4 Books That Changed My Life

4 Books That Changed My Life

Today I wanted to talk about some books. In particular, books that have impacted me. I've shortlisted 4 books that have changed the course of my life, impacted me as a person or helped me in some way. These are books I could never throw away and will read again and again. You should read them, all of them.

Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

My mum bought me this one when I was about thirteen and it helped me a lot in the struggle that is growing up. It's full of anecdotes and stories from real people looking back on their teenage years; covering love, loss, family, regrets and achievements. Fair warning: I cried, a lot.

Looking For Alaska  by John Green

Looking For Alaska is hands down my favourite book of all time. I originally had it as an ebook but ended up buying the paper copy too once I realised just how much I loved it. My copy is now covered in scribbles and highlighter and I must have read it 5 or 6 times over the last 5 years.

The story is beautiful, following Miles Halter on his journey to discover why his friend Alaska died. The most important thing about this book, though, isn't the main plot but the emotions that fall around it. Green so perfectly depicts Alaska's struggles with her mental health and her self-destructive behaviours, Miles' acute need for answers to give him closure on his friend's death and the unromanticised reality and realisation that sometimes there are no answers to give.

I've found that, through different points in my teenage years, I've been able to closely relate to each of the characters; sometimes more than one simultaeneously. It's one of those books that's helped me in so many ways over time and one that I'll treasure my annoted copy of forever.

 

 My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

I haven't read this book for a couple of years now but somehow it's one I can never part with. It's moved house with me and still sits amongst my curated selection of books, just waiting to be re-read. I think what strikes me most about My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece is that I've never read anything like it, before or since. Pitcher so perfectly shows how grief tears a family apart from the viewpoint of a naïve child and elegantly dicusses terrorism and islamophobia in our modern society. This book opened my eyes to social issues that I (thankfully) haven't experienced first hand but are so important to be aware of.

It's Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

It's Kind Of A Funny Story is my 2nd favourite book of all time. Again, I had it on my Kindle and then bought the paper copy too, annotating it to within an inch of it's life. I no longer have that copy though - I threw it off a cliff when I broke up with my ex-boyfriend. It felt really good, would recommend.

That aside, I love the way that this book deals with mental health in such a real, raw way. There is almost no romanticisation but still a feeling of hope that things can get better. I also love the way that teenage problems aren't pushed aside as unimportant and the pressures put on teenagers to succeed accademically are brought into the light and examined for what they are and the consequences they can have. In short, Craig admits himself to a psychiatric ward after his anxiety culminates in a suicidal episode. The book follows his time there as he unravels what is causing him so much pain and realises what is really important to him in life. The film version starring Emma Roberts and Zach Galifianakis is also brilliant and well worth a watch. This book massively helped me with my own mental health in a time when I thought I was the only one feeling that way. I remember reading the first couple of chapters and being in awe that Vizzini could so accurately describe how I was feeling through Craig.

Have any of these made their way onto your to-read list? What books have changed your life?

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