Books That Changed My Life

I’m planning to write a post about my reading goals for this year. I was inspired by Rezina who managed to read 88 years books in 2017! I did set myself a target of 50 books last year, but I didn’t manage to reach it. This year, however, with the help of Tara and her library of eBooks, I am totally gonna smash my goal.

Have you ever read a book and after you read it you felt like your whole life changed? Or you started questioning your existence? Or ultimately just stared into space after reading, wishing that you had the chance to read it all over again for the first time? There have been a few books that have done for me, and these are books that I know even if I read them, again and again, I will never get bored.

Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter had to be mentioned first, especially as J. K. Rowling is the one who inspired me to write. Rowling built the perfect world for me to escape into – witches/wizards, spells, potions, fantastic beasts. She had me wanting to whiz down Diagon Alley, play Quidditch and sincerely hope that I would receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter when I turned 11 (I’m still waiting).

It was always such a joy to follow Harry on his adventures at Hogwarts and subsequently watch him grow up. It wasn’t just the fantasy part that was good; I loved how it tackled relationships both romantic and platonic, those awkward teenage phases, school stress, etc.

Harry Potter is no doubt one of my favourites and I will sincerely miss the feeling of a new book being released.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Image result for captain corelli's mandolin bookI’m going to tell you a secret (well, it’ll no longer a secret once this is published): I had a crush on Captain Corelli. ?

I remember having to read this book for English GCSEs and I don’t know what it was, but I absolutely adored the character. I even wrote ‘Captain Corelli <3’ in pen on my Converse. I don’t blame you if you’re judging me, right now.

This book was one of the first historical fiction books I read. Before I had mostly been reading YA books, but when I read this book I was immediately sucked in. It has always been the book that stuck out to me whenever I think about books that have changed my life – it left a deep impression on me because of its themes of totalitarianism such as Fascism, Nazism and Communism.

The Color Purple

Image result for the color purple book coverI remember after finishing this book, I was sat on my sofa for a full 10 minutes thinking, “Wow.”

When a book makes me cry, I feel that sadness all the way to the bottom of my heart that sometimes it actually hurts. The relationships that Alice Walker forges throughout the book, specifically the female ones are so strong. I love the female bonds formed to allow women to help each other fight the oppression and dominance by men.

This book spans over 30 years and is told through letters that Celie sends to her sister, Nettie. I like that the point of view is from Celie and because of the letter format, it made the book confessional much like a diary.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Image result for the handmaid's tale book coverI am a big fan of dystopian fiction – The Handmaid’s Tale was the first dystopian novel I read and it’s left a huge mark on me, especially in the current social climate that we are living in. It may have been published 30+ years ago, but it’s still relevant today.

There are many themes that Margaret Atwood covers including gender, class, religion. Just one of them covered is the culture of victim blaming that Offred, the main character, highlights through a flashback – something that still happens now. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those books that could be served as a prediction – much like George Orwell’s 1984 – which also makes it slightly terrifying. Nevertheless, this book is high on my list of books you must read before you die!

Even though it has been made into a TV series, I’m still cautious about watching it because many a time have my favourite books been turned into live action and just bombed. I’ve heard it’s good so I may give the first episode a try.

The Secret History

Image result for the secret history book coverThis book knocked me out.

It is one of the lengthiest books I’ve ever read, and it took me a while to read – a shock because I usually devour books as fast as I devour my food (0.02 seconds flat), but this is the sort of book that I had to take time to get my head around.

This book isn’t a ‘whodunnit’ but rather a ‘whydunnit’. From the get-go, you know exactly what has happened, but the book delves into the why this happened and weaves a tale of the many complicated main characters. It was hard for me to feel sorry for some the characters, but I think that a writer that skilfully makes you hate a character with the fire of a thousand suns has done well. You can’t like everyone – it’s a reflection of real life.

Half of a Yellow Sun

Image result for half of yellow sun book coverFor someone who didn’t know anything about Biafra, this book opened my eyes and then some.

Centring on twin sisters, Olanna and Kainene, the book not only covers the ruinous effects of war but also love, loyalty, betrayal, and how complicated relationships are. There’s something beautiful in the way Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes that sucked me right in and I felt like I was living in that world in the book I was reading.

