Updated: Feb 20, 2021
So I’ve read a lot of books in my life. But certain ones have had an impact on my tastes and understanding of the world
Here are my “ This thing changed me” books and the circumstances as to how I felt about them
SPOILERS AHEAD SPOILERS AHEAD
By, Fred Gipson
When I was in the fifth grade, I had a bizarre fifth grade teacher, we will call her Mrs. Stick. She was bad at teaching, but I was great at learning and because of that she loved me
I’ve read books and written essays and memorized words for fun and I loved class.
Because of that I was considered a teachers pet. everyone got sick of it, including me.
She would always use me as an example to other kids, and I feel bad now thinking how my classmates must’ve felt when the teacher would hold up my grades like she was gonna frame them. Even my bad grades she would wave as though I had shamed her.
She also gave intense amount of work
I mean I was assigned to a single spaced essay on George W. Bush. I did it, but it went easier because as I learned more about him and researched him at ten years old, I decided I hated that president.
Thing is it’s easy to write when it’s backed by emotion and my essay ended up being powerful and once again it was held above the other students.
I actually felt proud, I’d worked hard on it.
She was mean to everyone but she was nice to me.
Since I loved reading, everytime we were assigned a book to read i would read it ahead of the class. But it wasn’t like that with one book she assigned. There was one book I read what I was supposed to and not ahead of.
That was the book “ Old Yeller”
I was loving it
Each day we’d discuss the chapter we’d been assigned to the night before to read. My other classmates were getting into it, too.
It was like we were learning for ourselves.
Then came the end
It was the night we were to read the chapter before the last bit. I was reading it and I was shocked. When I finished the amount I was supposed to read, I broke my promise. I’d promised myself to not read ahead because I enjoyed the discussions during class
But dread filled me and filled me more as I read the last bit ahead of my classmates, and it was like an emotional kick in the gut.
The next day came, and the class was quiet. They started discussing different happy endings that could happen and everyone was filled with doubt and confusion
So when everyone was speculating, I couldn’t take it.
I started To bawl, I hadn’t cried this bad from a book Yet.
I was so broken about it.
I had had people in my life die
Old Yeller was my introduction to questioning death, especially of a pet. It hit a chord in me and I lost it.
Soon the day was over and so were my tears
I became a little numb from it, and even the numbness from them sits with me today when I think about the book. It reminds me how this book changed me.
It changed me because it hurt
“The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane”
By, Kate DiCamillo
In the fourth grade I had an amazing teacher, we will call her Mrs. Shawl. She was amazing and she would read books aloud to us all the time. She treated us like adults and all as equals. One book she read was called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It was about a beautiful porcelain bunny. He gets lost and on his journey he learns what love is, and the depth of love is deep whether you deny it or not. This book sent me on a roller coaster. It started something in me as a child, a belief. A belief that toys could understand you, also any object. I was nine at the time, and I was still a kid.
I would talk to my toys and dolls
I talked to inanimate objects
I’d apologize to a door if I slammed it too hard. I would ask the microwave to be careful. In my head everything had feelings and everything was aware
Now, I’m not like this anymore
The idea as a kid and imagining it?
It was actually fun
It got my creative juices flowing like water.
That’s when I started enjoying writing
I wrote stories and all my ideas in a book I called my Idea book. I’d wanted to build a water park for myself.
I know objects don’t have feelings
it jumpstarted my passion for stories and fiction and nonfiction but not just to read or be read to in class.
I could be the one with the pen in my hand.
For all I knew, maybe I would build a water park, or fly, or move objects with my mind
This book lit the match
The fire of passion and creativity to this day, still burns within me
“The Diary of Anne Frank”
When I was nine I started reading a lot, as mrs shawl would read to us she would treat us with respect to our intelligence even though we were kids. To her we weren’t “ just kids” we were students, her students, and she held the power to teach us. She had respect for the fact that we would learn even outside the classroom and in different ways as well.
