Novels that have made an impact on my life
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The Top 3 Novels That Have Had The Most Influence On My Life

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The Top 3 Novels That Have Had The Most Influence On My Life

As a kid growing up, education was a pretty big deal in my house. With my mom being a second-grade teacher and my dad starting his career as a high school math teacher, the power of knowledge has always been seen as the key to everything.

It was this upbringing that laid the foundation for my love for reading. From the super imaginative "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series to the ultra-realistic "Catcher in the Rye" novel, I have explored the dozens of genres of books that each have influenced me as a reader, as a writer, and as a person. Amongst the dozens of books and novels I have read, there stand three books that each have made their own distinct mark on me and have influenced the way I am today.

1. "The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe

Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

I remember in the third grade, I attended my school's annually book fair and as I was scrolling the selection of books, there was one book that caught my eye. That book was the abridged version of "The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe. Although this was the abridged, more PG-rated version of the classic, I was still mesmerized by the dangerous life that Robinson Crusoe experienced while being stranded on a remote island for decades and having to struggle every day to survive. With his adaptability and survival skills, he was able to survive long enough on the island to one day be rescued and taken back home in England.

It was his journey for survival, and several other adventures he had in the unabridged version, that inspired me to continue to read more adventure classic novels. Books like "Treasure Island," "Around the World in Eighty Days," and "Gulliver's Travels" help me grow my love for the adventure genre; They allowed me to foresee the fantasies in my mind on written paper and to live the lives of the protagonists.

2. "Beloved" by Toni Morrison

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In my senior year of high school, my AP English Literature teacher assigned our class a book to read. That book was "Beloved" by Toni Morrison. When first reading the book, it may come off as uninteresting, even boring; Once I really got into the story, it revealed itself to be a horrific and mind-bending story about one of the worst periods in American history. The book follows the lives of Sethe, Paul D, Denver, and the ambiguous Beloved, who are all struggling to live out normal lives in a world that sought to enslave them. Each day they struggle to live beyond the horrors they experienced as slaves and to overcome their own demons.

After reading this book, many of my classmates expressed their displeasure in the book, complaining about how the character, Beloved, was hard to understand and that the overall storyline and dialogue of the book was very difficult to follow. Even though I understand their frustration with the ambiguity of the book, I strongly believed that it's the ambiguity of the Beloved's character and of the story that makes it so powerful. Because of the hundreds of years of slavery that existed in this country, many family trees for African Americans often only go as far back as great, great grandparents, since back then slaves were not recognized by their true names and were forced to bear new names by their masters.

I loved how the uncertainty of some of the plot points is a bold reflection on the uncertainty that many African Americans face when tracing their heritage. What this book taught me was that, in writing, sometimes its better to give the reader more questions than answers; Forcing the reader to confront a story from a more inquisitive perspective can be a very useful tool for the author to express the themes of their work.

3. "Steelheart" by Brandon Sanderson

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Like any other nerdy kid, I loved superhero narratives. I always dreamed of living out the Hero versus Villain dynamic and godly powers each would bear. However, the book "Steelheart" by Brandon Sanderson flips the norms of the superhero genre on its head. In this first installment on The Reckoners series, we are thrown into the authoritarian city of Newcago, a war-torn, futuristic version of Chicago, nestled in a world where ordinary people were mysteriously given extraordinary powers, but all of these individuals became supervillains rather than superheroes. These people, otherwise known as Epics, inevitably go to war against one another for control of the world.

What I loved about this book was how it took an age-old story of ordinary people gaining superpowers and using them for good and completely flipped it on its head. Instead of retelling the same old narrative, Sanderson constructs a world in which those with powers are the agents of chaos and it is the ordinary people of the city that band together to save the day. This taught me how standard conventions don't always equal a great narrative, and how breaking those conventions could lead to a fresh new storyline.

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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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