Whether you enjoy reading for its academic value or for pleasure, you cannot deny its vital importance. Reading has played a critical role in my personal development, and without it, receiving a college acceptance letter would have been impossible.
Without further ado, here are five books that changed my life:
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I was 12 years old when I read this book. I remember being thrilled with the action and intrigued by the plot. This was the first book I read since Harry Potter, and I was definitely satisfied.
Although not as good Harry Potter, The Hobbit grasps the concept of modern fantasy better than any other. It is, you could say, the grandfather of modern fantasy. Without it, the genre would not be what it is today.
- Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
This one is an autobiography. Washington grew up during the reconstruction period (post-Civil War), an extremely difficult time for black people. In the book, Washington describes his trials growing up, his yearning for an education, and his glorious redemption as a successful man.
I consider Washington a historical hero. He not only helped black people obtain quality educations, but he instilled in the hearts of thousands (including me) that learning never stops.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
I primarily read for pleasure and ignore the philosophical or moral messages hidden between its pages. In The Giver, however, I couldn’t help but notice the distinct underlining messages opposing abortion.
There is a scene of Jonas’s (protagonist) father injecting an infant with a killing serum. He treats the procedure normally, unknowingly destroying a life for convenience. The scene mirrors reality. The father represents a people oblivious to their actions, and the dying infant represents the millions of victims slaughtered by a silent holocaust (e.i. abortion). Jonas, who is the only person capable of understanding the concept of death, is broken by the unmindful nature of his father and the community.
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm is a great American classic filled with clever animals, idiotic farmers, and a smack in the face to Stalinist Russia.
I originally read Animal Farm for school, but after a few chapters, I read it more for enjoyment. Orwell not only brought animals to life, but he explained through representation why socialism simply can’t work.
- Wizards of the Game by David Lubar
Of the five, Wizards of the Game has impacted me the most. It’s about an eighth grader named Mercer who is obsessed with a role-playing game called ‘Wizards of the Warrior World.’ Naturally, his game contains fantasy elements (e.i. magic) which causes uneasiness between Mercer and a Christian named Ed.
By the end, Mercer acknowledges Ed’s beliefs, and can adequately differentiate between fantasy magic and biblical sorcery (which by the way are completely different).
I assume the majority of my readers are unfamiliar with Wizards of the Game. It isn’t as popular as Animal Farm or The Hobbit, but it has certainly impacted me the most. Growing up in the church, Harry Potter and Pokémon (or anything magic related) were considered satanic. Wizards of the Game answers the question many Christians ask: How different is fantasy magic from real, biblical witchcraft?
What do you guys think? If you were to re-create this list, what books would you include? What books have shaped your life?
I encourage comments!