I’ve always been an avid reader. All throughout my school years I was often found tucked away in a corner, nose buried deep in a book. The love affair began with The Giving Tree, lovingly read to me by mother (we both used to cry at the ending) and blossomed throughout my life when I discovered the Harry Potter series. I proceeded to devour A Series Of Unfortunate Events and then passion turned into addiction. In the vast sea of books I have read and fallen in love with through the years, some have had such a profound effect on me that their inky words are tattooed into my very soul. They’re the books that I felt changed me as a person once I turned the last page.
These are the books that changed my life.
- The Wars- Timothy Findley The Wars was a book assigned by my twelfth grade English teacher, and at first I loathed the very idea of it. Another war book; my mind was already groaning as she placed the worn copy on my desk. But this book chewed me up and spat me out in the most wonderful of ways. A story of love, morality and internal and external battling, this novel meant everything to me. By the end of it I was clutching the book to my chest and shuddering with sobs. The Wars tells the tale of Robert Ross, a gentle, animal loving man who’s driven by the death of his sister to enlist in the war. The tale follows his journey, the people he encounters, and his struggles along the way. It is beautiful and heart-wrenching all wrapped into one tremendously written package.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower-Stephen Chbosky As I type this blog post I’m listening to Charlie’s playlist and I feel like I’m sixteen again, curled up in my room feeling overwhelmed with love for this beautiful novel. Charlie’s experiences of being thrust into a vivaciously colourful friend group after spending most of his life concealed in the shadows are painfully relatable. On the surface this is a triumph of a coming of age tale, detailing a shy boy’s journey into learning who he is, but when you delve deeper this book is alive with heartbreak and controversy and issues that make you so uncomfortable you almost want to stop reading. But it’s real, and life isn’t always a tidy tale. This novel taught me to seek out moments that made me feel invincible, to believe I deserved good love, and that Asleep by The Smiths should always appear twice on a mixtape.
- The Secret History- Donna Tartt The Secret History holds such a special place in my heart. This was the book that accompanied me twice a day on my hour long commute across the city, the book that snapped me out of my ‘anti-reading funk’. The Secret History is alive with vivid imagery and beautiful prose. It’s characters are beautiful, twisted and dark. My eyes were scanning every page madly, and I was turning pages desperately, eager to know what happened next. The story follows a group of college students studying Classics, lead by a charming, whimsical professor, that are driven to madness by their own desire for knowledge and experience. This book took the monotony from my train rides and turned it exciting and mysterious. It reopened a forgotten love of literature. It is quite simply one of the most finely written novels I’ve read.
- Slaughterhouse Five- Kurt Vonnegut This book can often be found in my purse, ready for me to pull out and thumb through whenever my day turns dull. Slaughterhouse Five is a book that made me question the very concept of time itself. So it goes. This is a story that takes the tale of a gruesome war and tells it with a charming lilt to it’s voice, and although you might be laughing the severity of the topic is lost on no one. Something about this book is so delicate while still maintaining a sharp kind of intellect that Vonnegut pulls off so brilliantly. I want everyone to experience this book, it’s just incredible.
- Goodnight Opus- Berkeley Breathed My aunt passed away when I was quite young, and the most wonderful thing she left behind for me was three books, and through each one I’ve gotten to get to know her. The Giving Tree was one, and another was a journal she wrote letters to me in, and the third was Goodnight Opus. It is beautifully in-scripted which is half the reason I love it so much, she dotted the “i” in her name with a little sun which is endearing and lovely. But despite that, this book is gorgeously magical. It’s about a little penguin who’s Grandmother reads him the same story each night. But on this particular evening he decides to “get carried away and depart from the text” This book is full of adventure and fun and imagination and it makes my heart swell.
There’s many more, but fives always been my lucky number, and these are the ones that are most prominently in my heart. Do you have any books that have changed your life you could recommend? If you’ve got suggestions I’d love to hear them!
until next time,