The Influence of a Good Book: Finding Myself and Learning About the World

Getting lost has been good for me. No, I do not mean getting lost in a city or in the woods, but I have benefited from getting lost in the world of books. Throughout my journeys in castles, magical lands, and modern day cities, I have learned a lot about myself and the world around me through the characters I have met and the adventures I go on.

Every book that I have read has added a brushstroke to my painting of knowledge, and my painting of imagination, and two books in particular, The Two Princesses of Bamarre and The Other Boleyn Girl, have done their part in helping develop me and my mind.

I enjoyed The Two Princesses of Bamarre as an independent reading book in my 5th grade class; but I did not understand the impact this book would have on my own character. Currently, people would describe me as the girl who always wants to complete a task, and this is the polar opposite of how I would describe myself as a ten-year-old. I was the girl who did not talk to a lot of people because I was afraid of rejection, and I did not talk in class or speak up for myself because I was afraid of failure. I was inspired by the shy protagonist Addie because I realized that it is possible to transform, and that other people’s criticisms can be overshadowed by a sense of self-accomplishment. While The Two Princesses of Bamarre helped shape my personality, The Other Boleyn Girl helped shape my knowledge of how the world works.

The Other Boleyn Girl displays a vision of the world that is both immensely positive and brutally negative, which I found extremely honest. As this book takes places in King Henry VIII’s court, every bit of the story and history is dramatic, but the underlying tones are extremely informative. Mary Boleyn’s survival taught me that those who are truly good can survive dire times. However, on the other hand, people like George Boleyn experience failure because they find themselves in bad circumstances as a result of the harmful people they surround themselves with. The Other Boleyn Girl, which I read when I was twelve, also marked a transition in the books I loved, from books that could be considered for children to books for adults.

When I was a little girl, I used to wake up at 3am to read any book I could get my fingers on. My taste in books has changed from fantasy novels to historical fiction, as these different types of books mark different stages of my life. But my love of - and the knowledge that I have gained from -  literature has remained consistent in my nineteen years.

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