Throughout my teenage years, I never really read books. I would rather pick up the latest Cosmo issue than pick up a novel and the reason for this was because I thought they were boring; that was until I read my first fiction book and got lost in the plot. This was about 4 or 5 months ago and since that first book I’ve read countless novels, fiction and non-fiction and truly found myself getting caught up in plot twists and gripped by suspense. I wanted to pen down the books that I can honestly say that have, in someway, changed my life. I’ve picked out five of the many books that I have sitting on my shelf and have chosen them because of how they made me feel and how the completely changed my outlook on life.
My first book is a fiction book called All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Now when I first saw this book, admitidly it was in the teenage section of Waterstones but it’s colourful cover drew me in and when I read the blurb, I could already tell it was going to be one of those books that I would be hooked with. And I was. The blurb tells of how a young man, Theodore Finch, who wants to take his life so goes to the top of his schools bell tower where he meets Violet Markey, a young girl plagued by her sisters death. They were both there for the same reasons and from that, their story begins. It is a deeply moving novel that honestly had me in tears at some points whilst other pages had me clutching for air from laughing too much. It puts an awful lot of things we take for granted into perspective; things like mental health. You never know the thoughts that people from all walks of life have on a daily basis and I feel that this could be a parent, sibling, cousin or best friend. I have struggled for years with mental health and think that it is brilliant that this book, primarily aimed at young adults, can teach people the signs of depression and other mental illnesses so they can identify them sooner and possibly save a life. I would 100% recommend this book to anyone looking for a bit of a tear-jerker with comedy weaved in between!
Next up is a fantastic non-fiction novel for women called Moody Bitches by Dr Julie Holland. Dr Holland goes deep into the minds of women and their genetic make up to explain why she believes that women are moody and designed to be moody when things piss us off. She talks all things from sex and drugs to work and sleep and every thing she identifies in this book makes you sit back and justify every mood swing you’ve ever had! She talks about how it is okay to feel the way you do and it is okay to be upset or angry at subjects that may mean nothing to others because that is just how us women have been hardwired. I feel that the author brilliantly captures the feelings of all women and there will be a handful of topics that you can relate to with facts and findings that will have you shocked at the female body. This book was my first non-fiction read and I was just instantly absorbed into the pages; if you’re wondering why you always feel crap and don’t know why, I’d suggest you give this a read.
Next up is another non-fiction novel and one that is considered a holy grail to its millions of readers; it is none other than Sali Hughes’ Pretty Honest. This book is an absolute staple whether you’re a complete beauty guru or a cant-tell-your-bronzer-from-your-contour kinda gal and this is purely down to the way Sali writes; she’s funny, informative and, as the title suggests, honest. She covers everything from hair and makeup to skincare and perfume and everything is just spot on! This book is also the gift that keeps on giving, reasons being the content is just incredible, it’s a book you can return to for guidance and it looks incredible on a book case.
Back to fiction now and this one is another book related to the complications of mental illness with alcoholism, rehabilitation and rape. The plot in this book Nina is Not Ok, focuses on Nina, a young adult sitting her a-levels with, unbeknown to her, an addiction to alcohol. Nina is portrayed as a your average girl in school with typical family problems but you quickly come to realise that she isn’t your average high-school girl but in fact one battling an awful lot of demons. The reason this novel is in my collection of books that changed my life is because it related to myself an awful lot, but I wasn’t the one with the alcohol dependency. Although addiction is something I have been through and still going through is that I have family members with alcoholism and lost my dad to alcohol-related health problems. The way the author, Shappi Kohrsandi, portrays Nina is fantastic and is unbelievably true to life; alcoholism is real and not just with older adults but with young adults too and that is what I believe makes this book so good! The other reason this book relates to myself is the part about rape. If you’ve been an avid reader of my blog, you would have seen ‘my story’ in my earlier posts, in which I talk about my own dealings with rape. Shappi excellently shows the reader that this tragic crime can happen to anyone but there is help and support out there to try and get you through. I feel that if I had read this book before my attack, it would have prompted me to contact police instead of being scared of not being believed or to have everybody know that you were raped by someone. This, out of all the books I am talking about in this post, is my all time favourite and I would encourage anybody, even if they have not been through or have seen someone go through these things, to pick it up!
My last book on this list is another non-fiction book and one that is related to my personal battle with mental health. This is a book that has helped me understand and cope with one of my illnesses; written by two psychiatrists this book focuses on coping with Borderline Personality Disorder. The authors go through the different factors of the intense emotional instability that sufferers of the illness go through on a daily basis and gives the reader tips from DBT and CBT skills that can help you understand the emotions you are feeling and how to cope. Coping with BPD by Blaise Aguirre and Gillian Galen is an excellent book to pick up if you have been diagnosed with a form of BPD and goes through the emotions and gives you scenarios to help you understand better. Having this book, for me personally, has been incredible to help me understand that what I feel is real and that although it cant be treated with medication, there are skill-sets to learn from to help you cope better. Getting my diagnosis and being told that there is no pill that can treat it was unbelievably daunting but this book has helped me to realise about my illness and for this reason that is why it is on my list.
That’s it for my post on books that have changed my life. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these books or have books that have changed your personal outlook on life. Thanks for reading.