Books have the power to change your life in a number of ways. Read the stories below to find out how books have influenced the lives of our reading role models:
Ben and Libby Crawford
Sir Peter Jackson
“When I was 14 my mother gave me Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was a hardcover – and I treasured it.
“So many strands of my life lead back to this book. I held my first dinner party at 15 – a total disaster! Yet even then I realised the joy of cooking and presenting meals, gathering friends and family around a table.”
“Early in my adventures I found myself in Brazil, and again cooking came to my rescue, helping me earn self-sufficiency through baking pastry. I learned the language of food truly is international.
“When I returned to New Zealand, at a crossroads career-wise, I even wrote to Julia seeking guidance. And she answered, leading me straight to Seattle and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
“You could say I ended up where I am today in part as a result of that wonderful gift of a book.”
Ben and Libby Crawford
“Read for the fun of it!”
“A powerful, inspiring story I read when I was 10 gave me the feeling I could achieve anything. The optimism of PK, the young hero in The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, and his unrelenting pursuit of his goals, has been a strong thread in my life,” explains Ben. “It’s a brilliant story and has shaped a lot of my thinking.”
“I read for enjoyment,” says Libby, “and I especially loved John Marsden’s series, starting with Tomorrow When the War Began. I was 13 and it was the first book I read that I couldn’t put down. There was a young female lead I really related to. I could see everything through her eyes.”
“It was the first author and series I’d followed. In fact, I loved the books so much I remember waiting outside a bookshop each time a new one arrived!”
No matter your age, Libby and Ben both agree reading is fun. “The characters in a good book stay with you.”
“This book unlocked my imagination!”
“This book started my interest in reading,” says Oscar of A Book of Charms and Changelings, a series of folk stories and fairy tales' edited and retold by Ruth Manning-Sanders.
“I loved the story nature of these tales – and really connected with them, despite them being from other countries. In fact, this lovely book taught me the universal nature of stories, no matter who you are or where you’re from. And it unlocked my imagination – a very good thing!”
No matter where you’re from, Oscar knows books open up your imagination and your world. “I bought the book again last year just to re-read it!”
A Book of Charms and Changelings is a 1972 anthology of 15 fairy tales from around the world that have been collected and retold by Ruth Manning-Sanders. It is one in a long series of such anthologies by Manning-Sanders.
This book was first published in the United Kingdom in 1971, by Methuen & Co. Ltd.
“It inspires me and perks me up.”
Dom’s not certain when his passion for reading began, but certainly as an adult his library is now filled with biographies and non-fiction, for the most part.
“I like reading about successful people, and what makes them tick,” he explains.
Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall is a book he keeps by his bedside to refer to again and again. “I have given it to a number of friends. I tell them it’ll change their lives.
“It’s the most amazing, well-told story. It explains the human body and how we are actually designed to run. If you’re not a runner, it’ll get you into it. “Whenever I pick up this book my passion is reignited.”
Sir Peter Jackson
“I was 18 when I first read The Lord of the Rings. To give myself something to do on the 12-hour train journey to Auckland, I bought myself The Lord of the Rings and I sat there watching the landscape of New Zealand sliding by the train window while reading the story.
“I would love to say I had this vision of making the film, but when you’re 18 years old and a photo engraving apprentice you can’t possibly imagine you’re going to be making The Lord of the Rings one day, much less the entire epic fantasy that begins with The Hobbit. I thought, wow, this would make a great film.
“When I began to get very excited about what computers could do – showing things that up to then had really been impossible to do on film, The Lord of the Rings came to my mind. It had been nearly 20 years since I had read the book so I immediately read it again.
“I still had the same copy on my shelf.”