I am a lawyer and linguist by training, and I love writing.
The book that changed my relationship with all writing was required reading at high school. It is a book that deals with the collision of two antagonistic worlds, individuals, and political systems. I recall being enthralled, appalled, and shocked by that book. I couldn't stop talking about it, thinking about it, and maybe even dreaming about it. Many years later, the book's impression remains undiminished. That book is Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. It taught me that good books change lives.
My own work, not Shakespearean at all for any number of reasons, tries to deal with similar themes. The California Ballot Killings explores how individuals from different worlds construct their lives and sense of self through small, powerful choices that cumulatively change them and others.