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Books that have changed/challenged your thinking

(37 Posts)
Twerking9to5 Sat 06-Feb-16 20:03:28

Can anyone recommend a really thought provoking book? Thinking probably non fiction (although 1984 was one of the books that massively stuck with me).


OP’s posts: |
RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Sat 06-Feb-16 20:20:19

This was fascinating, terrifying and thought provoking. I thought I knew quite a lot about the Second World War, but this blew my mind a bit tbh.

Twerking9to5 Sat 06-Feb-16 20:24:24

Ooh that looks fascinating Remus, thank you!

OP’s posts: |
scandichick Sat 06-Feb-16 20:25:20

Depending on your taste it might be a bit out there, but World War Z (about a zombie apocalypse) was genuinely thought-provoking when mapping out how modern society would react to everything breaking down.

scandichick Sat 06-Feb-16 20:26:22

Oh, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley if you haven't read it!

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Sat 06-Feb-16 20:27:36

YY to World War Z - I really enjoyed it.

LucyMouse Sat 06-Feb-16 20:30:32

The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker has always stayed with me. The basic message is "always trust your instincts, and act upon them". Very thought provoking.

FuzzyFairy Sat 06-Feb-16 20:31:55

Under the Skin. It explores issues of humanity, the environment, our obsession with appearances, animal rights and so much more! The movie loses a lot of these themes in translation though. So read the book first!

"Under the Skin is a 2000 novel by Michel Faber. Set in northern Scotland, it traces an extraterrestrial who, manifesting in human form, drives around the Scottish countryside picking up male hitchhikers whom she drugs and delivers to her home planet. The novel, which was Faber's debut, was shortlisted for the 2000 Whitbread Award."

noblegiraffe Sat 06-Feb-16 20:53:50

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein.

Forget the film, the director hadn't even read the book, this is a novel and political essay with discussion of moral philosophy, war, corporal and capital punishment, citizenship, voting rights, personal responsibility and so on. It's required reading for a few branches of the U.S. Military.

I'm pretty sure I disagree with a lot of it, but it makes some compelling arguments.

Twerking9to5 Sun 07-Feb-16 09:54:43

These are great suggestions. Thanks!!

OP’s posts: |
Thistledew Sun 07-Feb-16 10:05:00

Knowledge of Angels by Jill Paton-Walsh. It's a novel, but analyses some theological ideas in an insightful way.

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee are great ones to explore justice and race.

Sadik Sun 07-Feb-16 16:39:44

The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin - fiction, but an exploration of what an anarchist society would look like. The subtitle is 'an ambiguous utopia', and I think that's fair enough - the author says that she's not an anarchist herself, and I think that does come through, but it explores a lot of ideas about how our society works.

I've never read Starship Troopers, noblegiraffe, but I definitely will now!

Movingonmymind Sun 07-Feb-16 18:15:32

Agree with Brave New World which i read as a teen. It massively challenged my thinking around the effects of nature versus nurture and now in the Ivf age about its ethics, sex selection, surrogacy etc etc on s societal level. Not sure what else has changed or challenged my thinking other than the obvious ones - guess some in feminism- Wifework, Bitch, Female Eunuch, life after birth which together made me feel that my sex had finally caught up with and trapped me like most women on giving birth.

cressetmama Tue 09-Feb-16 17:14:33

I like the sound of Starship Troopers. Have always largely ignored the science fiction shelf so maybe it's time to rectify that omission. Thank you.

Twerking9to5 Tue 09-Feb-16 19:23:59

I've also always ignored the sci fi stuff but have enjoyed any of that genre I've accidentally read!!

I'll throw one in as well-our book group chose a series of short stories by George Saunders called "tenth of December". I immediately thought I'd hate it-wasn't sure about short stories and it sounded really dark and weird. It's one of my favourite books (although really divided the book group!). Definitely made me think about the darkness of human nature.

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everydayinMK Thu 11-Feb-16 09:20:02

The Theseus Paradox - because it's based around a life changing real event, was written by someone who was actually there, was investigated by the Sunday Telegraph - and people on the book forums are raving about it and desperate to know how much is real and how much is fiction! Click here:

UnDeuxTroisCatsSank Thu 11-Feb-16 09:28:35

Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

A work of genius, with his humanity and love of all humanity shining through. Definitely changed my life and I read it once a year.

DansonslaCapucine Thu 11-Feb-16 22:15:23

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It's about an American unit who arrive in Dresden after the Allied bombing.

Also, one of his short stories about having to take a pill and commit suicide when you are 50 as society can no longer afford to look after you. Must have read it as a teen and it has stayed with me (I'm 39).

DansonslaCapucine Thu 11-Feb-16 22:18:23

MK - I have The Theseus Paradox on my Kindle but haven't got into it yet. Must try again this weekend (instead of buying more books).

Canyouforgiveher Fri 12-Feb-16 00:46:43

The Gift of Fear changed me and how I look at my safety - for the better i think.

People of the Lie by M Scott Peck made me think about how ordinary life can include evil.

Gilead by Mariilynne Robinison as well as being one of the most moving, human, lovely books ever, made me understand America.

everydayinMK Fri 12-Feb-16 09:25:31

I think you'll enjoy 'The Theseus Paradox', DansonslaCapucine. I found it an easy read in terms of the page-turning x-factor, but it's the ending which really made me think about how we see the world and major newsworthy events - and our place within that world. Absolutely shocking story. shock Didn't see the ending coming. Loved it! starstarstarstarstar

DansonslaCapucine Fri 12-Feb-16 10:19:22

Righto MK - I'm back on it.

Canyouforgiveher - strange thing is that straight after I posted, I remembered about Gilead. I loved that book, really loved it. Almost came back on to post about it. Of all the books ....

ErgonomicallyUnsound Fri 12-Feb-16 12:32:29

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Cleft by Doris Lessing
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

All are alternate realities, all stayed with me for years. The Cleft especially as I read it just after I'd had my first child, a boy. The other two made me really appreciate our world and my life in it.

PinkIndustry Sun 14-Feb-16 00:48:58

To Kill a Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath, The Handmaid's Tale, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Anna Karenina.

All of these books shaped my views as a teenager but they are such great novels that, when I have re-read them over the years, they have shaped and challenged my thinking all over again in different ways.

All, that is, except for To Kill a Mockingbird - the first reading was so perfect that I have never felt the desire to go back over it.

WiIdfire Sun 14-Feb-16 00:56:16

Shades of Grey.

(No, not '50 shades of Grey', just 'Shades of Grey' by Jasper Fforde, a totally different book)

On the surface, a light hearted comedy, but underneath an interesting commentary on social division and discrimination.

Ender's Game. Gets you thinking about ethics and morals.

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