Which Book Changed Your Life?
(I find the fact that this question is entirely capitalized hilarious.)
I’ll give you two answers. The first is The Lord of the Rings; not solely because it is a fantasy classic, but because of the fandom boom in 2001 to 2003. As a military brat, I grew up without much of a community beyond school. (My brother had it worse, though; we finally settled in Georgia when I was in fifth grade.) While I wouldn’t count myself as an active participant (I was in middle school at the time), it was when I discovered fandom—not simply seeking out fanworks and consuming them, but the discussion and affectionate parody that I find colors most laid-back fandoms. Fandom gave me a community when I had little to none, and it was—and remains to this day—a welcoming place full of interesting, witty women and the media they love. I had yet to find a spine, but it was a huge step in becoming a fully realized human being.
The, uh, less mushy answer is Jacqueline Carey’s The Sundering, the duet composed of Banewreaker and Godslayer, a fantastic deconstruction of The Lord of the Rings. While I’d been expecting something good, I suppose I was approaching it in more of an academic fashion. It completely blew me away with how lovingly it presented the darkness of traditional high fantasy and, almost unbelievably, a sense of hope after the end. I consider it life-changing because it’s a series I’ll always remembering reading and being awed by.