A Book That Changed Our Lives

On Fridays, for the next few weeks, R.J and I will answer a short question about books.  This week’s question is about a book that changed our lives.

R.J. chose Lord of the Rings, primarily because it influenced his decision to write fantasy.  It’s a hard decision because neither of us can say that any one book changed our lives.  Reading horror taught me I wanted to write in that genre, especially after reading Pet Cemetery.   Lonesome Dove taught me that I could actually cry hysterically while reading.  Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austin taught me to love classic literature.  But one book that changed our lives?  How could one book change our lives when each book provides a little something that affects us in both positive and negative ways.  And so this quote somehow seems appropriate for today’s question.

“It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the “parlour families” today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios and televisors, but are not. No, no, it’s not books at all you’re looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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