Books have always been a powerful and influential presence in my life. Like most kids, I grew up with my parents reading to me. But my parents took it a step further. Because I'm the daughter of writers, they knew the importance of a good book. I remember when I turned 10 my Dad gave me the Iliad and the Odessy. A great gift for a 10 year old…
There hasn't been a Christmas or birthday that goes by without my Mom giving me a book. This past birthday, she gave me my grandmother's first edition of the wizard of Oz. It's a beautiful book but has seen wear over time – the front cover is torn, but you can still see my late grandmother's handwriting throughout.
Here are my top _ books that changed my life. Whether it's how I saw life, or how I write, or just how I read, these books spoke to me. 

The Lovely Bones By Alice Sebold
I was a young girl when I read this book and it scared me a little. The plot centers on a teenage girl who is raped and murdered and watches her family and friends try to move on with their lives. The writing is beautiful and hopeful, despite the sadness and it makes you realize we all have to come to terms with something in our own lives – past or present. For some reason I think of this book often. I have read it as a young girl and now a woman and it helps me see life a little differently each time.

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells
Wells is also the author of The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood book but this book resonated more with me. I love the imagery of the south and the magical scenes of Calla Lily and the characters she interacts with. Wells writes the books I aspire to write one day. 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
If you haven't read this book, go get it now. It is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read and everyone can relate to this story. We all have dreams we want to achieve and it sometimes seems impossible. It's the story of a boy who's dream is to travel the world, find love,
and complete his personal legend.Should we quit on our dreams? This book will help answer that question in more ways than one. The book was written in only two weeks, yet has inspired so many and
been translated in over 67 languages. This book spoke right to my soul. It's important to have a goal, yes,
but to look for the signs, to listen to your heart, and to keep trying
even if it seems there's an easy way out.

How to Talk to A Widower by Jonathan Tropper
As someone that is inspired to write, Tropper amazes me. He is also the author of This is Where I leave You but this book really spoke to me. His character development makes you feel like you know them and he creates a family life everyone can relate to. I've read this book twice in the past year and a half, I wanted to learn how someone can write characters so casually, funny, and heartbreaking all at the same time.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Every time I read this book, I learn something. The truth is, good people can do great things. This book is chock full of so many life lessons, woven into fantastic writing, on the pulse of what was really happening in society at the time. Interestingly enough, life doesn't change all that much, and much of the wisdom can be applied today.  

What books have you read that changed your life?

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