How Books Can Change a Person

Inspired by Mari at CreateWriteNow:

Journaling Ideas: What Books Have Changed You?

Timing has a lot to do with which books resonate with you at different points in your life. Think back to the books you read when you were growing up; which book made the strongest impression on you during your childhood or adolescence? Write it at the top of a page in your personal journal and use these questions to jog your memory:

1. What is the book about? Is it fiction or non-fiction? Is it funny, thrilling, sad, mysterious?

The Hobbit” is about a small young man who gets dragged off from his comfortable life into the most amazing adventure, one that he could not possibly imagine. I remember being struck by the epic scale of the world Bilbo Baggins was traveling.

2. What did you like most about it? What characters, themes or topics did you relate to when you read it?

My family were great summer campers, in tents and for a while in a pop-up camper, so I had an idea of what it was like to hike through the woods and camp under the sky, cooking your food over a fire and shivering in the rain. I could see in my mind’s -eye the vistas and landscapes that Tolkien described so vividly. It was like I was right there with Bilbo and the dwarves.

3. Have you read the book multiple times? Have you read it as an adult? How do you think your perception of it has changed over the years? Is it an outdated story now, or does it still ring true today?

I would say that I have read this book at least twenty times since that first exposure at nine years old. My perception has not changed so much, as it has changed me. I am always taken back to the first time, the suspense and anticipation. I love to take it with me on camping trips and hikes now, just stop and sit somewhere with a brilliant view, open the book any where and start to read.

4. What emotions do you remember experiencing when you read it for the first time? Did it change your perceptions or perspective in any way?

I would say that Tolkien is partly responsible for why I gained a lust for the outdoors. This is also where I first encountered a serious exploration of the role of heroes and epic villains.

5. What long-term influence did the book have on you?

This book, and the conclusion, “The Lord of the Rings” had a major influence on my choices for reading in the future. There have been many imitators, but few rivals. This book and the others like it embedded in me a sense of honor and displayed amazing examples of role-models for my own development and behavior.

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