How Reading Changed My Life discussion questions

  1. Quindlen’s epigraph, from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, speaks of books and reads, “how I felt it beat/Under my pillow, in the morning’s dark, An hour before the sun would let me read!” We’ve talked about books that have kept us up at night, but has a book ever gotten you up in the morning?
  2. Quindlen says, “there was always in me… the sense that I ought to be somewhere else.” (p. 3) Have you ever had that sense? 
  3. Are there any characters from your reading life that seem “more real than the real people [you know]”? (p. 4)
  4. Quindlen says books taught her who she was and who she wanted to be (p. 6). How have books taught you about yourself, your aspirations, your dreams, and your place in the world?
  5. Mrs. LoFurno was the person who changed Anna Quindlen’s life because she owned books. (p. 21)  Did you grow up in a house that housed books? How did that affect your early years?
  6. Now, do you own books or prefer to borrow or pass them along?
  7. Quindlen hesitates to press her favorite book into the hands of friends and family members, fearing it would be difficult if they found it boring. (p. 35) Do you feel that way about some books? Which ones?
  8. How Reading Changed My Life was written more than twenty years ago but talks about the changes technology has and will bring to the reading life. Quindlen quotes Plato’s warning that if people learned to read, the oral tradition would disappear (p. 67). What do you predict we will lose in an increasingly technological age? Quindlen also quotes Albert Manguel noting that technological developments often promote, rather than eliminate, what they are supposed to supersede. (p. 66)  What do you predict we will gain?

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