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BellaOnline's Library Sciences Editor

Books That Have Changed Lives

Leaders in all fields point to the books in their childhood and young adult years that made an impact on them.

Andrea Carson, founder of the blog View on Canadian Art shares that Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast made a big impression on her. "It took me to a time that I can only imagine as being heady and glamorous, where artists and writers got together and talked about art, life, poetry and literature, and helped each other to succeed, but it was in no way lacking drama. I would have loved to have met Hemingway, his writing is absolutely brilliant. And it's about Paris...which is terribly romantic."

Tray Chaney artist, author, and actor is most recognizable from his role as Poot Car on HBO's The Wire. His favorite book is considered the first young adult novel. "I loved the book The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. Looking back, it shows some parts of the world we live in now where those who have and those who don't are separated in many ways. It really made an impact on me and I know many others."

Samantha Daniels celebrity matchmaker, author, and inspiration for the television series Miss Match starring Alicia Silverstone sought out laughter as a child. "My favorite childhood book was Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I especially loved the poem, Sick and I literally could recite it line by line. I thought all the excuses the little girl came up with for ditching school were so funny!"

Steve Dreher entrepreneur and founder of iSurfAmerica has been guided professionally by his favorite book. "My favorite book in grade school was Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe. I think my roots as an entrepreneur can be traced to my fascination with the inventiveness, adaptive abilities and perseverance of the main character. He never saw what he lacked, instead choosing to focus on making the best of what he could scrape together; my role model for sure!"

Dean Karnazes the best selling author of Ultramarathon Man and named by Time magazine as one of the, "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World," was inspired to follow his passion. "When I was in junior high I read Dove, the story of Robin L. Graham sailing solo around the world. Previously, my journeys consisted of day-hiking trips in the local hills. Dove really opened my eyes to the excitement and intrigue of global exploration. My world was forever expanded by that book."

Kathy Kinney, the iconic actress from the Drew Carey Show has created a new website to promote the love of reading to children. She brings this love from her own youth and her favorite book, Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner. "I loved reading and re-reading the hilarious adventures of Cornelia and her friend Emily as they traveled through 1920s Europe. The book made me want to grow up and have fun adventures traveling abroad with friends - and I did!"

Regina Leeds, the New York Times bestselling author of One Year to an Organized Life reminisces that, "As an only child growing up in Brooklyn, New York I was over-protected and sheltered by my parents. I found my solace in books. My favorite author was Charles Dickens. When I was 18 I went to London for the first time and had the honor of visiting his home. To stand at the desk where Miss Havisham was created was truly overwhelming. No fiction book has ever touched me like Great Expectations! Reading takes you on adventures and opens the world to you...even one your over protective parents are afraid to let you experience 'for real!'"

Felicia Loud, stage and recording artist, encountered a book that took her years to fully understand. "One of my most memorable books was Native Son by Richard Wright. The suffocation that the main character Bigger felt was the most exciting read I had ever experienced. The idea of physically killing that which oppresses you is a metaphor I truly did not understand until adult hood but I was glued to this book from start to finish."

What was your favorite book from your child or teen years?

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