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From the comments: Readers respond to Margaret Wente’s column on the books that changed her life

With its slower pace, summer can be great time for book lovers. As we approach the end of this season, I felt it would be nice to feature a few of the comments left on Margaret Wente’s column, The good-bad books that changed my life. Which books have stayed with you through the years?

I enjoyed this article so much - probably because I, too, devoured these same titles in my youth. I’m wondering if today’s youth tackle “tomes”. In my opinion, well written books are always provocative, which is why they’re influential. - 1Bet1

I completely enjoyed both Margaret’s column and the comments of Globe readers. Hearing all of these various perspectives made me feel as if I were being physically pulled into varying lives of human awareness, gently reminding me of why I love reading so very much while, as in this case, experiencing the mindful thoughts of others. My thanks to Margaret and these wonderful commenting Canadian voices. Interesting people, all. Excellent experience. - ForestCreature

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I picked up Ayn Rand when I read the Fountainhead, but put her down with Atlas Shrugged - the final scene with the dollar sign in the sand was too much for me. But I must say whatever her detractors may say about her (and by all accounts she was a strange woman), Rand’s The Fountainhead had one of the best defences of individualism I’d ever read .... But for soul stirring books, or ones which remain with me to this day, I have to say Tolkien, Hesse, and Dostoyevsky are the authors in my youth that spring to mind. I wouldn’t say they changed my life, but definitely laid part of the foundation of the person I’ve become. - Gizella

My pre-teen daughter is a voracious reader, devouring two or three new books a month. I read a lot at her age too. The usual stuff - Lord of the Rings and such. But by the time I’d reached my mid-teens, my interests shifted. By the time university rolled around, nearly all of my reading was non-fiction and that continued into my adult years. I still read a lot - likely more than most - but it’s entirely non-fiction. I’m sure this will sound odd, but I’ve somehow lost the gene that allows me to become absorbed into a good work of fiction. Lord knows I’ve tried to get over this, but I still find myself two or three chapters into the novel someone has recommended to me, and there’s this voice in my head saying “these people are just pretend. This whole thing never happened.” So I put the novel down and reach for a biography of Steve Jobs or some damn thing. Like I said, I know it’s odd and I can only hope that my daughter’s love of great fiction, in its written form, continues unabated into her young adult years and beyond. - RyLo

The book I read more than a few times in my teenage years was Pride and Prejudice - pretty benign compared to Exodus, Gone with the Wind and Atlas Shrugged I guess. Besides the courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy so beloved by the readers of generations, what changed my teenage mind was Austen’s acute observation of human interaction under the constraints of their social setting, the thinking, rationale and calculation behind their behavior. People’s action is often obvious and opaque at the same time. It didn’t save me grief or bring joy in my young social life but Austen helped me understand better of why it happened. - MSL from Princeton

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