These Books Changed Me

By Michele Turner


(randomly ordered)

1. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I can still see Holden in his hunting hat, crying, and screaming at the top of his lungs, “Sleep tight, ya morons!” as he leaves his Pencey Prep School dormitory after being expelled.


2. My Ántonia by Willa Cather

In case you are wondering, the Bohemian name is pronounced An'-ton-ee-ah.


3. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Told in a series of vignettes, the book both breaks your heart and gives you hope.


4. When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner

“Pain is the price we pay for being alive. Dead cells—our hair, our fingernails—can’t feel pain; they cannot feel anything. When we understand that, our question will change from, “Why do we have to feel pain?” to “What do we do with our pain so that it becomes meaningful and not just pointless empty suffering?”


5. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

There are modern day lessons to be learned from this book about how to give unconditionally. The closing scene of this book will forever be in my mind. 


6. Why I Wake Up Early: New Poems by Mary Oliver

If you love poetry, nature, and God, you will love this book.


7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Grim Reaper as a narrator is unusual and powerful.


8. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Reminds me of so many mentors that I had along the way. Whether they have passed away or live far away, I wish I could have another Tuesday with each of them.


9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”


10. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini    

The devastating, symbol-filled pomegranate scene. We all gain empathy while watching Hasson and Amir suffer.


What books changed you?