The Books That Changed Our Lives – Jess’s Edition + GIVEAWAY

Guest posting today is Jessica Bade of The New 20-Something.  Thanks for joining us!!

What constitutes a favorite book? I’ve been thinking about this question ever since Kim came to me with the challenge of writing this post. It has been such a challenge because it is extremely difficult for me to pick out a favorite book just as it is to pick out a favorite song, movie or food. Just as I always do when charged with a challenge that seems too big for me to grasp, I break it down to the root question; what constitutes a favorite book?

By this point, you are probably thinking that I am a little flaky and indecisive. How can she not even narrow it down to two or three choices? Well, frankly, choosing two or three would be like picking out just two or three of my all-time best friends. Don’t worry; I narrowed down the process a little by thinking about what makes a book one of my favorites…in bullet point list form!!!

  • It is a book that I wish I had written myself, but know that I could have never even thought to write because I had never looked at the world in that way before I experienced it through this book.
  • I want to read it over and over again…and I do…and every time it is a little bit different.
  • I think about this book constantly. While I am reading it, I am finding myself ducking into closets at work just to read a chapter. When I am not reading it I am thinking about the characters and thinking about what they should do and what is going to happen.
  • When I have finished reading this book, I want to be a better person. I want to laugh more, I want to hug my parents, I want to go on a trip to Europe, I want to start a revolution, and I want to realize my hopes and dreams. After reading a great book, it feels like you just got back from a great vacation because, in the end, a good book takes you out of your living room (or utility closet) and transports you someplace else.
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Some of my favorite authors have managed to do some or all of these things for me extremely well. Chuck Klosterman brings me inside his rental car as he drives across country in search of truth about himself and the world around him in “Killing Yourself to Live.” Mitch Album brought me into the home of a dying Morrie in “Tuesdays With Morrie “ to listen in on a lifetime of advice from a man who has lived a lifetime. I connected with women a world away in Khalid’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and realized my inner feminist and patriot. Chuck Palahniuk introduced me to countless flawed characters, who despite their flaws are searching for something essential that is missing in their lives, whether it be beauty, love, companionship, or a good swift kick in the teeth. Most notably Chuck and I have explored the power of beauty with the Queen Supreme Princes Brandy Alexander in “Invisible Monster.”   I’ve sat in traffic just to feel a part of society with Victor Mancini in “Choke,” and listened in as a former cult member crashed an airplane in “Survivor.” Not to mention the time I took a peek into the opulent roaring 20’s and experienced the poison that can be vanity in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.

Just as every person I have ever met in my life has played some (even a minimal part) in who I am and what I hold dear to my heart, every book has done the same. I could never say that just one person changed my life and helped me to get where I am. I could never say that just one book has changed my life for the better or the worse. It is a combination of all of the lessons each book teaches me that adds a little piece to the puzzle that is who I am.

GIVEAWAY- One lucky winner will be given a copy of Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman.  Leave a comment below of your favorite journey a book has taken you on.  Comments will be accepted through Wednesday March 30th at midnight.  Winners will be picked at random and announced Thursday March 31st.  Giveaway open to US & Canadian residents only. 

6 thoughts on “The Books That Changed Our Lives – Jess’s Edition + GIVEAWAY

  1. I’ve never heard of this book, but it sounds good. As for a journey a book has taken me on… I’m going to be very literal about this. I read the Misty of Chincoteague books as a child and always wanted to see the wild ponies of Chincoteague, so I HAD to go. And my parents took me. Then I went through a dark time in my life several years ago and I went back again. And again and again. The book led me there and now it’s my heart’s home. I’m just banished to silly civilization the rest of the time.

    Amy // artsyrockerchick at aim dot com

  2. I’m so glad we read Killing yourself to live for our book club last year, definitely a life changing book. Very nice post Jess.

  3. Pingback: The Books That Changed Our Lives – GIVEAWAYS!!! « Reflections of a Book Addict

  4. A book that took me on a journey (almost literally) would have to be the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. As I was growing up, my grandma took us on yearly trips through the United States, anywhere within driving distance. These travels took us from Yellowstone in Wyoming to the Grand Canyon to places you wouldn’t think to be exciting like Illinois or South Dakota. My grandma always found amazing things to visit, see and learn about on the way to these places and I don’t think I’d be the same person I am without them. The trip that really got me started on my path as a bookworm and traveler would be the one she took me on the summer I turned 8. I wasn’t quite old enough to be going for weeks, so we headed to St. Louis, stopping all over Missouri along the way. I just happened to have started reading Tom Sawyer as we left home and the rest of the trip just completely blew me away. We stopped in Hannibal, Missouri the town that inspired the fictional “St. Petersberg” setting in the book. I got to tour the cave that Injun Joe’s treasure was in, saw the houses and streets described in the story and my childhood boy’s mind was just entranced. I’ll never forget that experience and I’ve been addicted to reading and traveling ever since. I’m currently reading the first volume of Twain’s autobiography and it brings me back to that amazing trip with each page. I can’t get enough of Twain’s humor, which still leaves me laughing out loud even though the writing is 100 years old. Anyway, I’m rambling, I hope this adequately can explain the journey that book took me on.

  5. Great post Jess. I wanted to answer this as well, but coincidentally, I had the same problem you did. I had a really hard time narrowing it down. I was able to narrow it down to 2-3 though. Killing Yourself to Live (which you showed me coincidentally) was one of them, but for the sake of arguement I won’t use it.

    If I had to pick one book’s journey though, I would have to say Animal Farm by George Orwell. I first read it in middle school, a some 50+ years after it was first published. I have always been interested in social dynamics and what makes people “go”. In Animal Farm, you see the animals rebel from their human masters and form their own society based on what they believe to be an equal social structure. Through the books the pigs take control and turned greedy and power hungry. The book at an early age, showed me that even 50 years later our society still had the same problems with corruption and the people at the top taking care of their own needs, as the pigs did in the book. Orwell wrote the book more as a response to communism but I saw the broader concepts in social dynamics. So I’d have to pick the journey that Animal Farm took me on because looking back the themes that I enjoyed in the book, turned out to be concepts that I explore in college years later.

  6. Great post Jessica, it was wonderful reading your description of how this book made you feel. Also, it was wonderful to have you mention amazing authors (my favorites, as well) such as Chuck Palahniuk Khaled Hosseini and Mitch Albom.

    A book, very close to my heart, that took me on an amazing journey, albeit a spiritual journey, was Elif Shafak’s “Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi.” The novel takes the reader back into time, into the lives of Sufis and mystics such as Rumi and Shams Tabrezi – and the author writes about their lives with such subtle passion, that it makes you feel like you’re breathing in their presence. It is an entirely awe-inspiring experience, that left me breathless and craving for more. Full of wisdom deduced by the age old mystics and Sufis, on life, love and friendship – this book felt like a blessing.

    Thank you for the guest-blog, Jess, and a warm thank you to Kimberly for hosting this giveaway on her wonderful blog! Good luck, everyone.

    Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

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