Glancing through some blogging prompts, one which caught my eye was ‘name a book that changed your life’. The usual responses, the ones that go on show to the outside world, are something generally considered spiritual or inspiring, perhaps a biography or great (and usually old) work of literature. For me the candidates undoubtedly include The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat by John Gribbin. And maybe the British Hit Singles book. But did any of them change my life, or just confirm the path I was already on? A while ago I said to OneMonkey ‘if only I’d read Neuromancer when I was 15’, then we looked at each other and laughed – the 15-year-old me was ripe for Neuromancer, but reading it back then wouldn’t have changed anything, I would just have appreciated it even more than when I eventually read it years later.
Books can definitely have a profound effect on life, for better or worse, but is a single book life-changing? Maybe I’m just missing out, or don’t have the right sort of personality to experience that kind of sudden alteration, but I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book and had my whole outlook on life shifted. Feel free to tell me what I’m missing out on.