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Topic: I'm a better person for reading....

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Subject: I'm a better person for reading....
Date Posted: 6/23/2009 12:10 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 207
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Please give me some reading ideas for books that you have read that make you go "Wow, I'm going to be a better person for reading that!"

I've moved out of the spy novels, thrillers, and cozies, to experience great literature and I need your suggestions.

Date Posted: 6/23/2009 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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Not sure I've ever had that specific reaction to reading a book, but I would say things like Jane Eyre and The Good Earth in fiction were really profoundly affecting books that stayed with me.  And a couple non-fiction classics that are like a punch to the gut: Night by Elie Weisel and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

Date Posted: 6/23/2009 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
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Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Date Posted: 6/23/2009 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin (about teenagers on death row).

Wide Awake by David Levithan (Deals with the election of the first gay, Jewish president (and the fight to overturn the election). I read it during the last presidential election and certain passages really, really struck me)
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt- don't judge this one by the cover.

ETA: I've never really had that reaction over a book, but I do think these books have made a significant impact on me.

Last Edited on: 6/23/09 10:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 2

Date Posted: 6/23/2009 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
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I have a few that have made me a better person. What is the What by Dave Eggers (I think). It changed the way I think about humanity--and about Africa. What an amazing book. Totally wish-listed, but I know why. It is probably on the keeper shelf of everyone who reads it. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Religious (Christian) overtones, but it really helped me understand the love of God better. Christy by Catherine Marshall. Taught me that ALL kids are worth knowing and serving. I knew that before, of course, but it really brought it home for me. That's all I can think of for right now. = )
Subject: Better person...
Date Posted: 6/23/2009 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2005
Posts: 30
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For me - one author has changed my life (and hopefully made me a better person)... that author is M. Scott Peck.  His earlier works were the most influential ..."The Road Less Travelled",  "People of the Lie",  "Different Drum"  "World Waiting to be Born".  I cannot do justice to his works in a few lines - so I won't even try. 

He's not the easiest to read, but he's far from those dry, academic authors.





Date Posted: 6/23/2009 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2005
Posts: 271
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Last Edited on: 11/16/12 9:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: You all are great!
Date Posted: 6/23/2009 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 207
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Thanks for referring me to books I would have otherwise never known about.  If you think of anything else, just add to this post. Sarah

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 11:57 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,872
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It ain't fiction, but I can honestly say that reading Studs Terkel's WORKING is a life-changing experience

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I also want to add Uncle Tom's Children by Richard Wright. It's short fiction dealing with Jim Crow era American South. I think everyone should read it to fully understand how destructive institutionalized racism was (and is) in America. It's a disturbing book about a disturbing part of American history. I had to read it for a class, and at times I didn't think I could read the next story. It was heartbreaking.
Date Posted: 6/24/2009 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 926
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Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals - it's a memoir written by one of the Little Rock Nine.

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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For me it would be the following books:  (1) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; (2) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; (3) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini; (4) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; (5) The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy; (6) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith; (7) Christy by Catherine Marshall.

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2005
Posts: 810
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Classics that I felt helped expand my mind:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

non-fiction that reallyn opened my eyes:

The Children by David Halberstam

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2007
Posts: 62
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If you have a lot of time on your hands to read a great classic, I would suggest Les Misérables  which is the novel by French author Victor Hugo for which  the musical is based . It is very long but not hard to read and worth the trouble. I have never read anyone who can beat the way Victor Hugo describes people, places and things.    



Last Edited on: 6/25/09 12:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/24/2009 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I know for a fact that Anne of Green Gables and Jo's Boys (a sequel to Little Women) profoundly shaped who I am today. Reading them at age 10 or 11, Anne made me embrace fully my imagination and my admiration of beauty in every form, while Jo's Boys embedded my pacifist philosophy deep, deep down.

Date Posted: 7/2/2009 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2009
Posts: 36
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These are the the books that made me go "wow, I'm going to try to be a better person." 1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy 6. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams 7. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller 8. Crime and Punishment by Doestyevsky 9. Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey 10. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Last Edited on: 7/2/09 1:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/2/2009 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2006
Posts: 4
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The last book I read truly makes me want to be a better person! I recommend this book to everyone.

Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

Date Posted: 7/2/2009 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2005
Posts: 642
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To Kill a Mockingbird

The Cancer Ward

Maya Angelou's books and poetry

Motoring with Mohammed

Anne of Green Gables

West (EAST?) With the Sun

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Charles Dickens

Last Edited on: 7/2/09 2:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Life Changing Book
Date Posted: 7/10/2009 2:05 AM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2007
Posts: 46
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I have to agree with you about "The Same Kind of Different As Me"!!!  Truly an incredible and emotional book!  I LOVED it!

Subject: Great books
Date Posted: 7/10/2009 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/8/2009
Posts: 10
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Try "The Book Thief" Very unusual style that takes some getting used to but well written and fascinating. (Don't know why this is listed as a young adult book--it deals with very serious issues.)


And also "She Flew the Coop"--very , very rich book.


Good luick--Therese

Subject: I'm a better person for reading...
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 11
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...How To Win Friends and Influence People.

It's a classic. I'm actually in the process of reading it for the first time, and it's one of those books you just wish you had read many years ago.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I have to second Ishmael and To Kill A Mockingbird. I would add Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and 5 People YOu Meet in Heaven by Mitch Album.

Daniel Quinn who wrote Ishmael also wrote a few other books which are good as well. My Ishmael is part two of Ishmael and is pretty good.

Date Posted: 7/29/2009 1:15 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 8,411
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My pick is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  Hands down!

Date Posted: 7/29/2009 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2007
Posts: 5
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The Power of One

I read it many years ago, but have no desire to see the movie.

Date Posted: 7/29/2009 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
Posts: 186
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The two most life-changing books that I've read are A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (this book is WAY better than his others, btw). Also, The End of the Affair my Graham Greene. I've read that book more than any other. Once you've read it, watch the movie version. It's so great.