mountains of books

10 Books that Changed Me

Justin (groom of the wedding I recently attended) asked me to list 10 books that changed me. I'm just going to list whatever the first ten I think of are to simplify matters.
Jane Eyre
Probably my favourite book of all time. I love the plot, the romance, the wistfulness, and Jane's faith despite how other people of faith treated her. A shocking exposé of the horrors of Calvinist thinking and a testament to doing things the right way, even when it costs.
The Count of Monte Cristo
This is cheating a little, because I first encountered this story as a movie, but the book is a far more poignant look at why exactly it is that revenge will not make you happy.
Speaker for the Dead
I read this just after the deaths of my Uncle and Grandpa, whose unsavoury characters made their passing a tough time in different ways than the death of someone you really loved does. It's an incredible philosophic discussion of remembrance, family, and truth.
Amusing Ourselves to Death
One of two non-fiction books to make this list, this book really did make me rethink entertainment, argue for my decision to quit the news, and oddly and antithetically it also helped me come to peace with my love for TV and not see it as a waste of time anymore.
The Happiness Project
The second non-fiction book that deserves a place on this list is Gretchen Rubin's personal masterpiece, her treatise of research on happiness and how to foster it in your life, what great people have said about it, and what science says about it. Well worth the read to begin with, but I read it just before I started my first hardcore Sabbatical back in 2012. It helped me to sort through a lot of things that mattered.
The Hobbit
The first piece of straight-up fantasy I'd ever read. Hooked on fantastical worlds ever since. I actually still remember reading the first chapter outside in our backyard.
The Left Hand of Darkness
A fascinating fantasy about opportunity cost, encountering new cultures, gender, and why we shouldn't know the future. I read this book with absolutely perfect timing, even though like some of the other books on this list, it was required reading for a course.
Anne of Green Gables (The whole series, but I think House of Dreams is my favourite.)
The most wonderful portrayal in fiction of a person I wish I knew in real life, a time that really does seem simpler, and the idea of a kindred spirit. All these things, combined with the beautiful portrayal of adoption that kindled in me a desire to adopt myself, make this book, and this series, one of my best loved stories of all time.
Dust by Arthur Slade
The only horror story I have ever loved, Dust is an incredible story that sends shivers down your spine and makes you never want to run away. By a local author that I've had a chance to work with at workshops, and winner of several awards, this book has a personal place in my life too. Every time I get someone to read it, they get super addicted. The thing is, I can't say much about it without spoilers, so… read it yourself.
Ruth from the Bible
My favourite romance - a hardworking, loyal, adventurous woman takes a risk and finds love in an unexpected way.
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