What are some life changing or thought provoking books you feel everyone should read?

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by Fran101, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    12,548
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    :) think this is a great way to discover new great books! Add a small summary if you can (no spoilers please!)

    Here are a few off my list, there are so many but just to get things started..

    - The Book thief
    By Markus Zusak


    It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
    Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
    This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

    - The Harry Potter series
    By: JK Rowling


    Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

    - Cosmos
    By: Carl Sagan


    COSMOS is a magnificent overview of the past, present, and future of science. Brilliant and provocative, it traces today's knowledge and scientific methods to their historical roots, blending science and philosophy in a wholly energetic and irresistible way.

    - His Dark Materials
    Phillip Pullman


    In the epic trilogy His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to worlds parallel to our own. Dæmons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first. The three books in Pullman's heroic fantasy series, published as trade paperbacks, are united here in one dazzling boxed set that includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. In these new editions, each chapter opens with artwork by Pullman himself, along with chapter quotations from the likes of Milton, Donne, Black, Byron, and the Bible that did not appear in earlier editions. Join Lyra, Pantalaimon, Will, and the rest as they embark on the most breathtaking, heartbreaking adventure of their lives. The fate of the universe is in their hands.

    - Survivor: A Novel
    Chuck Palahniuk

    Tender Branson—last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult—is dictating his life story into Flight 2039’s recorder. He is all alone in the airplane, which will crash shortly into the vast Australian outback. But before it does, he will unfold the tale of his journey from an obedient Creedish child to an ultra-buffed, steroid- and collagen-packed media messiah. Unpredictable and unforgettable, Survivor is Chuck Palahniuk at his deadpan peak: a mesmerizing, unnerving, and hilarious satire on the wages of fame and the bedrock lunacy of the modern world.

    - The Giver
    Lois Lowry


    In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price

    - Jane Eyre
    Bronte


    Jane Eyre is the story of a small, plain-faced, intelligent, and passionate English orphan. Jane is abused by her aunt and cousin and then attends a harsh charity school. Through it all she remains strong and determinedly refuses to allow a cruel world to crush her independence or her strength of will. A masterful story of a woman's quest for freedom and love. Jane Eyre is partly autobiographical, and Charlotte Brontë filled it with social criticism and sinister Gothic elements. A must read for anyone wishing to celebrate the indomitable strength of will or encourage it in their growing children.
     
  2. Airn

    Airn New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,044
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Bentonville, AR
    Looking for Alaska by John Green
    John Green is such an amazing person and I love all of his books. He was a way of writing young adult books that is magical and realistic. This book has been banned in several schools because of its graphic nature. However it is NOT a sex book, it is NOT a drug book, it not about any of those things. It's realistic. It also helps that John Green (and his brother, Hank) are awesome YouTubers. They are just simply lovely people.

    This particular book is about a teenage guy going off to a boarding school. He meets some friends and his focus is on a girl, Alaska. Alaska and friends show him the ins and outs of being a teenager. The local smoking hole, what teachers suck, how to have awkward sexual moments, the works. Something happens to Alaska and the guy takes it upon himself to find out what. It's not a mystery. It's more of .... the guy discovering who he is. What it means to be a human, a teenager, love and loss.

    It's really touching. It has some sexual references and one (extremely awkward) sex scene. It also has cursing in it. (It's a story about teenagers in boarding school....) But like a lot of famous young adult books, Green doesn't glorify any of these things. (Twilight..... :rolleyes:)



    Gonna keep thinking and update this :p
     
  3. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    9 not counting ducks, chickens, and fish
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    There are a ton really but this is the first the popped in my head

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver

     
  4. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    9,420
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    Nobody gets to cheat and say the bible either!

    I'll get back to this.
     
  5. Xandra

    Xandra Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    HEY

    HEY

    CRASHCOURSE?!?!?

    Crashcourse writes teenage smut? My lord...
     
  6. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    none
    Location:
    UT
    On liberty by John Stuart Mill

    Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, but don't waste your time trying to read the whole thing. skimming it will give you the important part.

    The art of war by Sun Tzu

    The Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a Nation by SLA Marshall

    The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbons
     
  7. Equinox

    Equinox Active Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3,046
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Oregon
    Great thread idea - I haven't made the time to read as much as I would like to, and only recently started again (HEY KIM, be proud of me please). I'll definitely be looking up a few of these books to add to my ever growing list. I especially want to give Cosmos a try, I just love Carl Sagan.

    My favorite book has to be The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I don't know about life changing, but it is an incredibly captivating book filled with intriguing and memorable thoughts.

    I really like John Green's books. Bought this for my younger sister for Christmas when she read The Fault In Our Stars and went crazy for it.

    [​IMG]

    She recently bought Paper Towns and I'm looking forward to reading that as well. I haven't gotten the chance to read Looking For Alaska but would really like to.
     
  8. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Messages:
    17,830
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    1 Dog
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Home Page:
    I'm just going to say that I don't count that as a book anyone needs to read.

    As far as books everyone should read at least once goes, Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" is definitely a must-read.
     
  9. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Messages:
    17,761
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Not enough.
    Location:
    Wales
    I don't read a lot.

    But books I've read that have stuck with me...

    Cloud atlas. Bit mind boggling to begin with, but you soon get it! Very clever book.

