Monday, July 28, 2008

Life-Changing Fiction

One of my favorite blogs of all time, belongs to the insanely, and at the same time, maddeningly (surely those two things ought to cancel each other out) talented author, Lauren Groff (whom I may have mentioned a few times before in this blog). In her latest post Ms. Groff relates a peculiar encounter another author, Brendan Halpin (who's blog is also worthy of a visit) recently had, due to using (tongue in cheek) the term "life-changing fiction", in reference to his own work in a blog post. To his surprise, Mr. Halpin was promptly issued a notice that this particular phrase was, in fact copyrighted material, which he had no right to be tossing around so carelessly. Apparently, the said term can only be applied to the works of one Ms. Karen Kingsbury, an inspirational Christian writer, who in spite of being a bona fide NY Times best selling author, and whatnot, took time out of her busy schedule to inform Mr. Halpin of the error of his ways. No, really.

It's madness, I tell you madness! I mean, hilarity ensues, etc. but in all seriousness, I think we should all make like Ms. Groff, and use that trite-ass phrase in conjunction with the work of all kinds of authors who are not Ms. Kingsbury. If you're a fellow book-lover, feel free to join me.

In my humble opinion, here are some works of truly life-changing fiction:

What do you consider life-changing fiction? Ms. Kingsbury and I are terribly curious to find out.


  1. That's not terribly Christian of Ms Kingsbury, is it? :P

    There are far too many such books to list them all (and you've listed some of mine already!), so here are some I've found life-changing recently:
    A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
    Salvation Creek - Susan Duncan
    The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
    Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones
    Unfeeling - Ian Holding
    Toast - Nigel Slater (although this is only semi-fiction, it's part memoir).

  2. That typical. I wanted to write bizarre, but alas it is not.


  3. Hahaha I love that story. And I agree with thesundaybest, it is way too typical now to have people copywrite idiotic phrases. Some of my favorite/life-changing books are: A Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, Sophie's World, 1984, The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland (what can I say, I love children's books), and Atlas Shrugged.

  4. How freaking ridiculous!
    Unfortunately for Ms. Groff though, I already own the rights to "I like cake". ;)

    The Monsters of Templeton is at the top of my list of books to get my hands on.
    As for life-changing fiction, I'd like to add The Alchemist. I've read a few of Paulo Coelho's other books and wasn't too impressed but that one is a true gem.

  5. i am so happy that you did this post! i have been looking for new books. i love lauren groff. i've read her blog a few times, it's always a good read.
    one of my favorite fiction books is extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer.

  6. oh also! if i may recommend the time traveler's wife, i will never ever forget that book for as long as i live.
    it starts out a little slow, but it gets better.

  7. What a ridiculous situation.

    Oh well.... I'm joing the cause. My next post will, without a doubt, be on LIFE CHANGING FICTION.

    God... I still can't believe it.

  8. How bizarre! I have read several works of life-changing fiction and none of them have been written by Ms Kingsbury... ^_-
    What a silly goose!

  9. Hello! I'm back to add another book: What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt, who is all-round wonderful.

    Okay, I'm done now.

  10. I read 9 stories by JD Salinger
    it's currently sitting next to me and I loved the melancholy in each of the short stories
    JD Salinger is truly amazing

    for me it's kind of a teenage cliche, but I love Chuck Palahniuk books, I think his writing is really raw and nihilistic which is amazing. His books are kind of strangely grotesque but they make me rethink everything I've previously thought.

  11. ha! good point by the clotheshorse. this is both ridiculous and awesome, and now i am going to re-blog with my answers, because i love the idea of sharing life-changing reads.

  12. thank you once again for the great recommendations!
    i just checked "the history of love" out from the library and realized that i had read an excerpt from it in the new yorker... i love it!

  13. Yea! I absolutely will post about my life-changing fiction, as well as other "life-changing" items in my life, just to rile up the masses... thank you!

  14. Yes, for me Gilead was an important book as well.

    American Primitive by Mary Oliver got me back into reading poetry after a few years' hiatus, so that's up there for me, too.

    I just found you! Hello!

  15. I saw this on molly's blog, and absolutely will be posting my own list in short order!