“A book that changed my life” is not an easy theme for me personally. Mainly because, from my point of view, every book (or almost every book) I read changed my life in one way or another, so I could stop at many, many titles and make lists of reasons why they played such an important role for me.
I decided, however, to “dig deep” within my memories and find the very first book that influenced me, and I realized that it was actually the first book of stories that I read when I was about 5-6 years old, the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales. I know this is not one of the books you probably expected me to mention, but I realized that this was the book that opened my mind towards literature, towards reading, towards the world of fantasy, and it is worth mentioning as much as any other “heavy literature” or philosophy or whatever else.
Those stories built inside my mind as a child so many images, so many ideas, and they “injected” me with an endless hunger for reading, so I owe them a very large share of my present. Sure, there are people nowadays who say that those stories have less educational aspects, passages that may horrify (personally I don’t remember EVER having nightmares because of them), but what they forget is that these stories (Grimm’s and not only those) bear in them the water of magic, which is the best water that can nurture a child’s mind. Children NEED stories, in order to establish a scale of values, in order to develop their imagination, in order to understand certain aspects of this world which complex words cannot explain to them. And you would be amazed what a sharp sense of good and bad children can get from stories :).
So yes, this is the very first book that changed my life, and this is why I chose to tell you about it: because it was the first door to understanding life which I opened by myself and which opened all the other doors, because it made me NEED to read the same way I needed to breathe. Because it made me see that books are the air of the human mind.
– Lilianna Negoi
© 2016, essay, Lilianna Negoi, All rights reserved; the brothers Grimm statue photograph is in the public domain; the book cover is Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Household Stories from the Collection of the Bros. Grimm (Avenel Books, 1973) fair use