    The time travellers wife. Read this so many times. Then they made a film, that actually sticks quite close to the book. The book is better though.

    I love Stephen king books. Love!
     
  10. Danefied

    Danefied New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,722
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    One husband of 15 years
    Location:
    Southeast
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

    The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

    100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
     
  11. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,234
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula Le Guin. Anybody that thinks they aren't racist especially should read it. She's a genius and will slap you upside the head so hard in the most subtle possible way.
     
  12. SevenSins

    SevenSins APBTs & One Crazy Banana

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Oh but I think it's a book that everyone should read. Only because, if some people actually read it (rather than having certain parts cherry-picked for them), they might start to ask questions.

    Personally, I recommend The Skeptic's Annotated Bible to help that process along. ;)
     
  13. LauraLeigh

    LauraLeigh New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,751
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Brighton Ontario
    The Stand by Stephen King

    It's not a "gory" horror story, but rather a story basically about how we destroy ourselves and then good vs evil...

    It kinda scares me because "The Plague" portion is something I can see happening to us someday...

    I love all his books and am working on a collection of his first editions!
     
  14. RBark

    RBark Got Floof?

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    961
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    What, you didn't like the 350 page long speech that John Galt gave near the end? Lol.

    I skipped that whole speech lol.
     
  15. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    8,893
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 Pit bulls and 2 Malinois, We like to stay busy.
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    1984 by George Orwell
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
    The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    And on... and on... I haven't read all of these but they're all on my must read list.
     
  16. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,234
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Not just questions, but historically it's been the major piece of literature in most European's lives for the past two thousand years. Agree with it or not, there is so much history that happened around it, and involving people heavily influenced by it (not just talking about the bad stuff, things like the guys who wrote the American constitution too), that it's difficult to grasp fully where they're coming from without having read it yourself.
     
  17. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    Messages:
    6,601
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Professional Illustrator
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Home Page:
    Stranger in a Strange Land is indeed a must-read. I'm not a fan of most of Heinlein's works, but that one changed me.

    I have more I want to list... when I have time. :p
     
  18. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    5,074
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, and 1 horse
    Location:
    A hole in the bottom of the sea.
    I think that exposing yourself to holy books if any kind is a good idea. It's not about what you do or do not believe, but looking at the world from a different perspective and learning about the faiths that influence millions.
     
  19. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    15,346
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Agreed...the Bible is DEFINITELY a thought-provoking and life-altering book, whether or not you've read it or believe in it, it still very much affects your day to day life. You might as well read and see how and (try to figure out) why.

    And I don't want to sound like a jerk here...but did a John Green book REALLY change anyone's life? I've never read anything by him, so I don't know, but what I hear from people who have read his stuff, his books are terribly captivating and emotional, but nothing world-altering. So I'm curious, do you guys just really like his books and find them very touching, or did they actually alter the way you live your life or look at the world?!?

    My list:

    Fight Club - Chuck Palahnuik. Aside from the obvious - opening your eyes to consumerism and capitalism and a whole book about looking at our society in another light and so on...this was the first book I read where I could really relate to the characters (and trust me, that's NOT a good thing). I'm still trying to figure out why people glamorize Marla Singer so much. I've written I believe four college papers on different aspects of Fight Club.

    On The Road - Jack Kerouac. It definitely glorifies a less-than-glorious lifestyle, but it really made me think about the way I live and youth, being tied down, taking huge risks, minimal living, and living in the moment.

    Hardcore Zen - Brad Warner. I was already a Buddhist when I started this, but it just clarified some of the concepts I try to use in day to day life.

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - if you eat food in America, read this. It's not like other "disturbing" portrayals of the food industry, but instead mostly discusses the perks and reality of clean eating, locavore, etc.

    Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim - if any of you have seen Greg Araki's film version, you know this is an incredibly disturbing novel about children and sex abuse. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's also a very compelling story about the various ways people deal with trauma. As a teenager, I saw this book as the dichotomy between shutting down/isolating during depression and "living life to the fullest" in spite of it, even if that meant self-destruction and even if that "living" was really just a desperate attempt to cling on to some sensation while dealing with the numbness of depression and trauma.

    I'm sure there are lots, lots, lots more. V For Vendetta (the graphic novel), Crime and Punishment, Candide, etc. Maybe I'll elaborate on a few more later.
     
  20. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    12,548
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    As all supreme ruler of this thread LOL can we please not turn this into a debate about the bible?
    The answer is what YOU FEEL everyone should read. Everyone should feel free to say what they feel.

    I personally am not a fan of the "good book" but hey, different books speak to different people.

    ..but if anyone says twilight for any other reason than "it taught me how to spot abusive relationships". you will be given a lecture :rofl1:

    The fault in our stars did change my life. Now, his books are sometimes written off as simple fluffy YA books (and there is nothing wrong seeing them that way..they are sweet and fun and honest and sometimes very funny. But I do think the books are deeper than that and can have an effect on the lives of those who read them) the fault in our stars did change the way I think of cancer, cancer survivors/patients, etc.. and life in general.
    so I think that does count.

    IMO I think different books speak to different people. So while some see certain books as fluff or nothing special, it might speak to others in a way that truly does affect their life. Beauty of literature!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013

Share This Page