Which books changed your life?

What was your Hortensius? What one (or more) books had a significant influence on you early in your life?

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In Confessions Augustine recounts a significant juncture in his spiritual journey. He writes,

“…I came to a book by Cicero, whose eloquence, if not his thoughts, is admired by all. But this book of his contains an exhortation to philosophy: it is called the Hortensius. It was this book that changed my outlook, that changed my prayers and turned them to you, O Lord, and made my aspirations and desires other than they had been…..” (3.4.7)

For Augustine, Hortensius kindled within him a desire for “the immortality conferred by philosophy.” It was a turning point because he desired to read that book for it’s own value rather than as a means to increase his rhetorical ability. This shift was, according to Augustine, the beginning of his return to God.

Is there a book like that in your own life? A book whose influence changed the course of your life and made you different than you otherwise might have been?

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