But it is more than that. The books I read are ALL, each and every one of them, life-changing in some way. After reading Sharon Creech's THE BOY ON THE PORCH, I will never look at shoes lined up on a shelf (or on my floor) in the same way. COUNTING BY 7s changes the way I see a sunflower blooming alongside a road. Rainbow Rowell's FANGIRL has made me see fanfiction in a new light. I could go on and on here.
The fact is that each book I read stays with me in some small way. Sometimes there is new knowledge gained (I love reading historical fiction, biography, informational texts, etc. for the new knowledge). Often, there is an image that remains indelibly burned into my brain (the football goal posts in THE CHOCOLATE WAR that Jerry sees as crosses). Many times I recall or commit to memory a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph. While I was working with Canyon ISD last week, I recited EVERYBODY NEEDS A ROCK from memory. I can do the same with some poems (Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by Roald Dahl), some opening paragraphs (WHISPERS FROM THE DEAD), sentences (IN DARKNESS), and more. A turn of phrase will strike me to the quick, a joke will make me guffaw, a character will make me groan with exasperation.
Just as an aside, not all the changes from books are positive ones. The books forced on me before I was ready to them still cause me an almost physical revulsion (A TALE OF TWO CITIES). On the other hand, books presented to me as gifts by passionate teachers are still embedded in my brain somewhere. I still love to see a production of HAMLET thanks to a high school English teacher who made it come alive by acting it out for us in class. Or I think of the scenes presented by Shakespearean troupes from my college classes with fondness.
Whether positive or negative, those books changed my life. From the time I was just beginning on the road to lifelong reading (and was sure I would be either a detective like Nancy Drew or a nurse like Cherry Ames) to those wonderful guilty pleasure books (Victoria Holt, etc.) to my introduction to Stephen King the summer of my 13th year and the banquet provided me by YA and children's books today, each and every book is with me in some way. So, forget the list of 32 life-altering books or 10 adult books for YA readers or 10 summertime must reads. I will move on to the next book in the TBR stack and see where I go.