19 Books That Have Shaped The 19 Years Of My Life
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19 Books That Have Shaped The 19 Years Of My Life

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss

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19 Books That Have Shaped The 19 Years Of My Life
James Sheets

As an avid reader, I have read many books. I have fallen in love with various characters and storylines and fantastical worlds. I have also loathed a lot of books, especially since I began majoring in English literature. However, I have learned that just because you hate a book doesn't mean that it won't teach you something or even that it won't stick with you basically forever.

So, here are 19 books in particular that have stayed with me. I love some of them, and I hate some of them, but, no matter what, they have managed to change my life in some way.

If you're interested in any of the titles listed here, click on the Amazon links below their cover photos. Let's see if they impact you the same way they impacted me.

1. 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green

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My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. McCrady, forced me to read this book. I hated reading until around age 12 or 13, but this classic piece of sappy, YA romance made me realize that I didn't actually hate it. I was just a stubborn pain in the ass that didn't want to like reading because people kept telling me that I would like it. Now, I'm an English literature major, so we can see how that turned out for me.

2. 'All The Ugly and Wonderful Things' by Bryn Greenwood

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This book is highly controversial. It definitely contains adult themes, and it was probably the first adult book that I actually read. I think I was around age 17. It discusses a lot of societal problems that I knew existed at the time, but that I had never truly mulled over until I read this book. Greenwood showed me that not everything is black and white, and I continue to think about her characters constantly to this day.

3. 'Speak' by Laurie Halse Anderson

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This book is amazing for teenage readers, and it was definitely amazing for me. It is not a happy read, that's for sure, but it discusses the issues of consent and rape at a teenage age, which I think are crucial to consider in these times.

4. 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte

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OK, a theme is forming. I KNOW I READ SAD BOOKS. However, I think that sad books are honest books. Life isn't all magic and rainbows, kids. This is the first classic novel that I truly loved, and I have my twelfth grade English teacher, Mrs. McEvoy to thank for that. This taught me that a love story doesn't need a happy ending to matter and make a difference in people's lives.

5. 'Twilight' by Stephanie Meyer

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OK, OK, OK, hear me out, please! I read this in like... well, I'm not really sure. Whenever people were still arguing over Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. It held my interest, even when I thought I hated reading. Don't shame people for their book choices, people. If a book makes just one person become interested in reading then it is a successful book.

6. 'The Spiderwick Chronicles' by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

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This was horror in my childhood years. I was terrified of goblins. I also had a video game on the Wii based off this game. It was a good time until I realized these books were not horror and actual horror movies scared me, and I couldn't sleep after watching an actual horror movie. I'll stick with Spiderwick, thank you very much.

7. 'Magic Tree House Series' by Mary Pope Osborne

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I don't remember too much about these books, but I do remember thinking they were absolutely EPIC in elementary school. I wish I had a magic tree house. Just saying.

8. 'I'll Give You the Sun' by Jandy Nelson

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AMAZING. One of my best friends introduced me to Jandy Nelson, and now this is my favorite book of all time honestly. It is a young adult story told from the perspective of two twins. The writing is beautiful. The characters are hyper-realistic, and this book proves that everyone sees the world in different ways. Read it at this time please.

9. 'Hush, Hush' by Becca Fitzpatrick

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This book is cheesy. I know it is. The same friend that introduced me to "I'll Give You the Sun" introduced me to this book. However, it held my interest. This book came right after I read 'The Fault In Our Stars' and it contributed to me becoming an avid reader today. Credit is due here. Also, I have read this cheesy, paranormal romance series of four books probably like three times all the way through now. AND THEY ARE FINALLY MAKING THEM INTO A MOVIE. My inner tween is HYPED.

10. 'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes

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This book and "The Fault In Our Stars" are the only books that have made me cry. Like sobbing on my floor crying. I just think that is a feat in itself for some reason. I am not over it, Jojo Moyes, and I never will be.

11. 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Love it. This is probably my second favorite classic of all time. A lot of people hate Fitzgerald's writing because his characters are terrible people. I mean, they are terrible people most the time. I will agree with that. But "The Great Gatsby" sends many beautiful themes out to its readers. One of which is DON'T GET RICH AND RUN THE LONGEST PLAY ON A GIRL EVER JUST TO... Ugh, no spoilers sorry.

12. 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen

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This book is awful. I don't care what people tell me. This is such a long book for no reason, and I honestly don't get why it is so hyped up. This book is the definition of people not knowing how to communicate with each other and it is infuriating. Also, Mr. Darcy is an ass. However, the book made this list because I have never been more frustrated with a book in my life. I still have war flashbacks about this novel to this day.

13. 'Romeo and Juliet' by Shakespeare

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I found out that I love Shakespeare after reading this play my freshman year of high school. Shout out to Billy Shakes and the many deaths he has sprung on his many, many readers over the past few centuries.

14. 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry

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Conformity is not good. Everyone cannot be the same. Otherwise, the disaster that is this book happens. Reading this makes you realize that everyone being unique is not just a good thing, but a necessity. I think that's a really good lesson to learn nowadays.

15. 'Junie B. Jones Series' by Barbara Park

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I aspire to be Junie B. Jones. I feel as though I have been Junie B. Jones many times before; I hope to continue this. Love you, homegirl!

16. 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee

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I WANTED SCOUT AND DILL TO HAVE A CUTE CHILDHOOD ROMANCE. UGHHHHH. This book taught me that the couples I ship in books do not always happen for me, and I'm still mad about it.

17. 'As Simple As It Seems' by Sarah Weeks

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This book was weirddd. HOWEVER, it is the only book that I remember checking out from my elementary school's library that I actually read. The rest of the books I just turned back in after the allotted time. There's something to be said there.

18. 'A Darker Shade of Magic' by V.E. Schwabb

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This series is so magical and epic, and I read the entire trilogy by this author within a week or two. This is the first fantastical universe I ever became truly obsessed with. I highly recommend.

19. 'The Lorax' by Dr. Seuss

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I love the Lorax. Always will. End of story.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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