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Old 01-26-2003, 08:28 PM   #1  
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Default Influential books list

I'm curious... what books have you read that have profoundly changed your life? I'm especially interested in books that helped you decide you needed to get healthy/lose weight/eat better/etc.

I read a lot - and I always read two books at a time... a fiction & a non-fiction. I am currently trying to read books that reinforce my commitment to healthful living. I will read books that wildly differ from my beliefs, so no worries about posting something you think I won't like. Doesn't matter to me, the more I read & research, the better!

So... give me a couple suggestions (maybe 3-5 total?). Tell me a book (about physical health, mental health, spiritual health, etc.) that really wow'ed you and tell me which ONE I should read if I choose only one. These don't have to be "great works of art" or anything, or even the best books in the world - I understand that sometimes things move us to change not because of the thoughts, writing, words or ideas... but because of where we are in our lives... so feel free to post anything, no matter how "silly" you think it is.

For me, I'd have to say:[list=1][*]Reclaiming Our Health: Exploding the Medical Myth and Embracing the Sources of True Healing - by John Robbins (profoundly changed my life - every woman should read this - read this one if you read only one!!!)[*]Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat - by Howard F. Lyman (I've come very close to vegetarianism because of this book... and I pretty much hate veggies & fruits, lol)[*]Think on These Things by Jiddu Krishnamurti (absolutely beautiful)[*]Life Strategies by Phil McGraw (he's so straight-talking, made me really stop feeling sorry for myself & examine my life)[*]Encounter With a Prophet by C. A. Lewis (made me realize that not all christians are narrow-minded hypocrites)[/list=1]
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Old 01-26-2003, 10:24 PM   #2  
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Hi Lunula,

There are so many, but the ones that spring immediately to mind are:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - taught me I wasn't the only young, misunderstood girl with a dream of something bigger and better

Fear of Flying by Erica Jong - women are lusty too

How to Survive the Loss of a Love - Peter McWilliams - taught me there are more important things in life than relationships - like the relationship with my self

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - ok, so other young women are petrified of not living an authentic life?

Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. Opened my eyes about spending precious life energy.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. Helped me realize it had all been a big, fat lie.

The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. How to completely ignore Madison Avenue and create your own amazing life without obsessively worrying about pay raises.

Chop Wood, Carry Water by Rick Fields. Guide to appreciating the beauty in the smallest parts of everyday life.

The Motley Fool Investment Guide by Tom and David Gardner. The step by step guide I used to build financial independence.

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller and I don't know why exactly but I remember crying at the end of it - love and romance and loss after age 30 - the tug between family ties and romantic adventure and could we someday bump into our soulmates and do we sometimes marry strictly for comfort? Do we dare believe there could be more?

How I gave up my Lowfat diet and Lost 40 pounds by Dana Carpender - a really good basic intro book to the concept of low carb eating - changed my life after 10 yrs of failing with lowfat eating plans.

I've listed these in chrono order, so the first few are probably more oriented torward very young people while the latter ones are more appropriate for the issues we face in adult life.

It would be hard for me to recommend any one over the others because they are all so different from each other, so I guess it would depend on what part of your life you are most interested in possibly looking at in a new light? relationships? weight loss? finances? spirituality?

Enjoy. Peace - barefoot terri
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Old 01-26-2003, 11:12 PM   #3  
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2 that come to mind right away are -

The Woman Who Walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle. Excellent, if slightly hard to follow book. I had no problem, but it does skip back and forth in time. It reminds me as bad as things have been, it could have always been worse.

The other is a recent one - Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner. A great look at a "big" woman, and her life. The first book I ever wanted to highlight passages in.

I have read hundereds of books, but mostly as an escape.

If I think of more I will update.

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Old 01-27-2003, 11:45 AM   #4  
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Oh, good topic!

~Diary of a Fat Housewife by Rosemary Green
~All of Covert Baily's books (the Fit or Fat series) - I need to reread them!
~Island of the Blue Dolphin - (can't think of the author) I read this in the 5th grade and I can honestly say it is the book that taught me to think of myself as being a part OF the world, not just a being living on it.

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Old 01-27-2003, 12:02 PM   #5  
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Great topic!

