I love reading, I always have. I always have a book on me so if I get a spare moment I can whip it out and become engrossed in a second. I even remember when I was at school as young as 8 years old I would read in any free time we had. I have also always been ahead of my reading group, so read adult books from a young age. Reading for me is part of my life and it is a way of escaping and becoming engrossed with new worlds and characters.
However, some stories stay with us longer than others and for different reasons. These are 10 books that aren’t necessarily my favourites, but have impacted my life in one way or another.
Book 1 – Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends” – Albus Dumbledore
The first book was published in 1997, when I was 2. The new book is coming out this July. Harry Potter is my life. I have grown up with it for 18 years and counting. It is the first book I can remember my parents reading aloud to me. The first books I read by myself. The first time I realised the power of words and the hold books can have over you. I was totally engrossed in this new and magical world, it was so real for me. Ever since I have craved similar attachments to characters and their world. It taught me that friendship and love is a gift that will see you through bad times. It has reassured me to keep going and that no matter how different or misunderstood you are, there will always be a place for you. The Harry Potter universe holds a lot of firsts for me, and I’m sure it will be with me forever until it becomes my last.
Book 2 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Caroline Bingley
Money isn’t everything. Yes, it helps, but it doesn’t make you happy! Elizabeth Bennet is one of my favourite characters. She taught me that being strong willed, intelligent and honest will get you far further than money and looks will. This book taught me to marry for love. That someone will love you for who you are. First impressions don’t count, get to know someone; don’t be prejudice. Live for you, not for your family. Reminded me my father will always protect and support me, as long as I am happy.
Book 3 – The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
“As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.” – Katniss’ Dad
This is the first and only book that has made me actually shed tears. Sacrifices, however hard they may be are sometimes necessary to survive and be happy. Don’t ever underestimate a woman. It can teach us all, that wherever you come from and no matter how different we are, people can come together in times of need against a common evil. Love always wins in the end. This book reminds me that no matter how short a friendship, they always touch and change your life for the better.
Book 4 – A Tale of Two Cities: A Story of the French Revolution by Charles Dickens
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” -Sydney Carton
I don’t normally like historical fiction, however this wonderful classic has become one of my ‘go to’ favourites. Dickens captures the frightening time of the French Revolution and excellently points out the social injustices in the world. The best end to a novel EVER. We must all give selflessly to let the ones we love be happy, even if it is not what we want. This book always brings me back down to Earth and reminds me the world will always be unfair, but it is what we see in the world and what we make of it that counts.
Book 5 – The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien
“It’s a dangerous business, walking out one’s front door” – Gandalf
The world is full of wonders and experiences. Get over your fear and hesitation, get your butt out the door and go on an adventure! Don’t over plan, stop making excuses and go and see what the world holds. A trip is even more special with friends. The journey doesn’t stop once you’ve reached your destination. This is another one of the fictional worlds people can’t help but love. The personality of the land itself and of its inhabitants has captivated millions. I always remember that courage can be found in the most unexpected places.
Book 6 – A Song of Ice and Fire series by G.R.R.Martin
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one” – Jojen Reed
These books are my life at the moment. I haven’t watched the TV show yet, I am being patient and reading all the books first! No other author has ever made me so attached to their characters before. Some I love with all my heart and see myself in them, others I hate with all my being, so much so I sometimes actually want them to die! It is easy to make characters likeable, but the skill in making someone hated with only words, makes George.R.R.Martin a true genius. The only books I have ever laughed out loud to. The only books where I need to take a break after every chapter so I can regroup. These are the kind of books where you feel empty when they end. The world is cruel and people are out for their own gain, but there will always be good people who make the world right again. It has taught me to be brave, that family is everything, to do your duty and most importantly fight with all your being for what is right.
Book 7 – An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan
“Hostage is a crucifying aloneness.” – Brian Keenan
This was the first non-fiction book that ever really grabbed me and opened my eyes to the experiences of incredible people such as Brian Keenan. Brian Keenan’s memoir of his 4.5 years as a hostage in Beirut is deeply powerful and his skill with words makes his account a masterpiece of modern literature. He taught me to never give up. Brian’s special bond with fellow hostage John McCarthy teaches us about our basic need for human contact and that being truly alone is the ultimate fear. The brutal and heartfelt honesty with which Brian explains his experience is moving and at times shocking. The human mind and body can be pushed to unthinkable limits but can still surprise us at every turn.
Book 8 – A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
“Geologists are never at a loss for paperweights.” – Bill Bryson
This book reinvigorated my interest in reading non-fiction. It is completely factual and does what it says on the tin, it covers literally nearly everything you need to know about the Earth and the wonders of the universe. However, it is written in a very relaxed and humorous way, which means it doesn’t feel like hard work to read it. This book is personal to me because it convinced me I was doing the right degree and reminded me that I love what I do. As a child I was fascinated with all kinds of science and loved walking into a science class to learn new things. As adults we need to be reminded everyday of the wonder of science and the world, but also that we will never truly know everything.
Book 9 – The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
“Heaven is comfort, but it’s still not living.” – Susie Salmon
The Lovely Bones is a really unique book, both for the fact it has a unique storytelling perspective but also a new take on death, both of which are risky and bold techniques, especially for a book in the young adult genre which typically has a set style. The idea of writing a book from the perspective of a 14 year old murder victim for a reader audience of the same age really captivated me and no doubt many others. The warmth and honesty of the book is its strength. The subject matter, often times quite dark, is outweighed by the innocence and realness of the characters. This girl who is dealing with her own death is witnessing the grief of her family back on Earth, something all of us fear and this is what affected me most when reading this. It taught me that everyone deals with grief and comes to terms with things in different ways, give them time. Death may not be the end. Live for everyday, enjoy the simple things and cherish your family. Your loved ones never truly leave you.
Book 10 – The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
“Death doesn’t just take someone, it misses someone else, and in the small distance between being taken and being missed, lives are changed.” – Mitch Albom
This is one book I cannot part with. Normally when I finish a good book, I will give it to someone else so they can enjoy it too. I can’t seem to do the same with this one. I’ve only read it one time, but I feel that perhaps I haven’t got what I want out of it and therefore its hard for me to let go of it just yet. It still has things to teach me. What it has made me realise is that we touch and influence the lives of everyone we ever come into contact with and we never realise the true ramifications. Whether its a passing smile in the street or a bad word when someone annoys you, it will affect both of you perhaps without either of you knowing. I like to think this is what happens when you die, that our yesterdays are explained and we find out not necessarily the meaning of life in general but the meaning of our small life and the tiny ways it impacted others and the world.
If I have inspired you to give any of these amazing books a go then you can find out more by clicking on the book titles. (This post uses affiliate links)