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This is a question This book changed my life

The Goat writes, "Some books have made a huge impact on my life." It's true. It wasn't until the b3ta mods read the Flashman novels that we changed from mild-mannered computer operators into heavily-whiskered copulators, poltroons and all round bastards in a well-known cavalry regiment.

What books have changed the way you think, the way you live, or just gave you a rollicking good time?

Friendly hint: A bit of background rather than just a bunch of book titles would make your stories more readable

(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:11)
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Lost in a Good Book
Lots of people claim that books have shaped their life, and it's true. They shape the way we think, the way we react, the way we prefer our Martinis. One book, however, has done far more than that for me - and it's because of one thing the author wrote:

His name.

The book was The Eyre Affair, and the author Jasper Fforde. I had already read the sequel - Lost in a Good Book - and had been drawn into an inventive, hypnotic crime thriller set in the dirty backstories of the English canon. Miss Haversham was a girl racer, Poe's Raven a poetry prison, Wales a communist state where it sometimes doesn't rain.

I could tell you the whole story of how I discovered Fforde - the nervous breakdown at university; the summer spent avoiding the world by staying under a duvet with Mallory, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Melville; the moment of serendipity where I suffered a panic attack in WH Smith and grabbed a book at random just so that I could get out and hide from the world again without anyone thinking I was odd. Instead, I won't. All I will tell you is that I ended up with a sequel that made no sense as all the explanation was in the first book, that I read the whole thing in one overnight session, and that I laughed for the first time in months.

Then I bought The Eyre Affair, and my life was changed forever.

When I got home, I wasn't sure if I could cope with the excitement. I hadn't felt anticipation for anything since the breakdown, and I felt giddy with the emotion. Like Charlie with the chocolate bar, the only way to cope was to nibble the very corner and ease myself in gently. I opened the title page and saw a biro mark. Someone had written in MY book, that I had only just bought.

The penny dropped.

It was signed. At least, there was a biro scribble in the book, on the right page and with approximately the same letters as the author's name. But surely authors weren't coming to Evesham (pop. two asparagus fields) to sign books, were they? Terrified that I had been fooled by a biro-wielding ned, I settled down to read.

The book was everything I hoped for. Honestly, if you like literature than read The Eyre Affair - the central gag is that Jane Eyre is kidnapped and the book ceases to exist because it's written in the first person, but there's plenty more lunacy where that came from. The signature nagged at me though, and the only course of action was to turn to the interweb.

Again, I'll skip the story - the hunting for the website, the discovery that the author regularly signs books at random as they're packed for distribution, that my signature was real. All that matters is I started posting on the forums on his website. Stupid things - literary parodies, Eminem's Stan as written by Shakespeare, the Curious Case of Getrude Jekyl and Mr Hyde... The author even borrowed a couple of my jokes and slipped me into another book as an extremely minor character.

BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT CHANGED MY LIFE.

What changed my life was a girl who I met on the forums. She was German and liked Shakespeare. She was funny and taught me how to read critically. She could beat me in an argument, could spend all night typing rubbish and could spot the rare moments I was being sensible. I invited her over to England to see the RSC and she never left.

We're now expecting our first child and get married next year. That book changed the whole direction of my life. It started by giving me a good laugh when I was at my lowest ebb, and it's left me - through an enormous slice of luck and fortune - happier than I've ever known.

Not bad for an inch thickness of dead tree.

Actual length depends on soft- or hardback edition...
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 22:37, closed)
And what you have just written
has inspired me to go home and re-read The Eyre Affair. I enjoyed it the first time I read it. I shall enjoy it much more with this at the back of my mind.

In fact, fuck it. I think I'll buy Lost in a Good Book this weekend.

Thank you for, well, all of that.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 22:42, closed)
A good book indeed
I work and a bookstore and I have recommended that one successfully a few times to people who want a good book but not a heavy drama or objectionable material. And they tend to come back for the sequels.

Beautiful story. (yours, I mean) Congratulations!
(, Fri 16 May 2008, 4:14, closed)
Wow!
What a lovely story.

Good luck to you and yours.
(, Fri 16 May 2008, 8:46, closed)
i agree with BGB
lovely story :)
(, Fri 16 May 2008, 11:01, closed)
Congrats!
That's an amazing story. The Eyre Affair is in my pile of books to read, and it may have just moved itself even further towards the top
(, Fri 16 May 2008, 13:08, closed)

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