As today is World Book Day I thought I’d do a special post on three different books which has moved me the most and why they did. It was a challenge to pick just three out of the many hundreds of book I’ve read but here they are:
1. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Metamorphosis tells the story of a young man by the name of Gregor Samsa who one day wakes up to discover that he has been turned into a giant bug. Not surprisingly, people become fearful of him. His own family rejects him and he is locked away in his room so that the world will not have to see him. Their despise for him only grows stronger as time goes by. Meanwhile sinks further and further into despair. Right until the awful end.
The main reason I felt so strongly about this book when I read it as a teenager was that it spoke to my sense of isolation. Being raised in a fundamentalist Christian community where LGBTQ-people were frequently mentioned in the same sentence with pedophiles and zoophiles, I truly believed I was repulsive to God and to my fellow human beings. Many of my time as a teenager were spent locked inside of my own room, hiding from the rest of the world. In Gregor Samsa I found someone who almost felt like a kindred spirit, someone I saw as being as isolated and alone as I felt.
Luckily, I’ve come a long way since I was a angsty Christian teen and I am now a very happy Atheist. But the story of poor Gregor Samsa will always touch my heart in a way many other books never could.
2. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
This story inspired by the author and his friends’ travels across the USA touched me for reasons that have little to do with the actual plot. Almost anyone could write a text about their travels. No, what really moved me was the feeling of it. The sense of longing for freedom, for truly living life itself. For it, as Kerouac himself would have expressed it.
On the Road was the very first book which really gave me a longing for living life. It helped me through depression and gave me hope in the midst of very dark thoughts. Jack Kerouac is without a doubt one of the authors who have changed my life in the most profound ways. In fact, I felt so grateful to him that I picked the first name of my author name after him.
3. Just Kids by Patti Smith
The only non-fiction book on this list, Just Kids could also be put on the very short list of “Books that made me cry like a baby.” It tells the very touching story of the remarkable relationship of Smith with gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. From the New York art scene of the 60’s and 70’s when they would hang out with such cultural icons as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Allen Ginsberg to the tragic passing of Mapplethorpe from AIDS in 1989, this story will make you feel like few books can make you feel.
If I had to give this book a rating, I would give it the highest possible rating. It is a must read, without a doubt.