Books that Helped Us Through Tough Times
By Rachel Troyer
This was a tough question for me because I used books in general to escape during my childhood and teenage years. However, the series that impacted my life and my reading journey was the Ramona series by Beverly Clearly. As a child I struggled with reading because of a learning disability that I still have to overcome to this day. My mother constantly read to me and the Ramona series was one that helped me become the rapid reader I am now.
I asked a few other English Majors this difficult question and received some interesting answers.
Tanya Nimz said that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rolling was the novel that helped her through a tough time. She received the novel as a gift and she said that “I read it and, for the first time in quite some time, I fell asleep without crying. I quickly became engrossed and found that I was able to forget my problems while I was reading.” Tanya also commented that the novel helped her find her love of reading, and she said “By the time I entered 6th grade two years later, my reading level had skyrocketed to ‘College and up.'”
Michael Frederiksen told me that the novel that impacted his life was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig. He commented, “maybe that book came at just the right time, but it opened my eyes to what I actually value in life. It’s the kind of book which can compel you to drop everything to travel cross-country with nothing but a typewriter and a longing for personal discovery.”
Katelin Deushane shared the novel that influenced her life was The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan. She commented that the reason why it was important to her: “This kind of writing with excellent character development helped inspire me to write. The book inspired me because my mother was the one who gave it to me. Now, don’t get me wrong it’s not like it was super special because she gave it to me, it was super special because she actually got it right.”
Molly Cameron commented that her favorite novel was Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. She stated “The Lord of the Rings has always been a favorite of mine, and I’ve gone through its words so many times that the entire story doesn’t even register anymore; it’s just a group of words that are so beautifully put together that it makes me feel things. Last year, I got really depressed and felt completely empty inside. Whenever I read even quotes from that book, it felt like Tolkien was giving me advice and hope through his words. His descriptions of faraway lands gave me hope, and even now I can flip to any part of the book and find a passage that gives me comfort, like wrapping up in an old familiar blanket.”
Duncan Gingrich states that the book that helped him was Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. He stated that “I consider myself to have somewhat odd tastes–as in, I enjoy media that operates on a logic all its own, rather than adhering to typical narrative structures. Thus, Slaughterhouse-Five is right up my alley. Between the non-linear plot and the surreal happenings that Billy Pilgrim stumbles through (all while possessing one of THE GREATEST NAMES IN FICTION), Kurt Vonnegut’s magnum opus provided a much-needed oasis of oddity in the sea of dullness that was my 2012.”