As 2019 has been going and resolutions are being enacted and lives are changing in huge and subtle ways– I’ve realized that a lot of who I am is because of the books I read. This train of thought had me wondering what books could I pin point to say have changed me the most? Which lead me to wondering what books have changed the lives of others?
Enter in this post.
I want to highlight the books that have inspired those to lead a better life, whether that be inwardly or outwardly. I want to give those books a moment to change others lives and let them shine just as they have done with the people below. With this in mind, I took to Social Media and Discord asking book bloggers and book lovers from everywhere to share their books and their stories. With that said, thank you to everyone who wrote in and shared their stories with me! It meant so much to me to read all of your responses and see the different books that shaped you and your life!
“I think I just picked it up because it’s a classic and a pretty hyped one, but it really reminded me that there are so many different ways to be true to yourself and they’re all valid – I found parts of myself in each March sister and even in Marmee, and realized that they could coexist peacefully.” — Isabelle
“Honestly, so many books have shaped me, changed me and made me who I am today. I’m sure every other book I read this year, and in future years will shape me a bit more, change me and make me question things.
I wouldn’t say any ONE book drastically altered my life, nor drastically changed me, I will say that a particular author made me realise I wanted to write. Books are able to shape us as people, make us think about others lives whether fictional or real.
As a child (6-12) I really enjoyed reading Jacqueline Wilson’s books, I also got my grandma to buy her magazine when it first came out. And I have hoarded a ton of the magazines now. This author made me realise that I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to write as an escape and write to help others realise they’re not alone. As books and words have that power, to make you feel like you belong, which is a powerful thing.
So whilst this went down a different route, the author, me finding her books allowed me find what I wanted to do as a career. They led me to find my other love, which is writing.” — Clo
“I was first introduced to the series in the first grade, and I think I was interested in it mainly because of all the hype surrounding it (plus, it was fantasy, which has always been one of my favorite genres). My mom bought the entire series from a Scholastic book catalog one month and I started reading it whenever I had free time. I was instantly hooked. Those books were so magical (as was the story of JK Rowling, who I came to admire so much that I asked my parents to buy my one of her biographies for Christmas that year) that they made me want to be a writer myself. Ever since, one of my lifelong goals has been to become a published author, and I’ve been working on writing my own novels and short stories. I haven’t published anything yet (or even come close, if I’m being honest) but I’m really hopeful for the future! One of my 2019 resolutions is to finally finish an entire manuscript, and I’m determined to pull it off, so we’ll see how that goes :)” — Alex
“I found Fairest at a library and decided to pick it up because it was written by the author of Ella Enchanted. The book is a Snow White retelling where Aza (the Snow White character) is actually considered hideous, and it follows her journey as she tries to save her kingdom. The kingdom she lives in values singing above all else, and although she isn’t beautiful, her voice is. In the end of course she gets her happily ever after and ends up with the prince, who looked past her looks and loved her for who she is.
This book came to me at a time when I was starting to take other’s negative comments to heart. I was bullied for practically everything about myself, but especially my looks. Music and singing has always been important to me though, so having a book where the main character may not be conventionally beautiful but has her music, and where the love interest doesn’t care about beauty and only cares about her really meant a lot to me. It made me feel better about myself and was the first book I could really see myself in. And it’s been years since I found it, but it is still my favorite book and it still means a lot to me.” — Nox
“I encountered this beautiful book February 2018 after hearing about a film adaption being released in March. Simon Vs. opened my eyes to books where characters aren’t just straight and that it’s OK. This was a normal YA contemporary novel that didn’t stereotype anyone or cliche and that’s what makes Simon even better. As a teenager in general, Simon felt so real to me and like he understood things like how awkward talking to a crush is or just struggling to be who you are. Being a straight ally this book made me want to become a stronger ally for people struggling like Simon. Reading this book got me back into reading which without I wouldn’t be writing this post and I made amazing friends because of this book. Simon vs. definitely changed my life for the better by helping me realize that there will be people who see for me and appreciate that.” — Joy
“I saw people talking about the release date for the Love, Simon movie trailer and found out it was a book about a kid being outed. It was the first queer book I heard of. It was definitely for the better. I was having a hard time coming to terms with having to coming out to people because I didn’t want them to see me differently and this book really changed my mind set and help me think that it was going to be OK (especially since I saw my family in there as well in different ways.) Simon Vs. really helped in telling me that I’m still me just a more true and honest version of me.” — Savvy
“One of my absolutely best friends from childhood who has had a HUGE impact on who I am today lent [The Golden One] to me with a couple of other books I cherish now and will for the rest of my life. This book changed my life, I had no idea that characters could have such depth of feeling, that sci-fi could have such an impact on me (I read this the same time as Ender’s Game which was a tie for this). But more than this, it was the story of the friendship, of the loss and heartache felt through our main protagonist in this book that tore my heart to shreds and yet filled me with this indiscernible feeling of having read something beautiful. Few books have had such an impact on me and this was before I read Harry Potter to be fair, haha. Overall though it was realizing that the beauty of a book didn’t need to be happy or glossy to completely earn my heart and soul.” — Haley
“I think my mom or sister wanted to read it so we got it at the library and I read it too and I was just amazed by how amazing the book was. Later on, I read it again (the original English version that time) for English class, and then bought it for myself. As a white woman, it was so good to read this book and understand how long all of this has been going on. It really represents a time where those things were normal, and I was just so baffled. I consider it a classic that I’d recommend anyone to read, because I personally think everyone should read this book.” — Luci
“I read this book about 11 years ago, when I was 19 or 20. I picked it up at a book con from the “sales” shelf of one of my favorite Romanian publishing houses because of the title. There’s a scene there that stuck with me that shows how our actions can influence people’s lives, even people we don’t know, people that just happen to pass us by on the street. I used to be in my own bubble back then, but reading that book made me realize that even if I want to pretend I’m living in a bubble and nothing can touch me, I may somehow determine certain events for other people. That scene is stuck in my head even now, and it’s one of the most important lessons I’ve ever gotten from a book, that sometimes it’s important to think first and act later, rather than do what I was doing at the time and not stop and think how my actions can impact other people around me, strangers or people I know.” — Ruby Jo
What Book Changed Your Life?