Five Books That Changed My Life

by Ralph Gamelli

The first of these was just some typical children's book which made it pretty clear that reading was an incredibly boring experience, even with colorful illustrations. The second book - a geography textbook that I brought down on the head of Marty Sussman - taught me that being a bully doesn't always have to involve scraped knuckles. The third book was a battered old paperback someone had left behind on the subway, and which I attempted to shove down the throat of a fellow passenger who looked at me the wrong way. My court-ordered psychiatrist forced me to read the fourth book, a self-help volume that, along with therapy, changed my whole outlook on life, including my relationships with others. After that, I tracked down some of the people who had been on the receiving end of my anti-social behavior and apologized to them, which is how I encountered the fifth book - a John Grisham hardcover brought down on my head by Marty Sussman. Now that I'm doing thirty years for murder, some of the born-again types in here are recommending I read the Bible, which they claim is a thousand times better than any self-help book, but I tell them I've had my fill of books, five is more than enough.


Ralph Gamelli's work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Morning News, The Big Jewel and Yankee Pot Roast. (Click here to make a donation to Ralph, half of which will support 6S.)