I generally avoid all conversation that’s going to lead to a person asking me what my favourite book is. There’s a number of reasons for this. Mainly, it’s impossible for me to choose just ONE book that I love more than all the others. Secondly, I tend to get a lot of judgement over what I come up with. The amount of criticism I get for not choosing “literature” is sickening. As well, there’s an unfair amount of stigma over books that have gotten a lot of press. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed of my favourites. I love each of them for a reason. I am, however, tired of having to explain myself and my choices to people that don’t actually care. It shouldn’t matter if a book is considered a “classic” or not to be an acceptable favourite. It doesn’t make me any less of a reader or a human being because I enjoy YA and books that don’t require a lot of thought. Friendly reminder that reading is an escape for most people. If I wanted to test my brain, I’d try to learn how to do calculus. As well, if a book is getting a lot of press, it’s (generally) because it deserves it. Popular things tend to become that way because people like them.
ANYWAY, now that I got a little rant out, here are the four books, in no particular order, that have changed my life and why they’re so important to me.
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
By rights, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer should be number one because it’s the book that actually got me into reading. The only reason it’s not here is because I don’t own a copy anymore and so the (low quality) photo wouldn’t be accurate. Can’t let that happen. Anyways, I read in elementary school but not like how I did after I read Twilight in seventh grade. If I remember correctly, reading it led me to reading what is now one of my favourite books. I was a little late to the Harry Potter fan club, but it’s better late than never, right?
I really don’t think I need to go into too much detail with this one. Harry Potter has brought magic into my life and has been my ideal escape when the world gets a little bit too dark.
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I liked John Green’s other books but I absolutely adored TFIOS. The writing blew my mind. There’s so many heart wrenching quotes that I plastered everywhere after finishing it. I sobbed my eyes out and started it again immediately after turning the last page. While I can’t relate to the story at all, there’s a beauty to it that I can’t even put into words. That amount of love that one human can have for another is inspiring and I can only hope I can feel that way about someone and have it reciprocated before my last breath.
3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
My brother is three years older than me and has always been a huge role model in my life. Naturally, I wanted to like everything that he did. I remember how often he talked about The Outsiders after he read it in eighth grade. For some reason I didn’t pick it up until English 8 (required reading) but it has been close to my heart since. It was common ground for us to get along and have discussions (we didn’t really get close until he graduated and I was in high school).
The brotherhood that Hinton depicted makes my heart ache every single time I re-read it. The unconditional love and selflessness gets me, and I’m always a sucker for the misunderstood bad boy.
4. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
This book was recommended to me SO many times and I completely ignored it because I assumed it would be preach-y. I am not religious or spiritual by any means. I do, however, have an open mind and enjoy hearing about other people’s faith but there’s a line.
I was rushing out the door one day and grabbed the first book off of my shelf. It just so happened to be this one.
I don’t understand how much wisdom, beauty, and hope can be crammed into less than 200 pages. This novel really made me think and reminded me that I have a lot to be thankful for. It changed certain aspects of my thought process but it did so in a gentle way. Whenever I feel lost and I need a little bit of guidance, I turn to this book or any of Albom’s works. It’s not a typical pick-me-up, but it makes me happy and gives me a sense of calm.
In my 21 years, I have read more books than I can even fathom. Somehow, these four have stuck out and always pop into my mind when I have to think about any “favourites”. They’re definitely cliched but I love them and that’s all that matters.
What books have changed your life?