A friend of mine posted on Facebook today about books that change your life. It’s no secret that we all have that special something that awakens a spark in us, and books are often the match that starts the flame. Her post got me thinking of the books I’ve read over the years and whether any of them have had an impact on me. It didn’t take long to think of which one did it, and it brought back a very fine memory.
When I was in my senior year of high school, I was loaded down with AP classes, student government, and prepping for university. There wasn’t much leisure time, and I was one of those teens that insisted on doing everything I could to make my transition to college easier. At the beginning of the school year, I was at the mall and heading out to go home, when I walked past a book store. There, on the front display, was a small shelf of copies of The Lord of the Rings with a cardboard advertisement from the upcoming movie.
It was 2001, so at the time, I hadn’t seen the movies yet. I knew nothing of The Lord of the Rings– in fact, I had never even heard of it! Despite reading tons of books growing up, my fiction was typically revolved around historical stories.
I stopped in my tracks, somehow drawn to the copy of The Fellowship of the Ring that was on display at the window. I can’t really tell you what drew me to it. The cover wasn’t anything fancy. But I felt like I had to see it. As strange as it sounds, I felt like I was meant to read that book.
I’m not one to do things on the whim, and when it comes to money, I don’t like to spend it on something I know I won’t use. But I knew I had to have it. I bought the book, went home, and started to read.
Now, I confess that I didn’t quite read a lot of it at first because homework took priority. Taking four AP classes, alongside a full high school schedule and volunteering, doesn’t leave you with much free time. Also, I may or may not have been going on a Sailor Moon binge at the time, lol! But when Christmas came and I got to see The Fellowship of the Ring movie, I was blown away. Immediately after seeing the film, I picked up the book and read it in a few days.
What followed was a thorough read-through of the trilogy, The Hobbit, and The Chronicles of Narnia (because you can’t read Tolkien without some C.S. Lewis in there, right?) But after reading The Fellowship of the Ring, a spark lit up inside me.
I wanted to write a story like Tolkien.
Characters like Frodo, Faramir, Eowyn, and Aragorn really resonated with me. All my years of reading books never transported me to a faraway world that made me want to live in it. To say that the stories changed my life and inspired me to be brave and kind is putting it mildly. I wanted to be just like the Hobbits and Elves and Dwarves and Men that I read about. And one day, I wanted to inspire other readers like Tolkien inspired me.
Grant it, my stories are nowhere near the level of Tolkien’s, and probably never will be, but there’s a special something about having your life impacted by such a small thing. Like the One Ring impacting Frodo’s life, Frodo’s story impacted mine (but in a good way). And now that I’m a writer, I hope my stories impact the lives of my readers as well.
Think about your favorite books or stories. What are the ones that have impacted your life?