On Goodreads, reader KEVIN says, “Over the years, writer, blogger and social media consultant Bethanne Patrick (An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy) has interviewed hundreds of authors and celebrities on her favorite topic: books. In The Books That Changed My Life, she collects 100 mini-essays (averaging three pages each) from notables about the literature that has inspired or changed the course of their lives. This is the perfect gift for book lovers. The impressive contributors are highly persuasive evangelists, and few readers will finish this delightful volume without creating a lengthy list of what they must read next.
Most contributors find it hard to narrow their choice to just one. Monty Python’s Eric Idle writes, “My life is not changed by a single book. My life is changed by books. On a daily basis.” Most essays suggest at least two or three other titles. Sidestepping the question in opposite directions, Fran Lebowitz writes of amassing 10,000 books in her small apartment, while Fay Weldon admits, “I am not fond of books as objects.”
Arranged alphabetically, the contributors (including Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, Gillian Flynn, Carl Hiaasen, Laura Lippman, Gregory Maguire and Susan Orlean) write astutely about their chosen titles, and offer funny and touching details of how the book altered their lives. Jodi Picoult’s thoughtful essay compares reading Gone with the Wind as a romantic 13-year-old to revisiting it as an adult dealing with its race and social issues. Bibliophiles will find engaging and smart compatriots among the contributors and treasures among their book choices.
A book lover’s delight, Bethanne Patrick’s bountiful collection gathers recommendations from a who’s who of persuasive literary and arts figures.”