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Books that changed my life

I’m a reader. I love books. I love escaping to a different world for a few hours. And I particularly love the deeper meaning attached to certain stories and what you can take away from them.

In almost every book you read there is a lesson to be learnt. Particularly books for kids/teens there is normally a strong moral message in the story. This could also be said for books which are geared to adult audiences.

I love reading through a book, and then thinking about the deeper meaning behind the story, and then sometimes reading the book again to see if it changes the way it reads. Most times it does.

I’ve read a lot of books across the years, but I got to thinking: which ones have actually changed something about me? Which ones have had a deeper effect on who I am as a person?

FYI These are NOT self-help books, just books I have read and taken a deeper meaning from.


The Book Thief – Markus Zuzak

This is such a lovely book. It’s set in Germany during the Second World War. It follows the story of a young girl living with a foster family as her family have been sent to concentration camps. This girl has a penchant for books. She gets caught stealing books from one of the houses and makes friends with the woman who lives there.

During this time they also find an injured enemy soldier. The girl’s family take the soldier in and nurse him back to health, keeping him secret and safe from the Nazi’s.

The girl loves books, and through this love of books makes friends and connections.

The foster father of the girl refuses to bend to the will of the Nazi’s. He stands firm whilst everyone else is telling him he’s wrong. He is also a kind man, who takes care of the girl, treating her like his own.

The foster mother of the girl is stern, strong and fearless. She can sometimes seem like she is being pretty harsh but it’s all for a bigger cause.

It’s a bit of an odd book because it the narrator is death, which can seem a little grim to begin with, but it works and you can get a different perspective.

This book is all about strength of character. Both the young girl and the family she lives with are all strong characters. They have a sense of who they are and what they have to offer. There is so much to take from this.

When I have a moment of weakness in life, whether it be a crisis of confidence or indecision I think of this book. I think of the characters and how they stood up for what they believed in. It is inspirational, and also incredibly easy to read.

This book was also recently made into a film, but I haven’t watched it yet. I think I love the book a bit too much and am scared it won’t live up to it.


The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat – Oliver Sacks

Unlike the previous book, this one is a work of non-fiction. Now, a bit of background. Oliver Sacks was an amazing human being (sadly he passed away) who dealt with weird and wonderful cases of the human brain.

This book is a collection of case studies of some really unbelievable maladies. One of the case studies is indeed about a man who mistook his wife for a hat! Luckily he didn’t try and wear her like a hat though.

Not only are the case studies themselves really interesting, it is written incredibly well. Oliver Sacks has a natural charm about him: he truly cares about the people he meets and wants to help them.

He also wrote another book called Awakenings which documents his dealings with a group of patients all of whom couldn’t talk or move, and were basically forgotten about as “lost causes”. However he cared so much that he decided to look deeper. He wanted to help these people live some kind of life, even though they had mainly been forgotten about. During his work he manages, through the implementation of a new drug, to bring them back for a time. This was also made into a film starring Robin Williams which is brilliant and highly recommended.

The kindness he shows to people who would otherwise be laughed at or forgotten about is truly inspirational. He treats people as they should be treated: like human beings. This is something we can all bring more of into our lives, and something I think about often.


Odd Thomas – Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is a master, second only to Stephen King. Odd Thomas is one of my favourite characters. He’s an odd young man, but has the love of his girlfriend Stormy to keep him going.

Odd by name odd by nature, things happen around him that he doesn’t ask for, but that he feels obligated to help out.

I won’t say too much because I don’t want to ruin the twist of the story, but the theme for this book is enduring love. In the book Stormy and Odd visit a fortune teller who tells them they’re soulmates.

It is one of the only warm things that happens in the book. And it gives me a warm glowing feeling in the pit of my stomach. I want to be one of those people who loves without exception and completely.

The relationship Stormy and Odd have is unconventional and unique to them. It’s something we can all strive for, our very own version of love.

This is another book which has been made into an excellent film, which is highly emotional and very easy to watch. It was never going to be Oscar winner but I sometimes the most watchable films are those which don’t receive all of the academy praise.


These are just some of the books that I’ve read which I’ve taken a greater meaning from. A story without some kind of moral just isn’t a very good tale. I’d love to hear what books you guys have read which have changed your life, please leave a comment!


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