Every year, I read a voluminous amount of books.
However, last year, I participated in the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challange, reading 250 books in a year. Some of those were brilliant, like The Lie Tree and The Boy in the Tower. Some were less than great, like Just in Case and The Here and Now. On some, the jury is still out, like The One Memory of Flora Banks.
However, there were a few – just a few – which made me sit down and think. There are some books that you can’t read without taking some time afterwards to think, and maybe change your perspective on the people around you a bit.
Here are the top three books that did just that to me last year.
3. Roll of thunder, hear my cry by Mildred D. Taylor
This is one of the books I received as a Christmas present in 2016, and I will admit that at first, I was reluctant to read it. It seemed, from the first few pages, that it would be a very dry read, and that I wouldn’t be able to understand anything that they were saying because of their strong southern accents. It was only when we began to read it in our English lessons that I really began to get into it, and I ended up devouring it in a day.
This is the story of a young girls struggles to understand her place in the deep south of America, at a time when the Great Depression gripped the country. It is about the struggle for equality in a world where the odds are stacked against you – where you and your family could be lynched in the night and no-one would bat an eyelid.
However, this book is about hope – about people not just accepting that ‘that’s the way things are’, but fighting for change, and I think that everyone needs a bit of that right now.
2. Wonder by R. J Palacio
“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
This book should be required reading for all primary/secondary school children. It has so many important messages that people need to hear.
This book taught me so much about me, and about what I should aspire to be. It taught me that greatness shouldn’t be measured by how much power you have, or how much money you make – it should be judged by your heart. It taught me that when life gets tough, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It taught me to always be kinder than needed. It taught me that you should always forgive and forget. However, most importantly, it taught me that “It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.”
And I think that’s beautiful.
1.Quiet by Susan Cain
“Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.”
There are not many books that I can honestly say changed my life. They may have impacted me, and left me has shaken, but life changing? No.
However, I can honestly say that this book did change my life, and for the better.
As an introvert (someone who probably ‘prefers listening to talking, reading to socialising, and cosy chats to group settings’), I can honestly say that this is one of the most important books I have ever read. This book is not only self-affirming but also practical, with tips on how to navigate life without having to change yourself. I recommend that everyone read this book, including extroverts, as it is definitely an eye-opener to how the odds are stacked against introverts, and how to beat them.
This changed my perspective on my personality completely. Before, I’d always seen my quietness as something to be hidden, but this book taught me that it’s okay to be quiet.