I have three reading experiences which have shaped my life. One is reading Tess and falling in love with her and falling in love with literature at the same time. Another is discovering little Oskar in The Tin Drum and understanding that the world can be changed if you make it happen but, even if you do, the results will never be controllable.
And the third was reading One Hundred Years of Solitude and realising the astounding scope available to writers and readers of literature. Until then, I'd read a fairly sober diet of western classics and modern thrillers. Marquez's magic realism was something I'd never encountered before. I will never forget the experience of reading the last half dozen pages of that novel for the first time. I was so excited I couldn't sit still. I had to stand up and walk about as I read it. I have never felt so personally and emotionally involved in the act of reading before or since, and I will never experience so close a connection again.