WHEN BOOKS COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE: WHY WHAT WE READ AT 12 MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT READING WE DO
A girl I once caught reading Fahrenheit 451 over my shoulder on the subway confessed: “You know, I’m an English lit major, but I’ve never loved any books like the ones I loved when I was 12 years old.” I fell slightly in love with her when she said that. It was so frank and uncool, and undeniably true.
Let’s all admit it: We never got over those first loves. Listen to the difference in the voices of any groups of well-read, overeducated people discussing contemporary fiction, or the greatest books they’ve ever read, and the voices of those same people, only two drinks later, talking about the books they loved as kids. The Betsy Tacy Books! I loved those books! The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet! I can’t believe you know that! The Little House on the Prairie books! Oh, my God–did you read The Long Winter? So good. Hey–does anyone else remember The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree?
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After reading this article I have to say my sentiments are similar. Growing up, there were many books that changed my perspective about the world, that touched serious issues and allowed me to grow by reading them. One in particular, Animal Farm, the book that I had to write three book reports on, three years in a row. By the time the third year came around I never wanted to see the book again, but because i ‘studied’ it so much, it remains till this day, one of my favorite world-altering books. Lord of the Flies is another that comes to mind. It tops my list as an all time favorite. Who can forget coming of age novels by Judy Blume, or science fiction novels like Ray Bradbury’s A Martian Chronicles that really made you think about society. What do young readers have today that they consider the best books they’ve ever read? The Twilight Series? Sure it a fun read, but what does it really teach you? How will it affect it’s readers? Being in love is an obsessive journey filled with possessiveness and danger? How do you feel about all this? Tell us your thoughts.