5 books that have changed me


This was the first book that got me. I read The Bell Jar in a day because Sylvia Plath absolutely knew what I was going through. (The power of representation, y’all.) I think it was also one of the books that I read at exactly the right moment. I first discovered it when I was 16, which I think was the perfect age for me. I haven’t actually re-read it since, because I don’t know if anything could ever live up to those perfect moments.


I have studied The Great Gatsby at least 3 times now, I think? Once in high school, once in IB, and once at university. This was the first book that made me realise that I didn’t have to take everything at face value – that I could in fact question books and authors. This book made me realise that my opinions matter.


Okay. I’ve talked about this book before, mainly in the context of the fact that I haven’t read it yet. You’re probably wondering how a book that I haven’t even read has changed my life – well. This is the first out and proud queer book that I ever heard about, thanks to the Internet. Before this book, I didn’t even know queer people could be IN books.


This is the most recent of the books that have changed me. Once again, this is because of representation.  I desperately wish that I could have read this book when I was 16, because I was Molly. Seriously, I have never connected to a character so much in my entire life. Becky Albertalli will always be in my favourite authors list for this one character.

  • ????

This is not a typo, I promise. I wracked my brains, but I couldn’t think of a fifth book that changed me. Then it hit me – what if it’s the next book I read? What if it is your book, unknown reader? So I thought I would put question marks – because any book has the power to change my life. I just need to discover it.

What 5 books do you think have changed your life? Let me know!


12 thoughts on “5 books that have changed me

  1. speedyreader says:

    Great idea for a list. I’ll have to think about this and come up with a list. I know one of them was The Brothers Karamazov. I remember just being completely blown away when I read it.


  2. colorfulbookreviews says:

    So I haven’t read The Upside of Unrequited yet, but Gatsby was just okay to me and I’ve DNF’d the Saenz three times now. The Bell Jar also was not a great read for me, but I read it way too young (I think middle school) so that’s actually on my list to reread this year as hopefully an adult reading of it will be different.

    It’s fascinating to me how even the same story can affect people differently, thanks for sharing!


      • colorfulbookreviews says:

        Hmm, off the top of my head… Emily’s Quest, which is the final book in a series by L.M. Montgomery (best known for her Anne of Green Gables Series). It made me want to become a writer, and also I loved the romance.

        Another possibility would be The Time Traveler’s Wife, which has such a unique narrative structure – although I have the entire plot memorized and many of the best lines, I reread it often just to marvel at the construction of the book.

        Sense and Sensibility also stands out as the first time I realized that an author could trick a reader (I wasn’t much into mysteries yet back then), and I read it over and over.

        Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea Cycle was a real turning point for me. Most of her characters were dark-skinned (although she is white) and it made me look at the whiteness of my favorite genres.

        Gretchen Rubin’s first book on happiness is one I reread every year. It’s uplifting and practical, so I like to revisit it in the winter doldrums.

        Also a old dictionary that a relative gave me sparked my love of words and joy about reading and writing and had a surprisingly profound impact on my life. There are probably other nonfiction books that I can’t recall at the moment.


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