I felt that respect
The day I got the book catalog from school I ordered an adult book. It was “ The diary of Anne Frank” and I was so happy I got it
When it arrived I read it in three days
What stood out for me though, wasn’t really just the content. It was the picture on the cover. As I read on, I kept flipping to the cover. This was a kid like me! What’s going on? She sounds like an adult! She’s so smart too!
The horrors of that book made me confused
Each time a conflict was there I’d flip to the cover. Her story was just... wow.
I was old enough to realize as I read on, that Anne Frank didn’t make it out of the house
In fact, when I started to read it I went in with that knowledge.
I learned from that book, that even if you don’t make it in the end, you can have a legacy. You can respect people for themselves even if they are not here anymore, and learn from the pain.
I didn’t cry as I would now, as I didn’t quite understand the concept of death or the Holocaust, the horrors i realize are in it now are impossible to grasp. But, This book taught me the idea of respect for everyone
I saw that photo and my heart broke
This girl is gotten to know so well and respected is gone
I learned from this, about the life and wonderful person that is the great Anne Frank. Her legacy is not lost on me
By, Tiffany D Jackson
This book I read recently. See, sometimes when I read a book I read the last page first. I want to know what happens
Often times knowing the endings of books was what got me to read them in the first place.
This book felt personal. I felt the pain the characters felt the conditions the girl Mary was going through. The pain of a crime she didn’t do.
I read the last page only and I was happy to see it all worked out
That is until I got to the page before the last
The character Mary was the narrator, and you root for her to absolve her of her criminal history she didn’t have.
Or so you think
I was hoping that then end worked well
And when I read and figured out she was lying to us the entire time and did the crime and was manipulative even to us readers, I was shocked
This novel changed me and the way I read, because even when you think you know everything, looking at the end had the potential to be not what it seems
It shocked me
The lesson was strong weighing me
Don’t believe everything you read
“Of mice and men”
By, John Steinbeck
I can’t describe to you the emotion I have with this book. I cry every time
The way everything is written helped me change as a writer.
There are so many examples of literary elements and precision, like we were learning in school. I didn’t just love the content the way it was written is stunning. You see the sadness first hand, but you appreciate the artistry as well. Through my tears, I nod my head to John Steinbeck, and I say “ Well Done”
“The great Gatsby”
By, F. Scott Fitzgerald
When I was going into eleventh grade I had to complete summer projects for AP English
I had all of them done and ready even my AP Italian project and my AP US history project. I had one book report for AP English done. The second one was to read annotate and write an essay on The Great Gatsby.
I needed it to be perfect
Everything had to be perfect
I spent all summer doing and re doing this project for Gatsby. I deleted tore up re wrote and cried.
I put my family through hell with this.. obsession of mine with this project.
Thing is, my mental illness was already hitting its peak. I wasn’t officially diagnosed yet, but not knowing what it’s called doesn’t erase the symptoms.
when it came to the first day of junior year, I had a breakdown
All that obsession and work went for nothing because I didn’t return to high school. I finished school in different place.
I can never read the Great Gatsby
without that old dread and OCD like obsession. In a way, it was the book that broke me. On the other hand...
It’s one of my favorite books of all time. I loved it. I really did and still do. It’s just sometimes you read a book and what was going on in your life at the time you remember when you pick it up again
Like a song
Despite my passion for it, ( and for the brilliance of F. Scott Fitzgerald, his other works are amazing)
I’ll never read Gatsby again
By, Gregory Maguire
I love musicals. I love theater and drama and I really loved it in high school. There was one my friends loved but I never saw, and that was “ Wicked”.
One day I was in the bookstore, and I picked it up, decided to read the original content.
The first three pages I shut the book.
What is this? This isn’t like the song “ Popular” from the musical?
I went to school the next day
I went to my friends and asked them what the beginning of the musical was, because if it begins with what the books beginning in, then they probably had to have a whole musical number about Elphaba being born and castrated at birth.
I was looked at as the weird one
I finished wicked the novel and I loved it
I don’t think the author was sick
I think whoever read it the first few pages and thought, “who ever wrote this musical must’ve read a different book than me”
( but I’m also a sucker for the songs, like “ Defying Gravity” and I adore Idina Menzel)