I need to go to the bookstore! I’m out of informational books to read. So, when I am stuck in a place like this, I turn to the DIY MFA website to read articles to learn me some knowledge (and possibly find suggestions on more books to buy!).
As I perused through several pages of advice, interviews, tips and tricks, and the like, I came across a prompt. “What is one book that changed your life?” I spent some time thinking about it, and it’s been a little difficult for me to nail down just one book in particular. I feel like there were a few stages in my life where a book made a dramatic difference for me.
- Sort of Forever by Sally Warner
I read this book when I was probably eight or nine years old. I’d started devouring chapter books around this age, any that I could get my hands on, but this book made me slow down a little. This book made me cry. I hadn’t realized that books would have the power to do that to me. I was used to reading about adventures and fun things. But this book was different. I couldn’t put it down, I read it in just a few hours. I cried. Then I read it again. Then I went and told my mom that it had made me cry. She gave me a hug and told me it would be okay. But it wasn’t okay. Twenty years later, I strive to have that effect on a reader.
2. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I have lost count of how many times I read this book. It transported me to a different place. I’d never been so fully engrossed in a book before I read this. This was the book that taught me to block out all outside distractions and become one with the story. The characters played out the action before my eyes in such a way that I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to be able to do this.
3. In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
THIS BOOK. This book is fully responsible for getting me to where I thought I could actually be a writer. I read this book in seventh grade. At the time, I’d started writing several stories but hadn’t finished a single one. After I read this book, I wrote a completed first draft in three months. The author was only thirteen when she wrote this book, and that inspired me to become a “real writer.” I’d mostly been doing it for fun or the amusement of my classmates, but when I realized it was possible to be an author at such a young age, I ran with it. After reading this book, it was like something in my brain unlocked and the stories just came pouring out of me. And I never looked back.
There were several other books I love, love, loved as a younger reader, but these would definitely have to be the top three. They took me places, they made me feel things, and they showed me that it was possible for me to do the same thing if I put my mind to it. I don’t know what I would be doing with myself otherwise.