Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life." ~Helen Exley

I have always been an avid reader.  As a kid I enjoyed learning about life through the eyes of Judy Blume.  As a teenager I moved onto fictional series such as V.C. Andrews and trashy romance novels by Danielle Steele.  Shortly thereafter, it was all about "What to Expect When You're Expecting" by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. There is no doubt a good book can take you to far away places and remove you from the daily grind.  Just like a good movie, a well-crafted tale entices you, envelopes you, then makes you both anticipate and despise the last page.  For me, the coup de grace of a great book is one that leaves you wishing the author had written more.

Even though these days I have to do a lot of reading for school,  I still take any chance I can get (like 45 minutes while my kids are at tae kwon do class twice a week or even 5 minutes while waiting in line at the bank...) to read for pleasure.  But at this point in my life what I consider worthy material has changed a great deal since I was a teenage girl, or even what I chose to read as a young adult.

As with everything else it seems, our tastes change as time moves on and life experience provides the path for new ways of thinking.  I thought I would share with you the top five books that have opened my mind, heart, and/or soul over the past few years.

1.  Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic.  This is the most inspiring book I have ever read!  He can also be seen on You Tube.

2.  The Five Things We Cannot Change and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them by David Richo

3.  The Shack by Wm. Paul Young...this is an amazing fictional story (albiet controversial) and one I would LOVE to see made into a movie!

4.  From Binge to Blackout by Chris and Toren Volkmann.  Great book about a mother and son journey through addiction.  I probably read this book at least four times during the summer of 2008.

5.   The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Couric.  So good and so easy to pick up and put down whenever I had a chance to read for even 5 minutes that I gave it as a gift to several relatives and family friends who graduated from high school this past June.

I always keep a book in the car or in my purse.  The book I am currently reading is entitled, "God Never Blinks, 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours" by Regina Brett.  My favorite lesson so far is Lesson #18: A Writer is Someone Who Writes.  So if you Want to be a Writer, Write!  Totally fits my life these days!

I have found I am now inspired by reading about other people's challenges.  I find this helps me keep my own life in perspective.  I would love to know, what books inspire you?