Ten Books That Changed My Life
This post originally started out on Facebook when I was tagged in a similar post by my friend Dana and asked to name the 10 books that changed my life. As I created my list and kept finding I was giving longer and longer reasons so the list got copied here and will be found below the break. Before I start the list I feel I should define what I mean by Books That Changed My Life. For me, the books listed below have had the same effect as a gateway drug opening up new authors, style of writing or genres to me. Many books on this list won’t be a surprise to anyone who looks at this list on a regular basis. Finally, the list is roughly in time order from my childhood, however, as I didn’t note down exactly when I first read them please excuse any mistakes. The ten books are:
- The Asterix Books by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo – this series of books were probably my favourite as a child and I still go back to them. My first introduction to fantasy, because it clearly isn’t realist, but over all a great read.
- The Mouse Butcher by Dick King-Smith – The Mouse Butcher was probably my favourite book as a child and I love the world it created. I can still remember chunks of it to this day. What I most liked about the world was how unique it was and how dark. King-Smith doesn’t shy away from the nasty elements of lift. You can read more on my thoughts on The Mouse Butcher Here.
- The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling – I’ve picked this book for similar reasons as The Mouse Butcher above. It was also the first book that introduced me to the concept of difference and how it can affect people (and in The Jungle Book‘s case, animals.)
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick – a book I picked for an English essay and loved the world it built that felt so new and grown up compared to the other books I was reading at the time. Philip K. Dick quickly became one of my favourite authors and every sci-fi I’ve read since is always compared to his work. It is also one of the few books I’ve re-read quite a few times.
- The Lost World by Michael Crichton/The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – Yes this is two books in one slot and yes both are hardly great writing. However, both hooked me into reading again. I often read in chunks taking a break of months and sometimes years. Both these books pulled me back into reading after a very long gap!
- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman – I love the His Dark Materials and the depth they have. They are the kind of tales I’d have love to have written.
- L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy – this one is a great example of how these books aren’t my favourite. Of Ellroy‘s books The Big Nowhere is my favourite but L.A. Confidential introduced me properly to Ellroy and his very unique style of writing.
- The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas by John Boyne – it is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read and I’ve tried and copied Boyne‘s style many times but never achieved it. To read more about my thoughts on The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas click here.
- The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks – My introduction to the best novelist of his generation and a man who sees the world in a wonderfully daft yet brilliant way. I’ve looked down on many a good book because they are similar to Iain Banks but not as good!
- Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course by Delia Smith – Yes this is a cookery book but it is one I always go back to if I need to work out how to cook something. When I’m not sure how to cook something this is the book I reach for.