This year, one of the things I wanted to achieve was reading ten books. By that I mean novels or books that are of interest for me, books relating to my degree aren’t going to count. I love reading for the way it can make you switch off, and see things from different points of view. Though it seems in the last year or so, life seems to have got in the way of my love affair and books became less of a habit and more of a one off. Thinking about the types of books I like reading inspired me to write this post… the books that change the way you think.
OK, that sounds a bit brain-washy, but I mean it in a good way. Promise. So without any more rambling here they are:
- The Kite Runner
When we hear about organisations such as the Taliban or Isis… it’s horrifying. But, and as much as I feel bad writing this: it’s another headline. Another atrocity. In a world in which we are bombarded with horrible news daily, it can be easy to detach.
This novel (you can read my full review here) brings it home. It makes you remember the everyday people – and the bonds of friendship caught in the middle.
- The Girl on The Train
It’s no secret that I love this book… I was so excited about the film coming out. And boy it was good. I would recommend watching it, but also READ THE BOOK – I mean the film does stick fairly closes to the plot of the book. However the book just seems so much more effective. So effective I felt the need to put the caps lock on, so that says it all.
It forces you to question how society views those on the edges. Those with addiction issues, those with emotional issues… I don’t want to say any more and spoil it for you. Again though, this is a book already featured on the blog and you can read my review here.
Err… can a comic be classed as a novel? For the sake of a short title, let’s say it can, just this once. A graphic novel maybe? Now that I’ve written it, I’m 98% sure that is what it is, or at least what one of my tutors claimed it was. This is in a similar vein to The Kite Runner, and is written about the same era – but this time from a woman’s perspective. It follows the main character in Iran as tensions rise during the 70’s and 80’s and then in Europe.
The media is often keen to paint women of certain countries as nothing more than victims. Subservient images only to be pulled to the fore as an example… This book shows you the other side. The women behind the headlines.
- The Third Life of Grange Copeland
Like all the other tales on this list, it too is set outside of the UK. That seems to be a recurring theme here, but let’s run with it babes. It’s set in America and was written in the 70’s but shows a whole different side to the post-slavery history to what is normally presented. The premise of this book is simple it follows three generations on the same African American family after the civil war – and each generation is determined to improve their life, and not make the same mistakes as their forefathers.
Abuse, whether physical, emotional or verbal is never OK. Under any circumstances. Let’s just say that now. However without giving too much away this book delves into how one person’s abusive behaviour can affect countless others –through different generations. It makes you realise just how manipulating some ‘systems’ can be for those they are supposed to help. It makes you question what the younger people in your life are seeing, and how it may affect their view of the world, their coping mechanisms and their futures.
Abuse is never justified, though this book throws light on emotions that eventually grind people down, that tears away their dreams. The next time you see someone acting like a complete and utter arse you will question what has made them that way, rather than just dismissing them. Though don’t get me wrong some people are just arses.
I’m sure there are countless other books that have influenced people, but these are the ones that sprang to mind. Maybe it is not a coincidence that they are all set outside the UK, and give the global political environment perhaps making the effort to view things as ‘the other’ is no bad thing.