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Five books that changed my life

Today I want to talk about some books that I would say have changed my life. That sounds dramatic, and I don’t mean they’ve completely changed me overnight, but all of the books I want to talk about have had an impact on me in some way, whether that be challenging views I hold, or by educating me or just because I loved the book so much. Currently I am a literature student, so obviously books play a huge part in my life, so including them on my blog makes me so happy! Read on for some absolute gems of literary works. 

– William Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’

After reading this in sixth form my views on English Literature changed forever. It cemented in my brain that a Literature degree is something that I had to pursue. I had no idea what I wanted to do with it (and I have eventually settled on becoming a nurse), but I know I NEEDED to study this beautiful subject. I genuinely cannot put into words how much I love this play. I know Shakespeare tends to be a bit of a marmite character, although I have no idea why, but I certainly love him. His words are something that cannot be rivalled in my opinion. The play has an extremely important message, and while I can appreciate that the majority cannot relate to a foolish, aging man who loses all he owns, the social messages contained in this play are something we can all take heed of. Look around you, stop thinking solely of yourself, and notice those who need help.

-Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’


I read this last year and it was one of those books that had such a profound impact on me that I still think about it now. I had always been aware of the horrific ordeals of the African slaves in America, however, I feel that I had sort of glossed over it, just learning silly little basics and figures, without actually looking at the slaves themselves. This book, although essentially a piece of fiction, is based on true events, events that affected, and CONTINUE to affect a large majority of the world. We are not talking about an ethnic minority here. We are talking about the Black community, and you have only got to look at the events in America and the fact that #BlackLivesMatter has to exist, to see that really not much as changed. This book opened my eyes to this. The struggles of Baby Suggs, Denver and Sethe were horrific, even after the Emancipation of Proclamation, Black slaves in America were still treated horrifically. This book really has influenced me, and has inspired me to base my dissertation of the writing of African American women, voices that were, and still are, often not heard.

– Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘The Scarlet Letter’


I hated this book at first. For some reason, on first reading I just could not get my head around it. However, after further reading and studying, I truly began to love it. It really touched me. Hester Prynne was treated appallingly by men and women in her town. She was cast out for having a child out of wedlock, made to live away from the rest of her town. She struggled with guilt, bringing up a young child, but she was brave. It touched me because in my eyes, the treatment of women has not changed to great extents. Women are often victims of this, and far worse all over the world, and it is amazing to me that something written so long ago, can still be so true of society in 2016.

– Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’


One of everyone’s favourite childhood books I bet, but unlike the majority, it took me until recently to become truly obsessed. The book is a work of art, Carroll, whatever he is, cannot be denied as a pure creative genius. It takes you into a different world, both in the book and in your own imagination, and I can see why it is so popular as a children’s book. That being said, it is easy to see why it appeals to adults. To me it is a way to escape. I read this when I want to forget the shitty events going on in the world, or when I’ve had a bad day. It never fails to put on smile on my face because of the nonsense language, the poetry and songs and the characters, Alice in particular as I think all of us can relate to her and her daydreaming and curiosity. If you haven’t read this yet, you are seriously missing out.

-Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’


“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”. The pure poetic quality of Brontë’s writing in this gorgeous novel made me fall in love. Not with Heathcliff like most readers might, but with the book itself. I fell in love with the location, with the way it made me feel, with Brontë herself for writing something so outstanding. It is not a love story as some might think, in fact I would call it more of a tragedy (don’t worry I won’t give any spoilers), and every time I read it I cry. Also, given that the Brontë’s were not known to have really travelled further than their homes in Yorkshire and led quite sheltered lives, I am even more in awe at the raw emotions, the passion and the description of location that features in this work. This book has stayed with me since my first read back when I was about 16, and like King Lear, helped cement my love for literature. 

Illustration of Wuthering Heights (the house that the book is named after)  in my edition of said book.

So, these are five books that changed my life. There are so many more books that could have made the cut, but these are the five that stand out. What are yours? If you liked this post then check out my FIRST EVER blog post which was book related here 💛 

Love Rach xoxo

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9 thoughts on “Five books that changed my life

  1. Having read 3/5 books on your list, it’s interesting to see the differences between your response to them and mine – which I guess is one of the beauties of literature! Like you, I never really got into Alice in Wonderland until I was older, but for me the appeal lies in its darker elements rather than its surface humour.

    I’d find it difficult to come up with a complete list of books that have changed my life off the top of my head, but the one that immediately comes to mind is Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. The reasons why are closely linked to my time at uni. Reading it made me realise how far I’d come and how much progress I’d made since starting my degree. Writing what I thought at the time was a nightmare essay on it made me push myself harder during the rest of my degree and made me realise that things don’t always turn out to be the disaster you imagine them to be!

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    1. I couldn’t agree more. I love looking at differing opinions on the books I read. Yes I definitely know what you mean with the darker elements, and you have no made me more interested to read it again to delve deeper into the more darker elements. I’m ashamed to say I have never read To The Lighthouse, however it is sat on my shelf ready!

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      1. Haha, I have way too many books in THAT section of my shelf. Funnily enough, I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I found out I had to read To The Lighthouse as I’d previously struggled with Mrs Dalloway. I’d be interested to hear what you make of it when you do eventually get round to reading it!

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  2. I love your list! Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books of all time. Like you said, the location is just amazing! I love Alice in Wonderland, too, though it tends to be a book I like more when I’m NOT reading it than when I AM, oddly enough.

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  3. I love that you have done this post! As you know Rach, I’ve read all of these books and honestly value each of them in their own ways. It’s amazing to think that without uni you may not have stumbled upon some of these beauties (or at least may not have appreciated them in the same way). Although W.H. wouldn’t make my top five, I can still appreciate the significance of it’s detailed and powerful writing. Another awesome post- Keep them coming!!! 🙂 P.S. King Lear would definitely make the cut for me, too! 😛

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  4. Absolutely love this post! Alice in Wonderland (as with most people) is one of my favourites, too! Mostly for the pure none sense, the complete other world and dream state. I tried to read WH and honestly just couldn’t get into it. I really want to try again but for some reason, me and classics just do not get on!

    Vee // veeosullivan.co.uk

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    1. Thank you sooo much! I always wished I could go to wonderland! ❤️ It is difficult to get into! Maybe try Jane Eyre first of you haven’t already? Another of my favourites and also by a Brontë! Has that Gothic feel to it and very ahead of its time! Thank you again for commenting! ❤️ xxx

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