Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, Jeanette Winterson
I'm going to be thinking about this one---the story of Winterson's growing up adopted, and finding her biological mother, but about so much more than that, too---for quite some time.
One of the most powerful aspects was her emphasis on reading as redemption, as a means of expanding one's world when it feels impossibly small. Read broadly, she says:
Reading things that are relevant to the facts of your life is of limited value. The facts are, after all, only the facts, and the yearning passionate part of you will not be met there. That is why reading ourselves as a fiction as well as fact is so liberating. The wider we read the freer we become.
And read to unleash yourself; let literature take you in a new direction:
There's a lot of talk about the tame world versus the wild world. It is not only a wild nature that we need as human beings; it is the untamed open space of our imaginations. Reading is where the wild things are.