What books have influenced us the most? If we listed the factors that have made us who we are today, we would find that books have often played a major role in shaping our lives.
As one who loves to read I can trace my personal maturity in correlation with books I read. At every crisis and every joy, I have found a book to guide me through.
In an effort to increase global literacy, Scholastic has established a social network site for book readers called “You Are What You Read.” Users create a profile, favorite books, find other readers with similar interests, and create a Bookprint, a list of five books that have influenced you the most.
This is my Bookprint:
God’s Word is the foundation of my life and faith. From historical accounts to spiritual guidance, the Bible continues to encourage me in my walk with God. Its words testify to the greatness of its Author.
The Little Prince
The simple story, combined with the author’s colored line drawings, reminds me of life’s beauty. Most grownups, as the prince finds, may be preoccupied with frivolous schemes for gaining money and power, but Exupery demonstrates that time and relationships make life worth living. “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
Of Human Bondage
I have dreams like the protagonist Philip Carey of leaving the constraints of home and seeing the world. But like Philip I’m also unsure if I have the talent necessary to make the world notice me. And when I, as Philip does, assess what I ultimately want out of life, I know that I would choose a home and a family over any globetrotting career.
One Man’s Meat
To me, E.B. White used to be only the author of The Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little, and Charlotte’s Web. But I was enthralled to find that White was a New Yorker like myself, a backyard farmer with chickens in Maine (I have also raised chickens), and a master of simple, essayistic writing. This collection of White’s writings from The New Yorker and Harper’s inspired me to be a writer.
I’m not a dancer. Like Petrova, I wouldn’t be good at dancing if I tried and, as she does, I prefer messier work like working in the garden, fixing machines, or building airplane models. Petrova kept at dancing to support her family, but she never stopped dreaming about becoming a pilot. Her tenacity — reading airplane manuals during rehearsal breaks — keep me going to pursue my dreams despite the circumstances.
Of course I could list many other books that have influenced my life, but these titles have earned their places at the top.
What’s your Bookprint?