Okay okay, maybe the title for this blog post is a little ambitious. Maybe these books didn’t exactly change my life as such, however they are definitely my favourite books and I certainly would recommend each and every one of them. So here is a selection of my favourite books.
- Dear Stranger by Mind
This is a collection of letter written by a selection of celebrities and writers who have experiences (either personally or in relation to other people) with mental illness. They are written as if to someone that they have never met, but they all still manage to really connect with you. I loved these letters and they really hit home with me in a variety of ways. I love it so much! I read it in two days! As soon as I heard that Caitlyn Moran had written one of the letters I was in as I love everything that that woman does. If you are struggling with mental health issues then I cannot recommend this book enough, as it really did help me and I often go back to read my favourites when I am feeling a bit crappy. But even if you are not struggling, then this book gives a really good insight into what it feels like to live with a mental illness. Something which I think would really help to rid the world of the negative stigma surrounding mental illness.
- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I read this book while I was away on holiday and I initially expected it to be some light reading for the plane to distract me from the anxiety of being penned in with lots of people with no escape for a couple of hours, but it was actually really good! We follow the main character who appears to suffer with some form of Asperger’s syndrome. He runs his life with order and structure and so decides to apply this logic to finding a romantic partner and designs a questionnaire to vet out potential failures before they happen to save him “time”. It’s really funny and actually genuinely touching in parts. Although it isn’t exactly a tough read, it is certainly worth a few hours of your time.
- Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
I originally bought this book in my local bargain bookstore for two pounds and I thought that it would be some light hearted teen fiction and the concept seemed really interesting. Only Ever Yours is set in a world where girls are no longer developed naturally, and are created solely for the pleasure of men. The priority of these “eves” is to be beautiful, and they are raised in schools and taught about the arts of pleasing their men.
The two main characters are in their final year and are desperately hoping to be in the top ten most beautiful girls in their year so that they will be chosen as companions/wives to rich and powerful men. The alternatives to this lifestyle? A life as a concubine or as a chastity whereby they will be teaching endless generations of women to be successful where they have failed.
What struck me so hard is the fact that although the concept is so foreign and extreme, the similarities to the thought process of young girls in today’s society is worryingly similar! The focus with beauty and the obsession with perfection when it comes to their body image. A really cleverly formulated and written young adult fiction – no matter what your age, I recommend you give this a try!
- Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach
This was completely not what I was expecting and within a few chapters had completely blown me away! This book is focused around Leila, the main character, who spends more of her time online than in the real world – only really going outside to buy food and go to work! She appears to be the perfect candidate to take over the online identity of the bubbly yet extremely fragile Tess, who is desperately looking to disappear. I don’t really want to say any more about this story as it will ruin everything for you, and what I love about this book is the twists that seem to come out of nowhere. All I will say is when you are on the internet, we can be anyone that we choose to be…
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Okay, I know that this is not necessarily a book, it’s a play, but it is an amazing story! If you have been living under a rock and are unfamiliar with the story of this outstanding play then here is a quick (very quick!) summary. Prince Hamlet is depressed, like very He is having to travel back home to Denmark from his school in Germany to attend the funeral of his Dad who has recently (like, very very recently) passed away. When he gets back he is disgusted to find that his Mum has already remarried…his Dad’s brother! Unsurprisingly, Hamlet is pissed and as far as he is concerned it is “foul incest!”. The speech in it where he speaks about potential suicide and the difficulties of merely living (you know the one, “to be or not to be, that is the question…”) really resonated with me, and I have always kept my well worn copy close by to re-read when I am struggling, and has really helped.
What are your favourite books and have you read any of the ones that I mentioned? I’d love to hear what you thought about them as well! Also, if you have any book recommendations that you think I would like then please let me know, I’m trying to keep reading as much as I possibly can at the moment!