Books have been impacting people for centuries. A book can help you through a hard time; it can be your best friend when you need something to relate to. It can help you see the world differently. Novels show us things we do and do not want to know. They open our eyes. For me, they have always been an escape. I want to tell you about a few novels that have changed my life and hopefully will change yours too. Here are 10 life changing novels you should read.
1. The Country Of Last Things by Paul Auster.
Admittedly, I just recently finished reading this novel for one of my University classes. It was a book I never expected to enjoy. This Paul Auster novel is about a woman named Anna Blume who left her country to find her brother, William, in a place known as ‘the city’. In the city everything is in desolate and she essentially becomes trapped there. She is faced with several harsh situations: sexual assault, death, the loss of her child and murder. This novel made me think about the real world and how scarily similar our world and the city are to each other.
The struggles she faces are people’s realities and begs the question; is this where our world is heading? You see the news of wards and shootings, people starving to death and how media covers celebrity sightings rather than real-world problems. We aren’t far off from being this world. This book inspired me to be a better person and does an excellent job of making you look inwards. I suggest reading this novel, but you will cry.
2. More Than This by Patrick Ness.
The novel begins with Seth, the main character, drowning himself in his hometown. He ends up dying but wakes up alive. How can this be? That is the question Seth tries to answer throughout the novel. What is the world he woke up into? Is it purgatory, heaven or hell or is it something else? I can’t share much about what the novel is about since that will elicit spoilers. What I will say is this book makes you think about technology and where it is taking us. You’ll begin to question what life is and whether living in ignorance is better or worse.
3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
You all know J.R.R Tolkien. For those of you late to the part, this book is about a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who goes on a journey far greater than he’s ever expected. This book taught me to take chances in life. If Bilbo hadn’t made a split decision to chase after Gandalf and the dwarfs, he would be stuck in the shire. It’s an excellent reminder not to let fear make decisions for you. You will fall in love with the characters.
4. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker.
I was too young to read this book when I did. This book taught me about injustice and discrimination. It opened my naive eyes to a world full of anger. This Alice Walker novel is about a girl who is constantly raped by her step-father, Alphonso. Celie bears two of his children who are sent away to be adopted. She is then forced to marry a man named Mister; he rapes, beats and abuses her. This book resembles the hardships African American women faced in the 1930’s. It taught be about racism, hate and fear can do. This book was a stepping stone into discovering my own sexuality. This book will educate, enrage and open your eyes.
5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr took an uncommon approach to revealing World War II. This book follows the life of Marie Laure and goes blind at the age of six. She lives with her father who works at a museum and flees the city when the German troops are headed to Paris. Escaping to a seashore town to live with her agoraphobic Uncle. Simultaneously, it follows the life of Werner an orphan in Germany. He is forced to join the Hitler youth and fights as a soldier; he becomes a specialized tracker in the resistance. Throughout both their lives they face hardship and reach each other against all odds.
This book shows both sides of war and shows two people forced into lives they neither want or agree with. Against all odds they meet. It makes you question why fate would lead you down such a slippery path. Makes you ask what could come from all this suffering. Trust me when I say this novel makes you think, cry and wonder.
6. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak.
This book is about a man named Ed Kennedy and starts out with him stopping a robbery. He is a nineteen year old, cab driver living in New York. Life is as it’s always been until he gets an ace from a deck of cards in the mail. This is when his life changes. The incredibly strategic writing captivates readers. Zusak knows how to build characters and story lines. His writing and the way he connects the plot within this book shows his skill as a writer. I recommend you read this novel as you will leave shocked by it’s conclusion and fall in love with the stories this author has to tell.
7. Harry Potter Series by J.K.Rowling.
You would have to have lived in total isolation from society to have not at least heard of Harry Potter. All in all, if by some chance you haven’t at least seen the movie series go read the books; if you’ve only ever seen the films read the books, and if you’ve read the books, read them again! They are worth it you’ll love this world even more after reading!
8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
I fell in love with the strength of Elizabeth Bennet and the broodiness of Mr. Darcy. This book was quite similar to the movie adaptation. This book brings out the romantic in me with all it’s forbidden love and brooding gentlemen. If you haven’t read it or have only read for a class, give it another go. Without the pressure of a grade looming over your head I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book this time or if you enjoyed it once you’ll enjoy it even more your second time around.
9. It’s Kind Of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.
This novel follows the life of Craig Gilner, a teenager who is determined to succeed in life. After he gets into Pre-Professional prep, a very elite school, the pressure becomes too much to bear. He ends up almost killing himself before calling the suicide hotline and checking himself into a mental hospital. The story shows his progress as he gets better and shows him changing and realizing that maybe the path he was on really wasn’t for him. This book does an incredible job at approaching mental health and helping break the stigma of not only depression but other disorders as well. This book might not have such a personal and powerful effect on you however, it’s important to read as it helps you understand this illness more. As you are reading a story you are reading a story through the eyes of someone suffering first hand from it.
10. Night by Elie Wiesel.
This heart wrenching and inspiring true story about Wiesel’s survival through Auschwitz. It discusses his life before and during WWII up until the camp’s liberation. Pick up this novel so you won’t forget what fear, and hate did to thousands of innocent men, women and children. Pick up this novel so that their stories and lives can be remembered and not forgotten.