Share Your “Groundbreaking Reads”

Artwork by by Shane RebensheidThe theme for this year’s Adult Summer Reading program is “Groundbreaking Reads,” and we are looking for titles to fill out our book list. So, what books do you find “groundbreaking”? They could be books that have had a major impact on you personally, important works of literary achievement or things you just think everyone should read. We’re leaving the definition of groundbreaking up to you. Share your list of books in the comments section and stay tuned for more information about “Groundbreaking Reads.”

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13 Responses to Share Your “Groundbreaking Reads”

  1. Lauren says:

    Warning: this is an English major’s answer! My groundbreaking reads are feminist works I encountered in high school and college: “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf, and “Adrienne Rich’s Poetry and Prose.” I was also pretty affected by Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in an “oh-my-gosh-this-could-actually-happen” kind of way.

  2. Heather says:

    “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell and “Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton are two that spring to mind for me.

  3. Dana says:

    “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski is an incredible, complex, trippy book. Written as a story within a story about a manuscript, it as different fonts, media, and voices. It is creepy, disturbing and entirely one of a kind. It has a great multi-media tie-in with the album “Haunted” by Poe, who is Danielewski’s sister.

  4. Tonya C says:

    Sula was definitely groundbreaking for me personally. I felt like the book left me wide open, it was so raw. Meridian by Alice Walker talks about groundbreaking moments in 1960s history, plus the book changed the way I saw the world . Both are really powerful works.

  5. John says:

    It is surely a cliche, but “Moby-Dick” literally changed the way I saw novels or fiction when I first read it in college. It plays with the form of the novel in fascinating ways and asks the biggest possible questions about how we understand ourselves and the world around us.

  6. Eric says:

    “Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth.” A comic book (or “Graphic Novel,” whatever) that is an achievement in art, graphic design, and literature. Plus, intricate paper-cutout patterns for constructing three-dimensional models!

  7. Ida says:

    “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters. The voices of the late citizens of the fictional town of Spoon River, reflecting on their lives and relationships.
    “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Leguin. Set on a planet where there is no set gender, this story examines and upends assumptions about power and gender relations. How are business, politics and daily lives affected when anyone can be a mother or a father, and many people are both?

  8. Elinor says:

    “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle. This ‘unlikely bestseller’ won the Newbery Award in 1963 and I still remember rubbing my fingers over the beautiful award sticker on the front of a brand new, pristine copy on the shelf of my 6th grade classroom book cupboard. I was the first to get to read it and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the concept of a tesseract and the big questions about the universe, good vs. evil and the power of love presented in this gripping story. Evil was palpable in the form of IT and the risks of totalitarianism on the dismal planet Camazotz, overcome by the resourcefulness and courage of Meg, the irresistible heroine. This was the first book I’d read where I felt like I was engaged in an intelligent conversation with an author and it was thrilling.

  9. Michelle says:

    The most ground-breaking non-fiction books for me have probably been “Knitting Without Tears” and “The Joy of Geocaching”. Both of these have opened up new hobbies to me. Through those hobbies, I’ve met new friends, exercised my creativity, body, and mind.

  10. Zora says:

    “Lord of the Rings”, hands down, best book ever written. Not only is it a seriously epic tale with amazing detail and description, allowing one to feel as if they are in fact in Middle Earth, but it’s also a story of friendship, and of working together, with no one hero who could’ve done anything on their own. Not to mention the powerful message at the end that war has no battleground, but always comes home. Truly great work! If only there had been more ladies with bada** roles, kinda like Eowyn!

  11. Svetlana says:

    “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy. (I’m from Russia after all :).) I’ve read it three times: the first time at the age of 9 (don’t ask what I could possibly get out of it at that age), then at the age of 18, and at the age of 28.

  12. Kris says:

    American Gods – or really anything written by Neil Gaiman. His treatment of religion and what gives ideas “power” made me rethink my beliefs and religion in general.

  13. Caitlin says:

    I would recommend “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar,” a collection of articles the best-selling author of “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed, wrote as an anonymous online advice columnist. It is filled with beautiful reflections on what life can throw your way, and her writing is very raw, irreverant, and moving. I recommended it to so many people! The format is great for picking up and devouring at a moment’s notice, and each piece made me feel like I could become a better person.