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5 Books That Changed My Life

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling This series holds a very special place in my heart, not only because it was the first book series that I ever read, but also because Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the book that turned me on to reading. Before Harry Potter, I absolutely despised books and couldn’t understand why people enjoyed reading. I had tried other books, but none of them grabbed my attention (side note: I had a very short attention span as a child). Then one day, while at my elementary school library, I saw a lone copy of HPandtheSS sitting on one of the shelves and decided to pick it up and give it a try because all of my friends couldn’t stop talking about it. And I was hooked. Instantly. I finally understood why everyone made such a fuss about reading, and to this day I thank Harry Potter for saving me from a dull life void of magical worlds and amazing characters.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee This book will forever remind me of my father. Why, you ask? Because my dad practically forced this book on me, stating that it was one of the best books I’d ever read. He told me about how he’d read it in high school and it became one of his favorites, and that I needed to read it (he let me know that I’d probably be reading it for school, so I might as well get it over with). After putting it off for a couple years, I finally read it one summer when I was in high school. And guess what? My dad was right. It was amazing. I felt like I grew up while reading that book, right alongside Jem and Scout. Atticus Finch taught me valuable lessons, and Boo Radley became my hero. I can’t wait to share this book with my future children someday, just like my dad shared it with me.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky This book…oh, this book. Perks was the first book that I read that was like a “grown up” book (keep in mind, I first read this when I was like 15). It dealt with some serious issues, which was a far cry from the angsty teen summer romance books I had been reading. A friend recommended this to me and I decided to read it because I thought it’d fit perfectly with the indie/scene kid style I was sadly rocking sophomore year (hey, don’t judge). This was one of those books that I judged by it’s cover, and then ended up loving it for completely different reasons. This book had depth. It had characters that were real, that had real problems…characters that were my age and trying to figure out life just like I was. It also had some fantastically quotable moments, and an ending that backhanded the crap out of my mind. When someone asks me for a book recommendation, this is usually the first book I suggest.

Abarat by Clive Barker If you’re a horror movie buff, you probably know that Clive Barker is the creator of Hellraiser. He’s also an incredible author, and an amazing artist. Abarat was the first book of his that I ever read, and instantly became one of my favorites. The world and characters that he has created in this book series are right up there with some of the greats, like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. As soon as I picked up this book, I knew it was something special. The pages are filled with Clive’s original artwork, all created for this story. The characters are unique and crazy, but you instantly feel a connection to them (like Candy Quackenbush from Chickentown, or John Mischief and his seven brothers that live on the horns on his head). Every time I read this book, I feel like I’m in a dream. It’s one of those books that so completely transports you to another world. I love reading this book because every time, I feel like I get to go to Abarat and I always come back inspired.

I’d love to know what books have had an impact in your life. What are some of your all-time favorites? xo, Mandy

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