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Topic: Books That Saved Your Life

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Subject: Books That Saved Your Life
Date Posted: 10/13/2008 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2008
Posts: 120
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Anyone want to share about a book that got you through a really hard time, helped you solve a significant problem, or gave you wisdom and insight when it was most needed? One book that was significant for me was A RETURN TO LOVE by Marianne Williamson. I read it in the early 1990's and it still inspires me today.
Date Posted: 10/13/2008 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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Jane Eyre.  When my brother had cancer my mom stayed in the hospital with him almost constantly, so I didn't see her more than once or twice a month (he was 4 and I was 10).  But when she was home she would always read Jane Eyre to me before bed, it was the only way we had to stay close to each other.  It's still an all-time favorite.

Date Posted: 10/13/2008 3:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
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I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

When I was about 18/19 I was having a hard time and reading this book that I first read at about 16/17 helped me through it. It just makes me feel better and happy when I read it and it helped give my mind a break through a particularly stressful time.

Date Posted: 10/13/2008 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 1,156
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Women Who Love Too Much helped me finally notice a NICE guy.  (whom I eventually married)

When I Say No, I Feel Guilty planted a seed of assertiveness and confidence.

and books by women like Margaret Atwood and Anne Lamott.  I am thinking of that quote by Rita Mae Brown: "She broke down the four walls of my mind and left a sweet, clean, and endless prairie."


Date Posted: 10/14/2008 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2007
Posts: 12,382
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While living with another family who generously opened their home to us when we suddenly had nowhere to live (and the man of the house turned out to be pretty creepy), I read the book "Villette" by Charlotte Bronte. The French words added here and there in it didn't deter me and it was a good escape, especially as we found ourselves going to bed earlier and earlier every night just to be away from him.

Last Edited on: 10/14/08 1:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/14/2008 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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About 12 years ago I was going through a very tough time in a relationship.  I was a member of the Literary Guild and ordered "Downtown" by Anne Rivers Siddons.  The book was fantastic and a great way to get my mind on other things for a while.  Also made me realize there are/were much bigger issues going on in the world than my relationship problems! 

Most books at that time were lifesavers for me, helped me get away for a while, but I remember "Downtown"  the most.  It's my favorite by ARS.

Date Posted: 10/14/2008 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 1,518
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Any book is a lifesaver for me. Books in general just help me to take my mind of other things and helps me to keep my sanity.

Date Posted: 10/14/2008 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 9/4/2008
Posts: 92
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"The Memory of Running" by Ron McLarty. 


My mother had just died tragically and unexpectedly (just like Smithy's parents)  I related to Smithy on many levels, too personal to really talk about.  Anyway, it was a really inspiring story.  He makes it back.    I needed that story.  NEEDED it.

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2008
Posts: 34
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The two books that come to my mind are:  "Codependant No more" and Men that Hate Women and Women Who Love Them."

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,536
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I went through a hard time in my late 20s with really poor health.  These books at different times got me through.  Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes, Love, Medicine, and Miracles by Bernie Siegel, Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind by Joan Borysenko, and  the McDougall Plan by Dr. John McDougall. 

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2005
Posts: 142
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I agree with Denice H. Book - Books in general have kept me sane more than once.


Date Posted: 10/18/2008 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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The Autobiography of Agatha Christie.  I read this at a time when I felt like my life was in a big rut.  It helped me look toward an interesting future.

Date Posted: 10/20/2008 11:01 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,055
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But I Didn't Want a Divorce by Andy Bustanoby really helped me deal with the end of my first marriage.

Date Posted: 10/20/2008 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2007
Posts: 17
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Embraced By The Light by Betty Jean Eadie

Date Posted: 10/20/2008 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,573
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Although I think he has been replaced by Dr. Phil, the books about family dynamics by John Bradshaw were a life saver for me in the "80's.  My mother and I caught one of his shows on PBS one Saturday afternoon and it totally changed our relationship in wonderful ways.  To this day, she calls me her best friend, the highest honor she could give me.  When we disagree and agree to disagree, I always say a little prayer of thanksgiving to Dr. Bradshaw.

Date Posted: 10/31/2008 12:41 AM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2008
Posts: 120
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I've also got a lot from John Bradshaw's books. In fact, I just re-read HOMECOMING again. I remember those PBS specials as well. They were pretty great.
Date Posted: 11/1/2008 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2008
Posts: 158
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Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead really changed my life. 

Date Posted: 11/2/2008 1:16 AM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2007
Posts: 126
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No books have ever affected me quite as much as the Harry Potter series, and I think I can safely say that none ever will. They really helped me and stayed with me a lot during my "teen years" through middle and high school. (I started reading the books at 10/11 and read the last one at 19.)
Kat (polbio) -
Subject: Books that Saved My Life
Date Posted: 11/2/2008 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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When I was in my pre-teens I was gong through a lot in life that no child should have to deal with. Richard Bach's books got me through. They gave me strength and understanding. They also made me see that there was hope ahead. It was because of his books that I am where I am today.

Date Posted: 11/7/2008 1:33 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2006
Posts: 65
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I agree with a few others.  I can't think of any one specific book, but reading in general if I can find something I really like just takes my mind away from other troubling things.  The last 2 years of my life have been extremely difficult for me to get through and reading is a nice "escape" from the problems in life.

Date Posted: 11/7/2008 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2008
Posts: 16
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For me, these last few months have been really difficult. I have been suffering through a bout of depression and it was out of desperation that I picked up a book and began to read again. I hadn't been reading for about 10 years, I'm not sure of why I stopped, but in any case; as in a lot of cases of depression, I had racing thoughts and obsessive thoughts and reading has been a way for me to break that pattern. I also learn something from every book I read, even if it is just a fluffy romance novel. I have been able to look at how the characters deal with their issues, or don't deal with their issues and walk away with a sense of...hmm, don't know how to put it into words. well, suffice it to say, no matter the book, I take a lesson away from each one.
Date Posted: 11/15/2008 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2008
Posts: 15
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The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom is my favorite for reading when I think the world is out of hand and life is impossible.  We don't know impossible the way she did, and came through so gracefully.

As for books that changed my life: What the Bible Has to Say About Healthy Living.  Before I read it I was drinking 5-10 cans of pop a day and no water, living off canned food and being generally unhealthy.  After reading it I made small steps to change my diet ... then more small steps.  I lost ten pounds, got healthy for the first time in my life, and eventually went on to get a degree in holistic nutrition.  Three cheers to the friend who first loaned the book to me!

Date Posted: 11/15/2008 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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My son was diagnosed with a dual diagnosis...mental illness and addictions.  There were several books that helped me.... 1) I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb.  This book helped me get therapy for myself, which probably saved all my important relationships and eliminate those which were toxic,  2)  Beautiful Boy by David Sheff.  WOW!  Talk about codependence, and 3) Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency, both by Melody Beattie. 

Kat (polbio) -
Subject: The Hiding PLace
Date Posted: 11/17/2008 8:07 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I got the Hiding PLace in a box of books from ebay, but I havnt read it yet. I will have to move it up on my TBR

Date Posted: 11/17/2008 12:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2008
Posts: 541
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 In the mid 90's I probably had the beginnings of undiagnosed thyroid cancer.  In me, the main symptom was depression.  Serious, suicidal depression.

Don't remember how I got started, but I started reading Henry Rollins, especially One From None.  He taught me to be angry instead of suicidal, and taught me survival instincts that got me through until I was diagnosed.  Maybe not the best way to deal, and all the angriness seems totally foreign to me now that I don't need it.  But at the time it literally kept me from committing suicide.