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Life-changing books

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Life-changing moments come in many forms. Sometimes a work of art in a museum has a transformative effect. A sunset can bring about epiphany. A great song says everything you've ever wanted to say to a loved one.

Books can have those kinds of influences on us as well, and bookseller Roxanne J. Coady and editor Joy Johannessen have queried a bunch of writers for their compilation (now out in paperback), The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them (Gotham Books, 197 pages, $11).

The Book That Changed My Life

I will admit I'd been looking at today's pick on The Book Room shelf for weeks — first in proof copy and then the final hardcover version — and resisted pulling it down, but since I kept going back to it and wondering, I thought it was about time I picked it up and at least paged through it. What I discovered was a remarkable collection of stories.

I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies From the Women of York Prison (Harper, 255 pagse, $25.95) is a book of stories written by women in the York Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison in Connecticut...

I'll Fly Away

All women possess an inner "bad girl." If you don't believe me, check out Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave (Norton, 304 pages, $24.95), edited by Ellen Sussman.

Sussman enlisted 25 other women writers to tell their own personal bad-girl stories for this provocative book of essays. Though there is a sexual element to many of the stories, each author has her own distinct idea of what being a bad girl means.

Bad Girls

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