to the book picks, I would add Ralph Ellison to the list. Not only is Invisible Man one of if not the finest novel of the postwar era, Shadow and Act and Going The Territory, his two essay books, are priceless meditations on the shared interests/history of blacks and whites and the individualist conservative tradition in black culture. The bravery, intellect and grace he shows in his essays should be read by anyone who wants to know about american history, not just black history. He paid a terrible price for it: racial miltiants like amiri baraka terrorized his life because he wouldnt jump on the victim train with them.

In regards to Baldwin, Right writer, wrong essay book. Compared to the diciplined, sophisticated, and objective thought/prose of Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name, Fire just seems sloppy and self indulgent.

My three ( besides the aformentioned authors)

1 Collected Stories: Eudora welty.

Few writers have had such a clear, yet nuanced and objective take on humanity.

2 Crime and punishment: Fyodor Dostoevsky

A personal favorite, for it is the story of a nihilistic knuclehead who found himself. unlike, raskolinov, the lead character I havent killed my landlord.

3 Making Waves: Mario Vargas LLosa

Forget Marquez. Next to Jorge Luis Borges, this guy is the great Latin writer/intellectual of the second half 20th century.Some of the most elegantly conservative essay's you will ever read.


Thank you for letting me ramble. I have been visiting your site for a couple of month, and I have a great deal of admiriation for your intellect.

sorry for the inappropriately placed commas

Books? What's a book? I spend all my time in the blogosphere... oops, did I say that out loud? Heh. Actually, the book I'm reading with great pleasure right now is Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, with my soon-to-be-6-year-old daughter. It's awesome. Everyone should read it and then just shut the heck up about how difficult life is these days.

The most recent grown-up book that I read had a profound impact on me, coming as it did with perfect timing: Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft. I also recently re-read the children's classics The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (kind of junior LOTR, but very character focused) and Nicholas Stuart Gray's one-off Grimbold's Other World which I wrote about here. It rocks, but it is unfortunately out of print.

Early on, E.B. White's children's book trio (Charlotte's Web,Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan) taught me about friendship, loyalty, and honesty, among other things. I'm afraid the Narnia books sailed right over my head at the time I read/had them read to me, but I did enjoy them all the same. But I didn't take them to heart the way I did Prydain or Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series.

Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Women's Health Collective was given to me at exactly the wrong point in my physical/emotional development, with predictably horrible results. I've seen later versions of this book that emphasized health care and relationship issues, but the very first issue was basically a how-to sex manual for both straight and lesbian relationships. (!!!) This is not the kind of book a 13-year-old girl should have lying around for perusal at any opportunity...

Ayn Rand was instrumental in my early intellectual formation, as were Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and a number of other scifi greats, particularly the lyrically gifted Cordwainer Smith. However I have grown out of their secular world view, finding it much too limiting.

Oh, Stephen Jay Gould's Wonderful Life made a terrific impression on me when it was first published some 20 years ago, but I would have to re-read it before recommending it now. I'm still fascinated by the idea of tiny creatures with 5 eyes once living on this planet, a little experiment that God let run its course. I'm still trying to get a hold of a used copy to see how it holds up after all these years and changes in perspective and philosophy.

The True Believer
Atlas Shrugged - [long and boring in spots]
Brave New World
1984
Animal Farm
Anything by Ann Coulter [Kerry lied, Coulter pied]
Anything by Heinlein
Almost anything by Pournelle [send him Chicken Soup]
Almost anything by Niven [His stories about organlegging are amazingly prescient]
Catcher in the Rye [as an example of the absurdity of censorship. Without book banning, Catcher would not have sold 50 copies.]
Every tech magazine in my engineering fields.
Enough general "News" papers to recognize they are mostly paid subsidiaries of CPUSA. Enquirer is more realistic that the NY Times.

- 1984 & Catcher in the Rye....started 'em, never finished 'em. I have a horribly bad attention span.

