To ask you for your all-time favourite life-changing books?
frogsoup · 18/06/2018 11:59
Now my kids are getting older I'm finally getting the chance to start reading again. I'm at a bit of a crossroads in life and career terms and I'm feeling the need for books that are so amazing that they make you rethink life, the universe and everything. Any suggestions?
My starter for 10: Primo Levi's 'The truce', about his journey home from Auschwitz. One of the most astonishingly life-affirming books I've ever read.
Figmentofmyimagination · 20/06/2018 09:20
Try this short story - the Machine Stops by em Forster - the man who foresaw the internet. You can read whole thing here, with a few typos.
Sharpandshineyteeth · 20/06/2018 09:28
@deptfordgirl , how come Gilead? Was recently reading it but didn't get it finished due to it being a bit boring.
Also same question for the pp who said catcher in the rye. I was a bit baffled by that book.
frenchfancy · 20/06/2018 09:44
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
Great thread - I'm going to suggest to gets moved to books so we Don't lose it.
deptfordgirl · 20/06/2018 12:37
sharpandshinyteeth I can actually see how someone would find it boring as it's very slow moving but I think it's beautiful. I've read it several times. The way the narrator looks back at his life as he's dying really made me think about the brevity of life and what is important. I love all of her books but this one really stays with me.
massistar · 20/06/2018 12:47
Quite a few over the years.. one which I've read several times over is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Not very highbrow but I loved it so much!
More recently The Heart's Invisible Furies. One of the most amazing books I've ever read and everyone I've recommended it to has also loved it.
Timefortea99 · 20/06/2018 12:56
A Fine Balance for me too. Picked it up in a book bargain shop. Shoved it in a cupboard, kept picking it up and putting it down, looked too boring. But finally read it and Wow. Made me feel like a spoilt and shallow bitch. Has anybody read any of the authors other titles?
TulipsInAJug · 20/06/2018 22:37
I'm surprised no one else has said The God Of Small Things. It was groundbreaking at the time when it was published, 20 years ago, and still is.
I read it just before I started my degree in Eng Lit. No other novel is quite like it. Whereas A Fine Balance is interesting I found it relentlessly sad and depressing. The God of Small Things is sad but uplifting too.
frenchfancy · 21/06/2018 05:50
Thanks to this thread I now have 12rules for life on audible.
Grobagsforever · 21/06/2018 06:21
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.
Only self help book you'll ever need
LadyRochfordsHoickedGusset · 21/06/2018 08:13
Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers changed my whole way of thinking when I was going through a very bad time in my late teens.
Yy to a pp who mentioned the memoir Late Fragments by Kate Gross. What a humbling beautiful memoir from an amazing woman/mother/wife and put things in perspective when I was feeling sorry for myself over some first world problem. In that vein also Mortality by Christopher Hitchens.
Jane Eyre - a re-read, first read when I was sent away to school, felt uncomfortable and new and it helped reading about Lowood - keeping things in perspective again.
Otherwise (these are more favourites rather than life-changing, though they all had an effect);
The Acid House - Irvine Welsh (mad & clever short story that got me into his other books).
Of Mice and Men/Grapes of Wrath/East of Eden -Steinbeck
American Gods - Gaiman, any Gaiman really. Even DS was into his children's ones.
Birdsong - Faulks
Hard Times - Dickens (made to read for A-level but loved it and got me into Dickens).
Down and Out in Paris and London/Homage to Catalonia/1984 - Orwell
The Sunne in Splendour - Penman (pure escapism esp if you love history).
Wolf Hall - Mantel (as above but when's the third one coming out Hilary M hm?)
Rebecca - DuMaurier
Precious Bane - Mary Webb
The Secret Scripture -Sebastian Barry
The Go-Between - LP Hartley
Lady Chatterley's Lover - Lawrence
Cat's Eye/Alias Grace/the Penelopiad/THT- Atwood
The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber
The Red Tent - Diamant
Disgrace - Coetzee
There are more but this post feels massive.
IMissGin · 21/06/2018 08:22
Tuesdays with Morrie, it’s a short book but packed with strong messages. I give it as a gift often
ChesterBelloc · 21/06/2018 08:33
Another vote here for Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.
Beautifully crafted, with an unforgettable narrative voice, about life, love, loss, forgiveness, youth and age. So much greater than the sum of its parts - but one might need to be in the right mood for it.
marmiteloversunite · 23/06/2018 13:50
Cutting by for Stone by A Verghese is a fantastic book which really makes you think. Will definitely read it again.
AngeloMysterioso · 27/06/2018 23:35
Turns out I already had The Book Thief and Women Who Run With The Wolves in my book closet, and I'm pretty sure I've got Wild Swans somewhere too. I've started reading The Book Thief today, and loving it so far, already finished Part 1. It helps that the pages have that great rustle to them of pages that have got wet and then dried again (no idea when that might've happened mind you).
LisaTheMug · 27/06/2018 23:37
David icke's Robots' Rebellion. Only book ever where when I finished the final page, I flicked back to the beginning and read it all over again.
wildbhoysmama · 27/06/2018 23:59
Yy to Birdsong, Sebastien Falkes ( I had forgotten my ugly, snotty sobbing at the side of a pool in Greece!) and loads of the others mentioned.
Janice Galloway is bloody brilliant.
Recently read Eleanor Ollifant is completely fine ( ate it up in less than 24 hours, loved it).
Philip Larkin continues to provide the shades of grey we all need.
Tally's Blood ( drama) Annmarie deMambro.
The little prince - Antoine de San Aubrey
JeremiahBackflip · 28/06/2018 15:06
Following - I need some life changing reading right now!
JamieFrasersSassenach · 02/07/2018 21:25
I've just finished the 8th book in Diana Gabaldons Outlander series - absolutely amazing, beautiful love story with amazing writing, I cannot recommend these books highly enough. I am now waiting impatiently for her to finish writing book 9 - so really pleased to see this thread!
What never to read - Shantaram - my God - we still laugh hysterically about trying to read that in our book club - never been so bored!!
chickenstock · 02/07/2018 22:24
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, both because its message about the consequences of a passive community is always relevant, and because it first inspired me to travel to South America.
A Fine Balance, Any Human Heart, and the God of Small Things as others have said.
Also, all three Donna Tartt novels, particularly the Little Friend, Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, all of Thomas Hardy’s novels, and latterly, His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet which, in my opinion, took the novel into a new and exciting, almost cinematic, place.
proudbrows · 02/07/2018 23:30
I read a book once and it was (to me) perfect....I lost the book and I forgot what it was called or who the author was or even what colour it was.....years later I still wished I could find it again...last year I walked past a tiny bookshop, I felt compelled to go in, convinced I’d find ‘the book’...and I was browsing the shelves and yep, there it was!!!! I could not believe it, what are the chances!!! It was ‘the history of love’ by Nicole Krauss
beachygirl · 02/07/2018 23:41
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Written by Jean-'Dominique Bauby, who was in a coma, mentally aware of his surroundings, but physically paralyzed with locked-in syndrome, except for some movement in his head and eyes. The entire book was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid, which took ten months (four hours a day). It is an amazing testament to the human spirit. Bauby died just 2 days the book was finished.
To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.