The Lalastack Of Old Books And Glasses

4 Authors That Changed the Way I View the World

I am an avid reader constantly consuming different types of books. Throughout my diverse reading career, there are 4 authors that have stuck with me, constantly influencing how I go about living my day to day life. These authors have completely changed the way that I view the world, and I will always find myself going back to read their work. 


4. Yann Martel 


About two summers ago as I was combing the shelves at my local library, I came upon “The High Mountains of Portugal” and was immediately intrigued. Soon after I read “Life of Pi”, and Yann Martel immediately became an author that I would not soon forget. What really struck me about Martel’s writing is the way that he respects the natural world. Nature becomes something of another character in his books, something that challenges his protagonists while at the same time revealing to them their true selves. In multiple moments throughout “Life of Pi,” the Pacific Ocean illuminates these reflections of the sun rising and all of these beautiful colors holding onto the water. Reading these descriptions becomes something almost holy. Martel creates a spirituality of nature. In “The High Mountains of Portugal,” the mountains themselves become a guide, showing our characters to their fate or destiny. Reading Yann Martel has deeply influenced the way that I view the effect of nature in our lives, and has brought me to a deep spiritual appreciation of all that surrounds me. I can definitely say that every time I look at the sunrise or sunset, I think about Martel. 


“The vault of the world was magnificently tinted. The stars were eager to participate; hardly has the blanket of color been pulled a little then they started to shine through the deep blue.” 

-“The Life of Pi” 


3. Tom Spanbauer 


Tom. Spanbauer. Again, I discovered Spanbauer in my local library when I picked up “The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon” and I was hooked. It is true that I own every single one of his books, having read each of them multiple times. Spanbauer writes from the body. In all of his books, he uses the body as a means of expressing his main themes, some being sexuality and race. Spanbauer’s writing celebrates the body in such a way that it made me see my body as something that enhances personal discovery and individuality, rather than just something that goes along for the ride. Most of Spanbauer’s characters are growing into their sexual identities throughout his novels, and the way that these sexual awakenings are described makes something so beautiful, and it makes one feel that the body too is a spiritual thing to be taken gentle care of and praised. 


“Her heartbeat was in her hands, her heart beat the way she moved her head, her whole body was her heart beating.”

-“Now is the Hour”


2. Shūsaku Endō 


I absolutely adore Shūsaku Endō. The main themes addressed throughout Endō’s writings are religion and being an outsider and foreigner. Endō has a very interesting life story that shines through in all of his writings. Endō had a great interest in studying French Catholic authors, motivating a move from Japan to France to study, but while in France, he endured many hardships, most of them being difficult illnesses that brought him back to Japan. Something about his writing is that his books do not have conventional happy endings. Actually, for most characters, things go completely ‘wrong’ and they end up in a situation that was completely different from what they wanted or expected. However, despite situational disappointment, all of the characters get a happy ending in terms of inner life. Through the stories, you will accompany each character on a journey of spiritual and inner growth. In the end, the thing about Endō’s writing that impacted me the most was the emphasis on the growth of inner life, and the value of nurturing one’s spiritual life despite worldly circumstances. 


“To be a saint or a man of too good a nature in today's pragmatic world, with everyone out to get the other fellow, was equivalent to being a fool, wasn't it?” 

-”Wonderful Fool” 


  1. Thomas Merton


“The Seven Storey Mountain” jumped out at me about a year ago, and since then I can say that I am a very different person. In all honesty, I cannot sum up how Thomas Merton has changed my life, it’s too big to put into words. Merton was a Trappist monk, who also lived as a hermit for a few years of his life. He writes about spiritual themes and writes so incredibly about living. To be living spiritually is to be living fully as you are and having a strong desire to live for pure love. Everything finds its base in love, and to discover that is life-changing. I probably will never go a whole day without thinking about Thomas Merton at least once. Yes, I am in love with the writings of Thomas Merton, and to him, I owe my happily pursued quest to find love everywhere in the world.  


“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”

-Thomas Merton