DISCUSSION: Can Fiction Change a Person's Life?


I am, unashamedly, a word lover. I love etymology and linguistics, I love the scratch of pen against paper and the steady ticks of my typewriter, I just love everything about words. And so perhaps it's no surprise that I romanticise the power of words and the effect they can have.

Naturally, I'm a strong believer that fiction can change a person's life. And I don't just mean the words or the ideas within the book, but also physical books can change somebody's life. E.g. The idea that somebody could miss their bus stop because they're too busy reading and then get off at the wrong stop which actually turns out to be the right stop in terms of where it then steers their life… you get what I mean, right?

Although I wouldn't personally apply this scenario to myself, escapism is another way fiction could change a person's life. Perhaps they're going through a rough time, or they don't quite know what they're doing with their life, and small things like pulling out their battered copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone give them comfort.

And, yet, I haven't even got to the ideas side of the argument. Books are full of ideas; books are ideas. And if ideas don't change lives then what do?

I mean: words, ink, characters, creativity, well-loved paperbacks, thoughts… aren't these wonders of the life-changing variation? I can't be the only one who thinks so.

I know the majority of my blog readers will agree with me here, but – as I wrote this – I tried to aim it at an audience who, perhaps, don't read as much. I mean, to me, it's weird to imagine NOT being able to see how utterly life-changing fiction is…

QUICK QUESTION: Which books have changed your life?

19 comments:

  1. As and aswer to your question Ruby, Harry Potter of course! I wholeheartedly agree with what you have just written. Books do change lives. I find comfort in reading when I can't find it in anything else. Nothing calms my anger down faster than opening my (extremely) battered copy of The Order of The Phoenix does. Anyone still wanting to argue with you over this is going to have to put up a really really convincing debate

    ~Mahnoor
    www.mahnoorapple.blogspot.com

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    1. Ah I think Harry Potter is probably the #1 most life changing book for the grand majority of people. :) And yep, I think a lot people take comfort in reading (I know I do!)

      I don't expect anybody to disagree with this post (after all, all readers of this blog love reading) but I definitely think there are a lot of people who perhaps don't see how life-changing reading can be because they haven't experienced it. :)

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  2. Great post Ruby ! (:
    Many books changed my life : The TMI and TID series, throne of glass, if i stay, THG, Take back the skies (an awesome book btw), shatter me series and many more ! *-*
    Unfortunaly I can't list HP because I haven't read it yet, I know : Shame on me! -.-
    But I will soon :D

    xo Anne @ anne-books.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Anne!
      Ahhh you must read HP – there are literally no reasons why you shouldn't!

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  3. I can sort of get the other side of this post. As a child, I didn't read much (I know! I know! I was missing out!) and so didn't understand how words – mere words – could be so effecting. Yet now I totally get it.

    Really interesting post! For me a life changing book would have to be Jane Eyre. :)

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    1. Yes! Totally agreeing on Jane Eyre!

      And that's interesting; in a sense I can look at it from the perspective of a non-reader… I mean, I can see how words could be just seen as just words (even though we know they're so much more!). :)

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  4. YAAAAAAAAAAY. RUBY POSTS ARE BACK! I was actually planning a post like this..now I'm not..xD #twins? Of COURSE books/fiction can change a person's life! Although I am forever scared the bus stop situation will happen to me because THAT WOULD MEAN:
    > late for college
    > get in trouble
    > book ban
    > life ruined
    > *le dead*

    I don't have any specific books that have changed my life, more so a collection of books that have made me think in a different way/inspired me to do something or go somewhere/made me want to write/read something/draw something..etc

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    1. YAY. AND YES, THEY ARE. And yep twins for sure – didn't we decide this like a week ago eheheh? Ahh that's not a nice scenario.

      And yep, same here. Although the one's in the photo above are the ones I'd pick if I was forced to choose. ;D

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  5. Ruby. How are your words so poetic and beautiful?

    I would say fiction never changed my life, but began it. My mum read to me till I began myself at 2 or 3 years, and I've never stopped. The words get me through so much by taking me to another world (casual slip in of why my blog is named what it is) and letting me be someone else for a while in rubbish situations.

    Charli x

    P.S We barely ever talk any more!! We need to! :)

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    1. Haha I'm afraid I'm nowhere near this eloquent usually! ;) And yep, same here – since I started reading at a young age, I've never looked back.

      And yes! We need to talk more!

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  6. Fiction has definitely changed my life. And I mention it a lot on my blog but it's true that Harry Potter has changed my life completely. It's meant that I've done things I never imagined I'd do, and also prompted me to change my plans for the future. Words are so powerful and wonderful that they can completely change your little piece of the world :)

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    1. Harry Potter is certainly special in that way. Yes! Definitely agreeing about the power of words!

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  7. I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I felt so stupid before I actually started reading and blogging. Now with fiction, I've just learned such an abundant amount of things, things I never knew before. This post has a real spot in my heart bec I'm lad we're all acknowledging the life changing outcomes of reading fiction, well any type of genre really.

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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    1. If it helps, so did I! I genuinely think that blogging has made me a person who thinks more. It has also made me read EVEN more than I did before.

      And aw, glad to hear that. :) I definitely agree that it's nice to simply acknowledge the power of fiction every once in a while!

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  8. I would say reading definitely shaped me. I've been reading from the moment I could hold a book, so I feel like I am made out of those words, haha. When I felt lonely in school, I could always find a place in books where there were people who did get me, like Harry Potter.

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    1. Yes, I agree about finding like-minded people! As well as fictional characters, reading is a common interest I share with many of my closest friends; knowing there are other people who appreciate fiction as much as you do is an awesome feeling. :)

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  9. I love this post! True in every word!

    Books mean so much to me! It's more than just a hobby, reading is more than just spending time with a book when I need something to do.
    The BEST thing that happend to me because of books are the friends I made! I'm so happy to have these people in my life who I met because they also have a book blog!

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    1. Thank you! Glad you do!

      Yes, I agree; reading IS so much more than just a hobby. It's beyond necessary. Tons of the best things come from books. :)

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