11:00 am EST, January 23, 2014

Five books that changed our lives

Answering that almost impossible question – what book has most changed our lives?

Earlier this week, the Hypable staff shared how Harry Potter changed their lives. But the story of J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard is not the only book that has influenced us. Here, the hosts of Hypable’s Book Hype podcast share another book that really and truly changed them.

On page 2, we share some of your responses to this (really difficult) question. Make sure to tell us in the comments what your answer would be, and why.

The book that changed my life was…

shadow of the wind

Marama Whyte: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón was the first book that I felt understood me. Rather the first time I read The Shadow of the Wind was the first time in my life that someone else was able to accurately articulate the way that I felt (and still feel) about books and reading.

The Shadow of the Wind treats books like the treasure that they are. It is, in its way, a love letter to the art of reading.

In the book, it is noted that “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” When I looked into The Shadow of the Wind, for the very first time since I had commenced on this life-long literary love affair, I saw myself. And for me, that was life changing.

lost years of merlin

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Karen Rought: The Lost Years of Merlin changed my life in a way that I didn’t think another series could after Harry Potter. These books are a sweeping epic fantasy that taught me the true value of nature and all of its creatures. I learned that sometimes the tiniest beings have the biggest hearts. I realized that even if we have the power to rule over others, it doesn’t mean we should. And, most importantly, it showed me that you can’t control where you come from, but you can control where you go.

The possibilities in life are endless, if we’re only brave enough to take a chance. And even when everything appears to be stacked against you, you’ll find at least one person (or animal!) who will always believe in you.

game of thrones

Michal Schick: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin changed my life. Though I was already a fan of epic fantasy before finding Martin’s work ten years ago, my love for the genre was kicked into overdrive when I began reading his brutal and beautiful saga. The key reason? The character of Sansa Stark.

In a genre filled with female characters who are often marginalized for or reject femininity, I found a kindred spirit in Sansa. I related to her love of stories and dresses, her desire to please and keep order in her world. She had her own voice, a sometimes maddening, but always honest perspective. Like me, Sansa is not a badass – like me, her weapons are words, her armor a smile. But through Sansa, A Game of Thrones showed me that strength can thrive where others find weakness… and that being girly is no obstruction to be great.

silent in the grave

Jen Lamoureux: I have always been a reader but I never really talked about books. Reading was personal for me and I didn’t see the point in talking about books because few of my friends read. This all changed when I read Silent in the Grave. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love that book. I wanted to talk about it constantly. The writing was smart and funny. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would want to talk about it. I loved everything about it and needed to discuss it, except I didn’t have anyone to talk to.

Instead, I immediately looked for another and luckily the second Lady Julia Grey novel had just come out. I couldn’t get enough of the story telling. It was the book that made me want to talk about books, that made me want to share books with others, and made me want to make sure great books got into the hands of readers who would appreciate them. I love the Lady Julia Grey series and to this day I am constantly telling people to pick up these books. They changed how I view reading and sharing books.

the night circus

Tariq Kyle: One of the books that’s changed my life is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Not only is it one of the most beautiful books I’ve read but it left me even more in love with Victorian era. Magic and history are some of my favorite things to read about and reading about a magical circus in the Victorian era just left me in awe.

The characters are fantastic and the imagery left me speechless – so much so that I went and got a tattoo of its U.K. cover. The tattoo, and in turn The Night Circus, don’t just represent a Victorian circus and a love story to me, but connect me with my love of the past. It’s my way of cementing my love for history and magic and all things combined, and it’s part of my personality. I’d debated long and hard about what I wanted to get inked onto my body and the answer was simple: A piece of art representative of my two favorite things in the world – history and magic.

On page 2: The books that changed YOUR lives

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