- Good to see some CS Lewis in the fray. Especially his mythological works. Mere Christianity however, is quite simply, a classic.

nappi: you nearly named off the booklist for my black feminism research project of years past.

Brenton: based on your booklist, I see you're one of those intellectuals. I am not worthy...

Joan: A lot of the female sexuality books do more damage than good. Really. They should be burned. Did I just say that? We were force-fed "What's happening to my body for Girls" complete with pictures. That book caused more confusion for me than anything.

And I second EB White. Although I'm more partial to "Charlotte's Web". I'll never forget that book.

- Tolkein's "The Hobbit" totally changed my stand-offish attitude towards fantasy. Donna, "Where the Red Fern Grows" was everyone's favorite book in third grade. Didn't they make movie out of it too?

Robert Lashley: Welcome! Glad to give you the space to be screedy, but mind the four-letter words please. Profanity gets edited here.

In any case, on James Baldwin, I didn't list "The Fire Next Time" because I thought it was so deep, profound, and well written. I listed it because it somehow altered my life (for reasons I didn't go into). "Books that changed your life" is subjective. Everything is personal to the individual so to suggest that Native Son was a better Baldwin work is irrelevant to the topic. And quite honestly, I'm not a lover of fiction (or Baldwin), so Native Son didn't really do much for me in the life-changing department. But to each his own.

Anyway, glad to have your comments....T-town in the house.

I agree with previous posts - it's so amazing how people are touched in different ways and by different people.

Mine (in no particular order) are:
Anything by A.W Tozer
The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
The Chronicles of Narnia
Red Moon Rising - the story of 24-7 prayer

Biographies also come under this category, especially ones about how lives were changed by Jesus (The cross and the switchblade, I dared to call him father, Chasing the Dragon, Run baby run etc). Every one of them makes me go "wow, God can do that through ordinary people??? i wanna be like that too."

Chanced upon your site a coupla weeks ago Ambra; am loving it =) You have one amazing mind.

Yes, Ambra, they did make a movie out of Where the Red Fern Grows, but it was a poor imitation.

I was a late bloomer. I read it in middle school. :o) It took a very special book to wake me out of my little dream world.

Try not to restrict your reading to black or woman books. Just remember you are not just a woman, nor just a Black, although you are an outstanding exemlar of both. You got grit, guts and gumption and enough glitter to make you worth looking at. Please have lots of kids. My compliments to your folks. They did good.

It's late so I'll just mention two right now.

The Holiness of God by RC Sproul

All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Ken Myers

I'll say why soon.

Blessings

Walter's comments about Niven's organlegging stories (I think they are all collected in "The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton", or something like that... it's around here somewhere) reminded me of an equally prescient and life-altering scifi classic, The Space Merchants, in which advertising has run amok. Also, Bug Jack Baron which predicted the rise of reality TV decades before it became a reality.

Both books use exaggeration to good effect. Neither is very long and they move along at a good clip -- I think they should be required reading for everyone.

p.s. sorry about the goofed-up "strong" tag up there. I'm previewing this one to make sure I get it right!

Theology for Beginners, by Frank Sheed.

The World Inside by Robert Silverberg
Crisis of the Negro Intellectual by Harold Cruse
The Nigger Bible by Robert H. DeCoy
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Orion by Ben Bova
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Race Rules: Navigating The Color Line by Michael Eric Dyson
Daddy Cool by Donald Goines
Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
Socialism And America by Irving Howe

I have some sci-fi and fantasy mixed in there. Sometimes those books present worlds so vivid that they change your thinking.

parke: what's your email address?

mel: I'ma big fan of relevant, the publishers of Red Moon Rising and I've heard great things about it. The 24-7 prayer movement is awesome. Glad you're enjoying the site.

Mr Wallis: Thanks for the marching orders. I'll tell my parents you said so. The 'lots of kids' part will have to be cleared with my future husband.

