So I first thought about this when I read a post by Mia Freedman here about how much she adored this book:
The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood. It changed her life.
Huh? The only way it changed my life was that it took the place of the worst christmas present I've ever bought for anyone, particularly my beloved sister in law, Rachel. She was so polite. I kept asking her about it, I was so keen to read it after she'd finished. It had all these interviews with fabulous women about balancing their different arts and child rearing. I thought it would be great. TOTALLY depressing. Mostly all about the impossibility of balance. How if you want to do anything creative DO IT BEFORE YOU HAVE KIDS. Or after they leave home. EXCELLENT christmas gift for someone with a two month old.
I love Mia Freedman. Maybe I could send her a book that might really change her life.
This one, my favourite of all time, a children's book of course:
The Little Bookroom. The sweetest set of stories ever written. I was given this book when I was about 8 years old and have loved it ever since. It was out of print, impossible to get, and I looked for it again just recently on Amazon for a friend and found it's available. I should buy another copy, mine is a paperback that I left out in the rain when I was 10 and it's held together by elastic bands. You can actually click here for a reproduction of the first two stories in Google Books!
It's a big call, right. Books that change your life. I'd like to hear yours.
I have old favourites, mostly met in childhood, the Narnia series, Anne of Green Gables, anything by Sharon Penman.
I have perennial favourites, Middlemarch by George Eliot, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons and things I've read in the last couple of years that were brilliant, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall. Mostly I forget. I read about a novel a week and I've probably read about 20 this year and I can barely remember the last five until they come up in conversation.
Any books that actually changed my life? I can think of things I was reading at critical points in my life, Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson, The Passion by Jeanette Winterson… but I haven't read any JW since about 1995. What about you? BIG books in your life?