Pat Conroy, in a lecture at UNC my freshman year, said, "A book can change your life, and change it forever."
I didn't actually attend the lecture, but I read the quote the following day in the DTH and it has stuck with me. I read a lot. And not just books, but also magazines, news and web articles, blogs, Wikipedia entries, and quotations. Put something with words in front of me and at the very least I will skim over it.
And though I still maintain that it is utterly impossible for me to choose a favorite book, there are several that I give as stock answers. Books that are honestly old friends, that are there in the happy times for celebration and hard times for support. To Kill a Mockingbird. The Bell Jar. O! Pioneers. The Diary of Anne Frank. The Notebook.
And, The Little Prince, which I already own. I bought another copy today at the used book store, a hardback, with a dedication in the front. My new thing. In all the used books I've bought over the years, I can't think of a single one with a hand-written note in it.
The book was first published in 1943. The note inside is 21 years old. And both still resonate. More and more each day. I hope that whomever Lynda gave it to got some use out of it. Maybe I shouldn't have bought it, maybe I should have left it for someone else. Or maybe I'll just keep it for a little while and pay it forward later.