I have always been a voracious reader, but the pity is that I used to be indiscriminate in my reading habit. I would read and book which I could lay my hand onorany book the bindingorthe blurb of which caught my fancy at the moment. But when I grew up I found that books have to be usefulorthey would be much more harmful that a bad habit, and also that life is too short for us to waste it reading inferiororuseless books. To read choice books can save time and we would thus be able to read more of them. The question of choosing good and suitable books, however, was once my greatest coming and it came in the form of a book, the Chinese translation of a book by the famous English writer W.S Maugham in which he introduces his readers to the best of world literature. I got the book by chance. I took part in a simulated entrance examination and won the ninth prize, the book I have just mentioned. I was delighted that Maugham, shows not only the content of each of the major works in his mind but also the way to read it. Thanks to this book I have come to know what is really meant by the literary spirit and what are the ingredients of great books. I would call it the most influential book in my life and would like to recommend it to all those lovers of literature.
No book has ever influenced me so much as The old Man and the Sea It is a novelette by Ernest Hemingway about a fisherman named Santiago who finally proved himself a hero by his courage perseverance and confidence After eighty-four days of unsuccessful fishing the weather-beaten yet well-experienced old man decided to go into the Gulf Stream to catch a big fish Thus on the eighty-fifth day he went aloe in his skiff and hooked a big marlin After struggling with it for two days and two nights he at last killed the big fish Exhausted but happy he returned with the fish Exhausted but happy he returned with the fish lashed to the skiff but on his homeward journey both he and the fish were attacked by sharks and upon his arrival at the harbor in Havanaz there was nothing but the big skeleton of the fish to prove his heroism at sea At the close of the story I was deeply struck by the iron will of the protagonist. "A man is not made for defeat," said the old man. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated." Such words are a fillip to me when I look back on my failure in the entrance examination last year. I was then so upset that I even questioned the meaning of existence. Yet the Hemigway book brings home to me the truth of the saying "Failure is the mother of success," which I have never taken seriously before. I also know that the will to struggle is what counts, not the result thereof. With the understanding that no man is perfect, I regain the confidence in my ability to study harder. I believe I can make it this year.
The story of my life by Helen Keller is the most influential book in my life. It abounds with courage, struggle and faith throughout. Helen Keller was once in deep despair in her childhood, but finally she decided to overcome her physical defects and live happily. Furthermore, she showed great patience in her long and hard learning period. I have learned, above all, three lessons from her story. First, she taught me that often the road to success is to face hardships unflinchingly. Maybe you are born under an ill star yet you can stand a better chance than others. It is therefore important that you screw up your courage when courage is needed. Second, the impairment of part of her senses did not prevent her from learning: on the contrary, she had made continual efforts to go deeper into the realm of knowledge her fortitude had thus helped her overcome many handicaps. Third, she advised that we should make the most of our sense-organs as if we would lose them soon because this way we would observe the world more carefully than ever before. The book is inspiring in that it is one brimming over with the unbending will of a gallant woman beset with seemingly insurmountable difficulties. I hope I can be as courageous as she.
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