Are there books or authors that have been major influences on your life?

Marguerite Henry

Marguerite Henry (April 13, 1902-November 26, 1997) was an American writer. The author of fifty-nine books based on true stories of horses and other animals, her work has captivated entire generations of children and young adults and won several Newbery Awards and Honors. Among the more famous of her works was Misty of Chincoteague, which was the basis for the 1961 movie Misty, and several sequel books.“  from Goodreads


As a kid I had all of Marguerite Henry’s books about horses.  I didn’t just read them over and over.  I had them all memorized.  I read them because I was already a horse crazy kid but having all these facts helped me when I joined 4-H and started competing in contests about horses.  I ended up traveling all over the country to compete and winning several national titles certain didn’t hurt my vet school applications.

James Herriot

James Herriot is the pen name of James Alfred Wight, OBE, FRCVS also known as Alf Wight, an English veterinary surgeon and writer. Wight is best known for his semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small, a title used in some editions and in film and television adaptations.

I think all veterinarians are influenced by him.  Another vet at the clinic I work at and I were horrified to learn that none of the staff members had ever heard of him.  His stories of being a vet in the 1930s are embedded in my brain and I have actually used some of his suggestions before on cases.

Grethe Cammermeyer

Serving in SilenceServing in Silence by Margarethe Cammermeyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grethe Cammermeyer was a nurse in the Army during Vietnam.  In 1989 during an interview for a clearance to attend the War College she came out as a lesbian to the Army. She was discharged.  She fought her discharge and won.

I was raised as a good evangelical Christian so I knew that homosexuality was wrong.  Reading this book changed my mind.

Sue Monk Kidd

The Dance of the Dissident DaughterThe Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everybody knows Sue Monk Kidd now as a bestselling author.  Remember that evangelical childhood of mine?  I knew her as a contributing author to Guideposts.  I always remembered her name because I thought it was weird.  Sorry.  When I was getting out of Christianity, I found this book.  It detailed her move away from her evangelical roots.  This book made it seem ok.  I reread it every few years.

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins

Left Behind (Left Behind, #1)Left Behind by Tim LaHaye
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ok, this might seem weird following the last two but stick with me.  If you don’t know, the Left Behind series is a story about the Rapture and Tribulation as imagined by fundamentalist Christians.  It came out during my waffling stage when I was trying to decide whether to stay Christian or not.  There is a character in this series named Chloe.  She is the adult daughter of the main character.  As Christians are persecuted she sets up a world-wide underground economy from a bunker.  Pretty cool and smart, right?  Yeah, except… these authors couldn’t have her be a strong woman.  When she isn’t trying to save the world she needs to ask her husband and father for permission to do everything.  She even asks if she can go outside.  So she can run a huge business but can’t decide if it is safe to go outside and needs to defer to male judgement?  She also had a baby because that’s what women do.  They know that they are in a war that is going to last seven years and then Jesus will return.  In those seven years they will be hunted and be on the run and they sit down and make the conscious decision to reproduce?  It wasn’t an accident.  It was deliberate.  It infuriated me.  It made it really obvious to me how much some Christians can’t deal with women.  I hated what they turned her into.  I just wanted her to die.  As soon as Chloe was killed in the series (whoops, sorry baby!) I put down the book and walked away.  I didn’t even finish that book.

4 Replies to “Books that have changed your life”

  1. This is really interesting. So, I’m curious how reading the Left Behind series actually changed your life – Did you end up deciding NOT to be a Christian anymore based on it? Absolutely no judgment if you did, but I have to admit that I kind of hope not. While I know that there are plenty of Christians out there with outdated or downright backward views on some topics, Christianity itself isn’t about those specific views and you’ll find that Jesus himself was one of the most forward thinking and non-judgmental people of his time. Anyway, I hope one series didn’t push you over the edge! 🙂

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. This wasn’t the reason why I left Christianity but it did open my eyes to the extent at which some very conservative leaders would go to keep women in their place. I was pretty much raised with this idea as normal and it took an example this jarring to open my eyes to see that maybe this wasn’t right.

  2. Wow, you have some very powerful and thought-provoking choices here. Thanks for sharing them. I would have to think about this a while, but one book that changed my life was Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Some of his tenets were things that now seem obvious but at the time, as a young adult, changed the way I saw the world, like Be Kind to Those Not in Your Presence and Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.

    Came here again this week through Lit Lover’s linkup – enjoying your blog!


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