Merideth, looking forward to the rest and BillyHW, just one?

Joan: No worries

Solo: I'm honored to know you even graced the presence of my blog.

Free To Choose, Milton Freidman.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Christianity in Crisis and Counterfeit Revival by Hank Hanegraaff

Pilgrim's Progress by Bunyan

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

and many more.......

I read Passion and Purity too... great book. It should be required reading for all school children.

Great topic, Ambra. I've read a lot of books that I enjoyed thoroughly, that were emotionally/mentally stimulating and nourishing, but life-changing? That is a tough one. Off the top, I can only think of three right now:

Autobiography of Malcolm X
Siddhartha
Emotional Intelligence: why it matters more than IQ

And I only remembered Siddhartha cuz someone mentioned it earlier. My memory is terrible. My influences have sort of blended into a course paste. This is a cool exercise. If I have time, I'll try and dig up some more (there must be more, no?).

Ah. Starting to flow a li'l bit. More to the list (geez, how could I have forgotten these):
The Fourth Way (Ouspensky)
Foundation (Asimov)

sorry about the mix up.Sometimes my typing hands go faster than my mind. But I still urge you, if you havent already, to read Ellison.

"...and BillyHW, just one?"

I thought I'd just post the single most important one for me. But if you want a list of others, here they are:

The Quran, authorship disputed. Only because it had me running back into the arms of Jesus as fast I possibly could.

Humanae Vitae, by Pope Paul VI. They mocked and ridiculed him as being "out of touch with reality", but the past 40 years have proved him to be exactly right. Exactly right.

Evangelium Vitae, by Pope John Paul II. The natural extension of his predecessor's work.

Hail Holy Queen, by Scott Hahn. Helped me to truly appreciate the awesomeness of what it means to be the Mother of God.

Calculus, by Stewart something or other. No joke. Changed my life.

Noises Off, by I don't remember. A play I did in high school.

I see a lot of others have posted Mere Christianity and I agree with them.

And finally, I'm going through this book now, and I have a feeling it's not only going to change my life, but I think over the course of the next 400 years, it will change the whole world:

Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Of course, I'm still young and there are many books I still need to read. I have a lot of catching up to do, since when I was younger I did not read all that much.

You make a brutha blush, Ambra. Much luv to ya too, sista.

I've also read The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. Amazing that he wrote it in 1933 and many things are still applicable today. By the way, I read six of those books on my list while incarcerated. And I had a dictionary at my side. Suffice it to say my vocabulary improved and my negative view of the world was shattered.

As a "rehabilitated" bookworm, where do I start?
Sci-Fi writers that make me compare their fantasies to God's realities: Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clarke, George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry.

Missionaries that write compelling of the power of Jesus' love: Pearl S. Buck, Nicki Cruz, Elisabeth Elliot, Tom Skinner, Dr Paul White.

Novelists that meld rugged individualism with historical places and events: Tom Clancy, Louis L'Amour, Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling.

Christian Fantasy/Fiction: Paul Hutchens, Tim LeHay, C.S. Lewis, Hal Lindsay, J.R.R Tolkien.

Social Commentary: Ernest Hemmingway, Franz Kafka, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, Mark Twain.

And of course Charles Dickens & George Eliot amongst many others, some remembered, many forgotten.

Great Weblog! There is so much spirit in your writing. I love it!

Below are a few books I've read recently that were life changing for me.

Praying God's Will For Your Life
-Stormie Omartian

See Yourself As God Sees You
-Josh McDowell

Regards,

Len

Interesting that you liked Woodson's Miseducation of the Negro. Not exactly the most commonly-read book today, is it? (Or is it?) What about it influenced you?

I have been profoundly changed by the Catholic Worker Movement and its philosophical underpinnings, especially Personalism.

