Sunday, February 20, 2011

Books that Changed Your Life at 16

Don't miss Nina MacLaughlin's post at Flavorwire titled "Books that Rocked Your World at 16 But Fall Flat Now." Her opening paragraph is great: "We all have a few: the books we read when we were young that altered everything. These were the world-changers, the reality-definers, the stories you died over, gushed to your friends about, pushed into the hands of boyfriends and girlfriends, urgently, sincerely. They were pivotal, inspirational, important." Don't you remember that feeling and its inevitable counterpart--disappointment when your friends didn't agree with you?

MacLaughlin returns to those books she read as a teen and now finds lacking. Then she suggests an alternative to read as an adult. She closes with The Catcher in the Rye and the fact that she's yet to find an adult equivalent. Maybe that's because The Catcher in the Rye is, really, a book for teens? At the very least, as Gail Gauthier put it in the comments to one of my posts, Catcher has "cast a long shadow over YA fiction."

MacLaughlin's piece got me thinking, though. Which book rocked my world most at sixteen? Oddly enough, it was a play: Ibsen's "A Doll's House." I wonder if it would stand the test of time for me. I'm guessing it would, but I think I'll read it again soon to find out.

Which books changed your life at 16? Are you still impressed by them today? Have you read a book as an adult that you could honestly say "changed your life"?

The comments on the MacLaughlin piece also are very interesting.