The book for me is a history lesson but something that I can get behind because the way it is written is so much more immersive and engaging.

I developed such an emotional investment in the characters, that I was really sad when the novel came to an end. I found myself flipping the pages with vigour, wanting to know what was going to happen next now now now. I would highly recommend you read this book as it not only educates you but because of the passion behind it, as well.

Have you read any books that have changed your life? Let me know in the comments below! 

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  • Tara

    Ooooh, I love seeing what books changed people lives as we all have those books that made a big impact on us. From your list, the only one I can relate to is Harry Potter, because damn that book series impacted me big time to the point where I was really into its fandom for years. Girl, I could write a whole blog post about how Harry Potter affected me, and all the love I had for it to where I even skipped class to read the last book that came out, haha!

    I need to check out The Handmaid’s Tale since I do like dystopic novels! And I’ve not read The Color Purple, but I’ve watched its movie with all of its realism.

    Anyway, I hope you will reach your reading goal this year. May my library be a good use to you <3

    • Chynna

      I miss Harry Potter so much ?? YOU SHOULD DEFFO WRITE A WHOLE BLOG POST!

      I definitely think you’ll enjoy The Handmaid’s Tale, so lmk if you do read it and we shall discuss 😀

  • Heather Rowland

    I love the look of these books – the only one I’ve read from the list is Harry Potter but I’ll definitely give the others a go (I’m particularly intrigued by the Handmaid’s Tale). Such a great idea for a post – I too can think of loads of books that’ve had a huge impact on me!

    Heather xoxo

  • Cat

    I didn’t know about most of the books on this list, so thanks for sharing! You describe each book in a way that it makes me totally want to give them a try. “The Secret History” especially sounds interesting, and I’ve been thinking of reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” after I saw that a show was made for it. I also think that’s great that JK Rowling was the one who inspired you to write!

    There were a couple books that changed my life, but in a way that made me view what I do differently, I guess? Like reading “The Design of Everyday Things” changed how I view user design and interfaces, and “The Photographer’s Eye” made me hate my old photos and inspired me to change my photography style.

    • Chynna

      The two books you mentioned I /urge/ you to read them. They are so good!

      I love informational books as well. I remember reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*ck” and it completely changed my outlook on how I do things in my life. Crazy that!

  • Amy

    Harry Potter is one of the first books that made me want to be an author too! As soon as I read it, I started writing my own version, because I thought it was the best thing ever. I obviously had no idea what plagiarism was back then! It’s such a magical world and I always want it to be real whenever I read it. Where’s my Hogwarts letter?!

    The Color Purple made me cry too. We had to study it in our final year of uni, so I had to re-cry another six times to prep for the exam. I love the characters and Celie’s reaction to what’s going on around her. Such an important book!

    I’ve not read The Handmaid’s Tale, but it’s definitely on my TBR. I heard so many great reviews for the series, but I’d prefer to read the book first. It sounds really interesting.

    Harry Potter’s definitely one of mine too and I’d also pick Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Emilie Autumn’s The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, Stacey Pershall’s Loud in the House of Myself, Traci Foust’s Nowhere Near Normal and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. All such great books and all for different reasons.

    • Chynna

      high five Yaaasss. Where is my Hogwarts letters too???

      Will definitely have to check out the books you mentioned! I have read To Kill A Mockingbird and I LOVE that book 🙂

  • Georgie

    Thank you for this list! I really enjoyed it and I think I have some new fiction books to read now ? I haven’t read a lot of fiction in the past four years and it’s kinda been a bit difficult finding what I enjoy again.

    I remember Oprah raving about The Color Purple, too. And you know when Oprah raves about something it’s bound to be amazing. That’s a book I have to read too. And mentioning Oprah made me remember a book that didn’t change my life per se, but that left a big impression on me, and it was part of Oprah’s Book Club. It’s called Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes, and I do recommend it if you are looking for anything to read. ?

    One of my favourite books is The Book Thief, and again I don’t think that changed my life, but it left the biggest impression on me. I am going to have to get back to you if I ever remember or think of a book that changed my life ☺️

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