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates - he is an amazing writer...great short stories too, esp a collection called Eleven Kinds of Loneliness - RR is a novel about 1950s suburban married people trying to break away from what one character calls the "hopeless emptiness" of that life.

This may not count, as it is a short story but another I love is by Robert Hemenway, "The Girl Who Sang With the Beatles" - another American snapshot, circa 1964

Rabbit Run & 3 Rabbit sequels by John Updike - these people, in their Pennsylvania city, seem absolutely real & again I think these books are so unpretentiously profound about ordinary people's lives...amazing stuff I think!

The Rector's Daughter by E.M. Mayor (she is terrific, I think this was her only book - circa 1920s)

The Ballad and the Source - Rosamond Lehmann (another 1920s Englishwoman) - so beautifully written, like poetry...I love this book.

The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton (I LOVE Edith Wharton!)

& the Ruth Rendell-as-Barbara Vine books too - Dark Adapted Eye, Brimstone Weddings, Fatal Inversion, Grasshopper etc.

as far as fitness books: I really liked Make the Connection, and a book called Food Cop by Yolanda Bergman.

[Rereading this I realize that all the fiction is about the dark side of human nature and about loneliness/alienation in everyday settings...must ring a bell!! I tend not to read lots of fiction, but travel, history, biography...and I love memoirs. There is one called "Blackbird" that is terrific, can't recall the writer, a woman who grew up in the 60s and 70s surviving all kinds of terrible upheavals in her family - wonderful book!)

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Old 01-27-2003, 12:43 PM   #6  
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Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. Incredibly empowering story about a young black woman's self-discovery.
My favorite book.

And I'll second Lidian on The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton!
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Old 01-30-2003, 07:37 PM   #7  
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Default Great Topic

I've read so many great books. I also love adolescent fiction (I'm a MS teacher) and I think its fun to read. "Blue Dolphins" is by Scott o'Dell. Ialso loved "their eyes were watching god" My last name is Washburn and there is a line in there..."Those Washburns's are quality white folk". Funny.

I like

"To Kill A Mockingbird"

The Bean Trees"

A Wrinkle in Time

I like stories with the theme of quiet strength coming from unexpected sources. I like strong yet peaceful characters and I like when situations are less than ideal and yet it will be ok. I was just trying to put into words what draws me to a story. I also like weird stories...alternate places and times and things but not fantasy creatures. I like humans doing weird things.


I like "Simplify Your Life" by Elaine St. James. I still want to read "Your Money or your Life". I'm very into simplycity and living mindfully.

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Old 02-02-2003, 12:18 PM   #8  
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Terri - I would curious to read a short review of "Diary of a Fat Housewife" if you wouldn't mind sharing your thoughts on it?

Sandi - Hi! My daughter is in 7th grade and I am trying to convince her to read more adolescent fiction...... thanks for additional suggestions!

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Old 02-03-2003, 10:56 PM   #9  
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Jonathan Livingston Seagull (read when I was about 10)

A series of books by Susan Cooper about a boy in England who has magical powers and travels back and forth through time to fight the powers of darkness-also interweaves Arthurian legends through out. I read these when I was about 13 or 14 so they predate Harry Potter-still have em. I actually bought the series for my goddaughter for Christmas this year, she's 11.

You might be interested in them for your daughter Barefootgirrl.
They are "The Dark is Rising", "Greenwitch", Over Sea, Under Stone",The Grey King" and " Silver On the Tree", I found them at Chapters. Oh phoo! Now I feel like going to bed early with a cup of tea and revisiting one of these books

Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen (bought at a flea market for 50 cents when I was about 14-still have it on my shelf) got me hooked on ole Lenny's writing and music.

Ray Bradbury in general but my favorites were: "The Halloween Tree", October Country", "Farenheit 451", " The Illustrated Man", "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "Dandelion Wine".

A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiflty Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle.

1984 and Down and Out in Paris and London, both by George Orwell-still have those too.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

A lot of philosophy books, too many too mention, my Dad is a gentleman and a scholar and I read all his religious/philosophical books growing up.

Shakespeare-anything, although I preferred the dramas, my favorite is Othello.

I am sure that I will have some more for this list later
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