This months post for The Rising!
As an English student I spend a lot of time reading because I have to. Over the Easter Break I’ve had some time to read for pleasure and being able to enjoy one of my favourite hobbies without the pressure of deadlines has been bliss. I’ve been reflecting on the books that have been most important to me over the years, the ones that have gripped, moved and inspired me and I thought I’d share the ten which have most changed my life.
Room, Emma Donoghue– I read this book a ridiculous amount of times and am tempted to read it again. The plight of the main characters feels so real and made me realise how blessed I am to have the safety and freedom I often take for granted. This book will make you grateful for everyday you get to open the door and walk out into your day. It’s recently been made into a film but as an English student I feel I should endorse reading the book before going to see it!
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte- I read Jane Eyre last year and whilst I was in no way a persecuted orphan there was something in her heartbreak that resonated with me in that season of my life and Jane Eyre became more of a friend than a distant literary figure. It’s a story that is timeless, so don’t be put off by the fact that it was written a long time ago because it’s not in any way dull. (unless you find forbidden love, fires and crazy ex-wives in attics boring…)
If You Could See Me Now, Cecelia Ahern- I’m not ashamed to admit I cried ALOT whilst reading this, especially at the end. This novel made me want to fall in love, get outside, love my family better and pretty much just live more. Cecelia Ahern is brilliant (on a side note, P.S I love you is also a must-read)
The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton- This book was actually read to me. My brother and I would always look forward to our mum reading a few pages to us before we went to sleep. It’s the first book I can remember that made me want to write. My imagination was sparked by the magical world and many of my earliest short stories were inspired by Moonface, sauce-pan man and the rest of the gang. One day I hope to read this special story to my own children.
The Iliad, Homer- When I finished The Iliad I sat back, relaxed and thought ‘Praise God that’s over’. I was just relieved to have gotten through all 24 books of the Iliad (yup, you read that right). It took me a year to fully read and studying it was…an experience! It was one of the greatest joys and biggest stresses but it was 100% worth while because as an english student I appreciate how the efforts of someone over 2000 years ago still influences SO much of what is written and published today.
God is Able, Priscilla Shirer– I read this just before my final exams last year and Priscilla’s words of faith helped me as I pushed through a season of stress, late-nights, deadlines and, let’s be real, some tears. She breaks apart and examines one of my all time favourite verses- ‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.’ (Ephesians 3:20)
The Colour Purple, Alice Walker– I read this at a young age, way too young to understand the weight of all the historical context, but I fell in love with the characters and it will always be one of my absolute favourites. Written in the form of letters and prayers, we witness the main character,Celie, grow, find love and age in a world ruled by prejudice and discrimination. The Colour Purple breaks your heart in the best way.
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro – This is a strong contender for the title of my all time favourite novel. I’m not really a sci-fi or dystopian reader but this book, set in a reality similar yet drastically different from our own, gripped and moved me. It tackles one of the biggest questions we can ever ask: What makes us human? I still find my mind drifting to this book from time to time, it impacted me so deeply.
I am Malala, Malala Yousafzai– Confession: I’m only halfway through this book but it’s impacted me so much already it can’t not be on the list. Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for speaking out about girls right to education. She tells her story with such fierce conviction that I’m inspired to use my own voice to speak out against injustice. This is one of the most important books you’ll hold in your hands, so get yourself a copy!
The Bible– It’s a given really, it can’t not make the list. It’s the book that’s most changed not only my life but me. Whilst there will always be discussion over what The Bible is exactly, for me it’s the story of the Father’s relentless, unconditional love for humanity. Like a good romance novel? Well here’s the greatest love story ever told.
I hope you’re encouraged to get reading. There are so many brilliant books out therefore and it’s amazing what happens when you fall in love with a novel!
What books have changed your life?