13 Books That Changed The Way I Think About Life

Published by Donna Coppack on

These are some of my favourite books, but more importantly they are the books that made me view the world differently.  I believe books are there to show you the world from someone else’s viewpoint and all of these excel at this.  These books have such clear voices, that I was sad to leave each and everyone behind.


Gone Girl: A Novel
This book allowed me to see inside a dysfunctional marriage, you only ever see your own marriage from the inside and so I loved that she shared someones, albeit someone completely unhinged, view. I was relieved to see few similarities to my own partnership but also I recognised several uncomfortable truths.

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
Not one for everyone, if you have a permissive parenting style then this is not for you. For me however, this struck a chord with my own parenting style, I was so pleased to find I was not alone nor mad. I must say though that my own kids are not as well behaved as the French children described in this book as I lack the necessary consistency.

We Need to Talk About Kevin
The book that asked the questions everyone was afraid to ask. This book is the definition of Catharsis, by facing up to the demons of Kevin and his Mom you face your own (much lesser hopefully)

The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against WomenI read this at University, and instantly it changed my views on the modern day preoccupation with beauty.  I class myself as a Feminist, just one that likes to wear make up. This book allowed me to take a stand against the current ideology.

How to Be a Woman
Fantastic book that taught me to take myself less seriously, something I found easy when I was younger but that I had lost when I moved down south where people are much more judgemental.  The humour that she shared with her family is life affirming and the subject matter illuminating to say the least.

The Shadow of the Wind
Such a beautiful book, so evocative and full of dark and light.  A book for book lovers.

Schindler’s List
My parents owned this when I was a child and I always remembered the blue and white cover with the star of David made from barbed wire on the front. When I eventually read this book I learned how cruel the world can be, and how lucky we are. It shows how kindness is always worth while.

Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger
A love song to food, written by someone who understands how much of eating is emotional not functional.  The memories he evokes and the descriptions of his first attempts of cooking really spoke to me.

Enough is a book about moderation, not just in food, but shopping, belongings and information.  This book is incredible. If you ever think you have too much, are spending too much, eating too much and doing too much then this is the book for you. Inspiring.

This has never been made successfully into a film (sorry Mr Hitchcock.) The sense of atmosphere in this book is incredible, a Cinderella story made into a thriller set in high Society in the British 1920’s.  I have read some of her other novels hoping to recapture the feeling that this book gives you but to no avail.

The Wasp Factory
Before reading this I had always read to escape unto fantasy worlds that were undoubtedly better than my real life.  I read this when my then Boyfriend at University was set it as a required reading. This book blew me away with it graphic depictions of a life so different from my own.

Brave New World 
I adore Dystopia novels, Margaret Atwood does a great line in them and is my favourite Author.  This however was the first one in this genre I read at age 16.  I loved the space it gave you to think about how life could be if we carry on living the way we do now.  I however found the end rather flat.

The Consolations of Philosophy
I keep very few books in paper format except signed first editions (which my husband collects) as I read mainly on my kindle or iPad for convenience and also to lessen the amount of possessions I own and consume.  This is an exception.  I have a very heavily annotated and highlighted copy of this that I have owned for the last 12 years.  My favorite chapters are the Consolations for Not Having Enough Money and Consolations for Frustrations.  When I was a student these helped me find peace and strength in my current state and work through my difficulties.

What books made your inner world shift , what made all the difference for you?

Categories: Lifestyle

1 Comment

Stephanie · January 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I love your list. It's so nice to see what others recommend. I've been in an odd book drought for a long time now. I start them and don't finish them and I think it's because I have too many around at any given time that I never focus on just one. That, plus I haven't been serious about making the time to read.

I did read Bringing Up Bebe and thought it was great.

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