First among these is "Propaganda" by Jacques Ellul. Summary: The natural human need to bond with others combined with our impersonal technological society allows us to be subjected to formal (political) and informal (advertising) propaganda. Real heart-to-heart dialogue with others involves listening and considering point-by-point their arguments. Propagandized thinking, with a sweep of the hand, dismisses someone else's argument in its entirety. People living in small, tight-knit communities which give them a lot of opportunity to contribute to their society and recieve love and acceptance, are very hard to propagandize. Hence the Communist's desire to break up the family unit, collectivize farming to destroy the peasant culture, etc. Although it seems somewhat academic, this book touched me in very deep ways because it explained the mechanism by which Personalism serves to insulate one from dehumanizing propaganda.

Anything by Dorothy Day, of course. She was the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement with Peter Maurin. Amazing woman! Several biographies of her have been written, several anthologies of her writings (she was a journalist) have been collected. Much is available online at www.catholicworker.org

As much Nicolai Berdyaev as I can get my hands on. Pre-revolutionary Russian social philosopher, flirted with Communism but went back to Russian Orthodox Christianity. His wife was Catholic. Emphasised that everyone must be an "artist" - have something into which they can throw themselves wholeheartedly. Wrote an excellent "Origins of Russian Communism." Dorothy Day was familiar with his work.

"I and Thou" - Martin Buber. Real communication involves taking another person whole and at face value, and being open to being taken whole and at face value. Not sure whether the CW movement was aware of him or not, but his thought seems to fit nicely with CW-style personalism.

Any encyclical by Pope John Paul II. He is brilliant and holy! I am an official encyclical junkie because of him.

"The Person and the Common Good" - Jacques Maritain. So much more of Maritain to read, so little time! A good explanation of "person" vs. "individual". Very philosophically technical, so it is hard plowing for me, with a math/science background.

"Personalism" - Emmanuel Mounier. Student of Jacques Maritain. Also hard to understand, but what I understand, I love!

An article about the philosophical influences on the CW movement is online at:
http://www.cjd.org/paper/roots/rmounier.html
Have been "reading around" based on this information. That site, www.cjd.org , has an excellent archive of articles on the CW movement.

"King" by David Levering Lewis
"Parting the Waters" by Taylor Branch
"The Kama Sutra of Vatsayana"
"The Godfather" by Mario Puzo
"Instant Replay" by Jerry Kramer
"Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic" by Osho
"Black Bourgeoisie" by E. Franklin Frazier
"The Naked Ape" by Desmond Morris
"I Am Third" by Gale Sayers

Solo: Some of the smartest and most well-read folks I know became that way while incarcerated.

Joshua: I'm really big on books that deal with Purity. I think I started reading Ellisabeth Elliot when I was about 15 or 16. In any case, reading that book only made me thirsty for more of the like. Joshua Harris, a well-known Christian lifestyle writer was also influenced by Elliot and in turn penned his books on male/female relationships which I read and subsequently had my worldview on relationships drastically altered.

Andy: A rehabilitated bookworm? Oh dear. I wish I could say the same. I'm more like a rehabilitated book SKIMMER.

Stuart: I think the whole concept that appealed and affected me was the scrutinization of education and the role it plays in society and cultivating original thought. As you know, I have some fairly strong opinions on education in America. Although I don't co-sign on the ideology of the book (which I read as a HS freshman), it served as a good foundation of critical thinking around education.

Oh man, I can't believe I forgot
The Grapes of Wrath
I was moved to tears at the end of that book. I read it as an adult a couple years ago.

I was absolutly shocked at its ending. What a great book.

The Bible,
The Catechism of the Catholic Church,
Crossing the Threshold of Hope,
Evangelii Nuntiandi,
The Lamb's Supper,
Marcus Aurelius' Meditations,
The Sandman comics,
The Old Man & The Sea,
The Divine Comedy,
Hostage to the Devil,
To Kill A Mockingbird,
A Man for All Seasons,
With God in Russia

It's all good. :)

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
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Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
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