Books are incredibly powerful that they can suck us in, take us on new places and adventures, influence us with the stories and throw us out so we can never be the same. These life changing books teach us, change our perspectives, help us, make us happy or sad. But the most powerful ones change our lives forever.
Here is a small list of the life changing books; that if read once, you’ll never be the same person you used to be.
‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Synopsis: The story begins with the narrator remembering something he drew as a child. As per the narrator, the drawing consisted of an elephant inside the stomach of a snake. However, none of the adults around him understood it and claimed that it was simply a hat. They felt that since the narrator could not draw well, he should try his hand at another hobby.
Then, the story comes to the present day. Now, the narrator is grown up and has become a pilot. His plane crashes in the Sahara Desert. Here, he meets a small man whom he calls the little prince. Little prince narrates various tales about his home such as a little asteroid with three volcanoes and different plants. He also tells the narrator about his journeys to different asteroids ruled by strange conceited men.
‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini
Synopsis: This novel is set in Afghanistan from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. This period saw some of the ugliest phases in Afghanistan as it witnessed the Russian invasion, Taliban rule and American intervention. It revolves around two women, Mariam and Laila, who have contradictory attitudes and very little in common.
However, a series of unfortunate events and dramatic changes intertwine their lives; and their subsequent friendship and support for each other is the jest of this book. Khalid Hosseini takes us through an unforgettable journey of war, misery, troubles, losses and ultimately the divine fate. Along with these two brave women, the hardcore Pashtun, Rasheed give a different angle to this saga which makes it one of the best life changing books.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood
Synopsis: The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.
This book included in the life changing books list because of its plot and the way author narrated main character’s life.
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Truman Capote
Synopsis: In autumn 1943, the unnamed narrator befriends Holly Golightly. The two are tenants in a brownstone apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Holly (age 18–19) is a country girl turned New York café society girl. As such, she has no job and lives by socializing with wealthy men, who take her to clubs and restaurants, and give her money and expensive presents; she hopes to marry one of them.
Holly likes to shock people with carefully selected tidbits from her personal life or her outspoken viewpoints on various topics. Over the course of a year, she slowly reveals herself to the narrator, who finds himself fascinated by her curious lifestyle.
‘Love Letters to the Dead’ by Ava Dellaira
Synopsis: This book is one of the best life changing books I’ve read. It begins as an assignment for English class, write a letter to a dead person any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain he died young, and so did Laurel’s sister May so maybe he’ll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix and Amelia Earhart. it’s like she can’t stop. And she’d certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher.
She writes about what it’s like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time and how her family has shattered since May died. But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can’t keep real life out forever.
‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt
Synopsis: Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.
As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love and his talisman, the painting, places him at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
‘Catch-22’ by Joseph Heller
synopsis: “Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy — it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service.
The way author narrated the life and situations in war times, includes it to the list of the life changing books.
‘Into Thin Air’ by Jon Krakauer
synopsis: Well, This book doesn’t need any introduction why it was included in the list of life changing books. “A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that ‘suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.’ He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more — including Krakauer’s — in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s epic account of the May 1996 disaster.
‘All the Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven
Synopsis: ‘All Bright Places’ is a compelling and beautiful love story that revolves around a boy who is eager to give-up living as death fascinates him. He tries several ways to kill himself but is always being saved by kind encounters.
Theodore Finch (main male character) meets Violet Markey (main female character), who has bright hopes from future and is waiting her graduation days to end, while her aching heart struggles to overcome the grief of her sister’s death. Story takes a quick leap with their encounter on the ledge of the bell tower at school, which leave a vague notion as who saves whom.
‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Synopsis: As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race.
Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger.
‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy
synopsis: A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there.
They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.
‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy
synopsis: Anna Karenina seems to have everything – beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike, and soon brings jealousy and bitterness in its wake.
Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Konstantin Levin, a man striving to find contentment and meaning to his life – and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself. This book is one of the best work by Leo Tolstoy and one of the most influential life changing books.
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