Has a book changed my life?

I have been challenged–though thankfully not to douse myself with ice water.

Although I admire, watch and thrill at everyone else’s videos as they meet the awesome challenge to raise awareness of ALS, I still silently hope that no one calls on me. I have a hard time getting into a shower that’s not steamy hot! I make a slow, torturous tippy-toe walk into a pool and have to psyche myself up to get past the break and into the ocean even though bobbing in the waves is my idea of paradise.

You can see the problem I have with sudden cold water.

Cyd Cahrise Cools Her Feet/Barrel Of Ice

But lately, I have been challenged by two friends to (1) post three positive things everyday, and (2) post the TEN books that have inspired me or changed my life.

The positive posts came easy, as life has been sweet of late. But the book challenge is a true challenge as I don’t usually consider books to be life-altering. And yet, a few have been, now that I think about it, so I’ll begin at the beginning.

1.     This is Our Parish

In the August before First Grade, my mother took me up to St. Ambrose School in Old Bridge, NJ, to buy my books. That’s what we did back then in catholic school. We came back home with a large, handled, brown paper bag filled with books, and I couldn’t wait to get started! I swear I read every page of each book before I ever stepped foot in the school, but my favorites were the “readers.” There were two, one for each half of the year: the red This is Our Parish; and the blue (more advanced) This is still our parish…or something like that.

We covered them in clear contact paper that remains to this day, albeit a little worse for wear. I don’t know exactly where those books are but I know I still have them ’cause I’m kinda a hoarder.

The books introduced the Ramsey family and I fell instantly in love with them all, but especially with the dark haired older son, Michael. I vowed, as I lay stomach-down on my bed that August, that if I ever had a son, I would name him Michael.

And I did 🙂


AND omg I can’t believe I found this! It was this series: Faith and Freedom, and this is a later version, perhaps second grade. Those kids don’t look exactly like the family I remember, but pretty darn close. Wow, takes me right back.

Okay, so that was the first book that really had an impact on me. The second was Dibs: In Search of Self, a book about an autistic boy who was helped by a truly inspiring teacher. It made me want to be a teacher (which I am). I also majored in Psych and have been fascinated by how the brain works all my life.

3. The Harry Potter series–What other books can you read to/with your child that are just as enjoyable for you? My son MICHAEL and I had the pleasure of meeting Harry before we’d ever heard about him, so as he learned that he was a (gulp) Wizard~~we did, too. It was an amazing journey that enhanced Michael’s childhood and my parenthood alike!

4. Catcher in the Rye~~but of course. This book introduced me to the author of my dreams, JD Salinger, and gave me unattainable goals, which as we all know, are the best ones.

5. Beach Music. I wish I could remember who recommended this book but alas, I cannot. I do remember the Christmas evening when my son slept on my lap, and I read this book above his head. I couldn’t put it down. It introduced me to my favorite living author–Pat Conroy–and all his works. I got to meet my idol last year at the Philadelphia Library: one of my life’s coolest moments:

2010-01-01 476

And here I end, because I really can’t go beyond meeting Pat Conroy. Those are 5 books that changed my life ~~

And you? I would LOVE to hear about the books you love. Write me here or on twitter!

Happy Reading.





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