What is something that can change us once and forever? Traveling, intense feelings, obstacles and overcoming them, year-long studies — the list goes on. But sometimes one book is enough to make us become a different person, to look at usual things from a different angle, and to get rid of bad habits.
We at Bright Side set a goal for ourselves: to figure out which books have the strongest effect on someone’s personality. This is why we went to the ends of the internet and also asked our own authors to recall the books that are significant for them.
- The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I hated this book, and apparently so did everyone else I’ve spoken to over the years in college. It has an impact on my life in the sense that I have something to talk about when talking about the high school experience. © Ruby Frost / quora
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand showed me that we all will eventually lose in pursuit of material values.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. A friend in my hostel suggested this. And it turned out to be a gem. This book remains my all-time Paulo Coelho favorite. The way the book presents the message of hope, ambition, goal-searching, and struggle, in the form of a fable, is amazing.© Ashish Kalita / quora
- The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. This book impressed me and carried me away from the very first lines. At first, the author lets you read the diary of his youth, and the reader peeks into it and opens for themselves the world of a young man who first learns what love is all about. Later, everything changes drastically. We find ourselves drawn into the internal dialogue of an adult man entangled in a moral dilemma. This book was a discovery for me, my life position has changed, and it seems that I, like the main character, check my moral principles for correctness every time I come across them. I highly recommend it to young men for reading. © Kristina Kosheleva / thequestion
- The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. I read it when I was 15 and it changed my life and opened my eyes to the possibility of a larger world. It also turned me on to Pink Floyd. © Jay Bazzinotti / quora
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Teaches you to not work for money (the way of the poor) but instead to make money work for you (the way of the rich). © Rachiet Sharma / quora
- Even though the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley may have been a forced read in high school, it changed my perspective on what I was meant to do on this earth. Life isn’t all about personal pleasure. © ShepherdDerrialBook / reddit
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It was one of the most perspective-changing books I’ve ever read. I went from having a handful of connections, to knowing over 200 people I could reach out to at any time should the need arise. It helped me understand the concept of truly caring about and respecting others, and how to show them I cared. Once that concept clicked, I found it hard to keep in touch with all the people I was befriending. Over the years, I whittled down the amount of people I keep in touch with to a healthy amount, but I still try to live by this book when it comes to effective ways to communicate with people. © omgomgdontshoot / reddit
- Some time back, the novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck turned my world upside down. All because it shows the lives and destinies of thousands of people so truthfully. The things they had to go through, not in pursuit of a better life, but just to live life itself, are impressive. A person has so much patience, spiritual power, and hope when they want to live, to work, and to flourish in a place where it seems impossible. This book taught me that happiness is in the little things and fortunately, these little things are available to us nowadays. © Socalled Nuwanda / thequestion
- Once at our university, we got an assignment to find a book with beautiful illustrations. I went to the library and chose The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. The story turned out to be pretty short, so I decided to read it. This story of a porcelain toy found its echo in almost everything. The truths spelled out in it may seem commonplace, but for the one who’s let their thorns out and isolated themselves from everything, the book will become a friend that will say, “I do understand you, but let’s do it a bit differently and it will help your soul to blossom again.”
- The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields changed my life for a simple reason. It’s a fictional biography of a woman named Daisy Goodwill Flett. At the end of the book, after her death, Shields makes the statement that she lived her entire life without ever hearing the words “I love you, Daisy.” And even though I’d told my wife daily that I loved her, I never used her name until I read this book. It makes a huge difference. © fanny / reddit
- Martin Eden by Jack London. This book encouraged me to try out a new profession, it showed me that perseverance can make anyone a “king” and also that one should be more critical of the subject of their passion.
- After I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, I booked a long weekend to go back to a cave that I had been to once when I was young. Straight down a 35-foot shaft, it opens up to a cavern and I thought I could just go down and get some sort of Murakami experience. Unfortunately, as the day approached I started to get those realistic worries like, “What if I slip on the mud on the way down and break my ankle? I could literally die,” so I chickened out and just re-read the book instead. © bullybullybully / reddit
- My inner world was turned upside down by Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter. After reading this book, I wanted to be like the optimistic girl and learn to see all the joy around me. By a fortunate coincidence, it was during this period that I met the new school psychologist, started to help him, and worked through the qualities that my beloved heroine had. I was 16. After graduating, I went to college to be a psychologist.
- Another favorite book of mine is Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers. Of course, I never met a miraculous babysitter, but in difficult situations, I try to remind myself that the wind will change for sure and that a bitter medicine can always be diluted with something sweet.
- A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. If it were not for this book, I would probably be a homeless guy now. I read it when I was 15 — at that time, many of my friends had bad habits. After reading it, I got familiar with medieval weapons, visited a historical military club, and started doing historical reconstructions. © Alexandr Vishnyakov / thequestion
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro was a true revelation for me. At first, it was hard to read and I was chewing it like a bad piece of gum. Despite the boring vocabulary, it intrigued me greatly with its plot, I could not figure out what was really happening. And when I finally understood it, I got a wave of emotions. I am a very creative girl, which is why my imagination started to stir a lot. After I finished reading the book, I was sitting at the dinner table, and crying. I couldn’t stop thinking about the anti-utopian, horrible, and unfair plot for a long time. And I am very afraid that one day humanity will come to this. There is no other book that touched me the way this book did. It feels like this book touches all the strings of the soul, that start to leak water, like from a bursting dam.
- I couldn’t put down The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy. Read it in one go, and was completely silent for the rest of the day. It took me almost 2 weeks to fully “recover.” No person should live out their lives without reading this. One of the most powerful, raw pieces of literature ever written. © i_suck_at_boxing / reddit
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez started my love story. It was in 2000. At that time, I was selling cassette tapes and CDs in a shop and was always reading something during my working day. Once, a young man I barely knew brought this book to me and left it on the counter. The book impressed me and the guy got my attention. We started to date and after a while I married him.
Which book has split your life into “before” and “after”? Why?
Preview photo credit i_suck_at_boxing / reddit