Like a lot of my discussion posts, this one is as much as question for you as a topic I think I have some expertise on. (Unlike most of my discussion posts, I’ve pulled my topic from a helpful list of suggestions from Briana at Pages Unbound – thank you!). As a lifelong reader and lover of books, I always feel I should have an answer when people ask about books that have changed my life. I can think of a few, but the list is short. What’s more true for me is that books, collectively, have changed my life. I’d love to hear in the comments if you feel like your life has been significantly changed by either specific books or reading in general. First, here a few ways reading has changed my life.
Love of Learning
Books, collectively, have definitely inspired my love of learning. When I was homeschooled, my mom let me do a lot of defining the topics we studied. She’s also always made the library accessible to me and something I learned early is “when in doubt, go to the library”. For nearly any problem I have in my life, I’ll turn to books. I’ve also read nonfiction to learn about things that interest me since at least middle school and maybe earlier.
I’m honestly not certain I’d have gotten into genomics if it weren’t for Matt Ridley’s Genome. (Unfortunately, it seems like he’s something a climate change denier these days, so perhaps take his books with a grain of salt). There are certainly other things that influenced me – a K*Nex genome kit, a genetics class at the local university – but I think this book came first.
Education on Social Issues
There must have been a first book I read that got me thinking about issues like race, poverty, and injustice. I can’t point to just one though. Instead, I’ve slowly accumulated knowledge and awareness through reading a lot of connected books on these topics. I’ve learned about other types of topics from reading too, often less deliberately, but in a similarly gradual way. This is partly because I don’t tend to retain new information well the first time I encounter it. The advice to read connected books and build up a framework connecting the things you know is a suggestion that really works for me.
Obviously, I wouldn’t be a part of the great, bookish blogging community without my love of reading. Especially during the wild times that have been 2020, having reading and blogging to entertain me indoors and keep me connected to others has been truly wonderful.
I feel like I should have more than this for you, but those are the main ways I can think of that reading has shaped my life. Maybe some of your stories will spark some other memories for me as well. So, please let me know in the comments below – How has reading specific books or reading generally changed your life?