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Perhaps it was the day you discovered Narnia, or tesseracts, or followed Alice down the rabbit-hole, but it might just as easily have been years later when you read Humboldt’s Gift or The House of Mirth or Silent Spring or John Adams—you felt different. You might have felt exhilarated, confused, anguished, or all of the above and more. That’s because when you read the right book at the right time, it does more than tell you a story or give you information. It alters your perspective. Books change lives. That’s a story those of us who work in publishing should never stop telling, and we hope that this site will give all of us—publishers, authors, and readers—a new way to share titles that made a big difference.

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Featured Authors: Books

Betty Crocker's Cookie Book
Betty Crocker
Jael McHenry, author of The Kitchen Daughter

Britannia Mews
Margery Sharp
Robin Black, author of If I Loved you, I Would Tell You This

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Chris Bohjalian, author of Secrets of Eden

Expensive People
Joyce Carol Oates
Chris Bohjalian, author of Secrets of Eden

Mythology
Edith Hamilton
Ken Wheaton, author of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival

A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, because Meg Murry—an outspoken, courageous heroine despite her insecurities—expanded my vision of what a girl could be and what she could do. It mattered so much more whether Meg was smart and brave and determined than whether she was pretty. — Leah C. Stewart, author of Husband and Wife

Hangover Square
Patrick Hamilton
Most recently, Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square, because I got so far inside that guy's split-level head that the confusion lasted for quite a stretch -- days -- after I'd closed the book. Maybe I shouldn't admit that. It was scary. I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything that bad though. People would have said. — Frank Portman, author of King Dork

Lord of the Flies
William Golding
It was the first time I was so completely pulled into a book that I imagined myself inside it. That was quite a feat, given that there are no girls on the island. What attracted me was a combination of adventure (what kid doesn't fantasize about running amok, away from all adults?) and moral questions about how closely chaos lurks under the facade of civilization. My brain is still stuck on that. — Hilary Davidson, author of The Damage Done

This Boy's Life
Tobias Wolff
The funny thing about it is I found the book - pretty new - in a bus stop on 78th and Amsterdam about a year after I graduated college. Someone must have rushed off when the bus came. I think I might have said "Finders keepers losers weepers." After I read it, though, it all felt pretty profound. (It would never happen today, because I wouldn't have picked it up for fear of anthrax or bedbugs.) — Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof

Cryptonomicon
N. Stephenson
Graham Moore, author of The Sherlockian

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Recently Mentioned Books

Author Mentions

  1. Letters at 3am
    Michael Ventura
  2. Invisible Man
    Ralph Ellison
  3. The Stand
    Stephen King
  4. Vengeance is Mine
    Mickey Spillane
  5. Treasure Island
    R.L. Stevenson

Reader Mentions

  1. Siddhartha
    Herman Hesse
  2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    Betty Smith
  3. Anne of Green Gables
    L.M. Montgomery
  4. House of Leaves
    Mark Z. Danielewski
  5. Harriet the Spy
    Louise Fitzhugh

Books That Changed My Life

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia  Samuel Johnson
Sometimes we never find what we are looking for. Sometimes we don't truly know what it is we want. Enjoy the journey. — Michelle

Store-bought Baby  Sandra Belton
Love. Loss. And unsaid words.

This book made me realize that sometimes, you just have to let go of the one that you lost---and start holding to the one that you have.

A truly heart-breaking story. Well written. Definitely a good read. — Frances

Rescued  John Bevere
Truly a book that makes you want to know more,as soon as possible! — norma

Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe  Edgar Allan Poe
First reading him around age 11, Poe defined the style that attracted me most, and in doing so crystalized what I hoped to emulate in my own work; stories that are exquisitely beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. — Author Leanna Renee Hieber

Letters to a Young Poet  Rainer Maria Rilke
I was given my firt copy when I was a 13-year old fledgling writer. It spoke to me, not only of the highs and lows of being a writer, but of the joys and sorrows of being a human being. It is a book I return to with regularity, assured by the fact that Rilke's lyrical wisdom never stales. — Shawn MacKENZIE

Lonesome Dove  Larry McMurtry
Storytelling at its very best. — Mary Simonsen

The Hobbit  J.R.R. Tolkien
Twenty-some years and a thorough immersion in the fantasy genre later...yeah. Imaginary worlds got me through some hard times, and keep me dreaming about what ours could be. — Isabel Cooper

Gringos  Charles Portis
All his novels are great but this one showed me the potential of writing fiction. — Tim Sandlin

The Movement and The Sixties: Protest in America from Greensboro to Wounded Knee  Terry H. Anderson
Reading this book was the first time I really started to think about what being a citizen in a democracy was all about. I'd never had the same sense of personal responsibility for the direction my society takes that I do now, nor the power of people and ideas to change people's lives. — Michael

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone  JK Rowling
I know it's probably typical, but I've always loved books. This is the first that I remember really drawing me into the story so much that I felt the need to connect with other readers. — Emily

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