Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books That Changed My Reading Life #T5T

January 25, 2022

Top 5 Books That Changed My Reading Life

a graphic picture of a blond girl holding an open blue book

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books That Changed My Life.

***This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Top 5 Books That Changed My Reading Life

Of course, this is an IMPOSSIBLE TASK because almost every book I read changes my life in some way!

So for today’s prompt, I’m highlighting 5 books…well….maybe 6 books that were early influencers in changing the trajectory of my reading life.

1. The Book Responsible For My Love of Historical Fiction

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (cover)

 I immersed myself in Gone With the Wind early in my high school years. I don’t think I even knew what historical fiction was! However, GWtW was my first really big, substantial, adult book. I lost myself in that world, lived with those characters, and suffered my first book hangover. (I have no idea if it holds up to a reread and I’m afraid to find out!)

2. The Book Responsible For Introducing Me to Binge Reading a Series

Nancy Drew Mystery Series

Nancy Drew 10 Book Collection

I couldn’t get my hands on the next installment fast enough! Today, I have no self-control if I start a series.

3. The Book Responsible For My Love of Family Drama

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

I loved this family and the dynamics between all the characters. I especially loved independent and feisty Jo! (I wouldn’t mind a reread!)

4. The Book Responsible For My Fascination With WW11

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (cover)

Before I started reading WW11 historical fiction, I read this compelling memoir.

5. The Book Responsible For My Love of Biography

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (cover)

My fascination with ordinary people living extraordinary lives started here.

6. (you know I can’t stop at 5!)
The Book Responsible For My Love of Diverse Reads

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (cover) Image: gold and white text over a background of a city

This is the first diverse read recorded in my Goodreads database (2013). I may have read some diverse reads earlier in my life, but this was the year I committed to increasing my percentage of diverse reads.


Where did your journey and love of reading certain genres begin?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



  1. I read four of your books, and some of them have changed my life, as well. Nice twist on our topic today.
    I would love to read the Bonhoeffer biography, I’ve read others about him but not this one. Nancy Drew, I guess I’m a tad too old to get into that anymore. LOL

    My TTT this week.

  2. YES!! Little Women and Nancy Drew books were staples in my childhood!! I swear i read every Nancy Drew book that my local library had. And I still love the whole Little Women series.
    Hope you had fun this week 💕

  3. We have a few similar books in our top 5 list. I gobbled up the Nancy Drew series when I was young. It probably set off my lifelong love of mystery books. I would also put Agatha Christie on my top five list, too. I read all of them when I was in college.

    I also read Gone With the Wind in my early teenage years. At the time, it was probably the longest book I had read. The Thornbirds also deserves an honorable mention.

    The Kite Runner really opened my eyes to stories set in the Middle East. I have always read diverse books, but I thought this one was really special.

    I would put the The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes on my list. It sparked my love of historical novels. I read the entire series one summer when I was in college.

    Harry Potter would also go on my list. First, it was the first fantasy series that I read. I thought it was remarkable that both my 5th grade son and I could enjoy the same book. He would read a book, then it was passed to me while he listened to the audiobook version. It took us 18 months to get through the series, and I felt so sad because the characters had been part of my reading life for such a long time.

    For some reason, I have never been able to finish Little Women. It didn’t really appeal to me when I was younger.

    • It’s funny that I devoured Nancy Drew but I don’t love mysteries. So I concluded that it must have been the fact that I like a series!

      Awwww yes! All the Thornbirds love!

      It’s so special to share beloved books with your child! He will always remember!

      I don’t know Kent Family Chronicles….need to look that up.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Adrienne!

  4. What a great post, Carol. I have read all of these except Bonhoeffer, but it is on my TBR. I will say there are so many books that have changed my reading habits and choices, but not sure if I could come up with specific ones like you did. Bravo!

    • We have so many great reading experiences that affect our reading lives! It’s difficult to choose a few! I had to go with my first ideas and then shut my brain down!

  5. Great post, Carol! And it’s really got me thinking. I didn’t read Nancy Drew, but I did read all of the Boxcar Children books and Encyclopedia Brown. I think they gave me my love for mystery and also for series. Beyond that I would have to think a while! I can see why you had to shut your brain down.

  6. You’ve set my brain whirring, trying to think how I’d answer this. Some books have been influential at different times of my life – Macbeth when I was 14 for example, Orwell when I was 17 then into my early 20s and first job when a book from a newspaper columnist was so important in helping me find my own style of writing.

    Using your approach i’d say, Great Expectations changed my mind about Dickens who I’d always thought of as being terribly wordy. Jean Plaidy got me enthused about history when I was about 11 years old – now `i think I would find her rather uninspiring. The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott ignited an interest in novels set in and written by Indian authors. I’m sure there are more…

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