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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book List: Books That Change Your Life

Scrolling through Pinterest one day, I found this Buzzfeed article listing 51 books that prove that reading can change your life. Reading has the power to do incredible things. Here are a few books that have changed my life - regardless of if they made the Buzzfeed list. What books have changed your life? Let me know in the comments below!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Synopsis:
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At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more th
an a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and she would do it alone.

Why I loved it:
It takes a lot for a person to be able to pick up and do what Cheryl Strayed did. It's just a reminder for myself that no matter what, I can get through it. It's ok to lose your way sometimes, as long as you can find a way back. For Cheryl, it was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. For me, sometimes it's as simple as reading a book. I'm not always a fan of this genre, but I'm glad I read Wild!


The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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Synopsis:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Why I loved it:
First off, this book gave me all sorts of feels. From knowing the effects cancer has on a family first hand, this book has a very special place in my heart. It is truly a heart warming (and heart breaking) story of love between two people who don't know if they will even make it. Warning - you will probably cry reading this book.



Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Synopsis:
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Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Trainer, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she ever expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

Why I loved it:
I've only read this book recently (check out my review here). But this book seriously made me think about what I'm doing with my life and how to make it more exciting. Basically, how to make my life so that if I were to end up in a wheelchair, I would be proud of my memories and not wondering "what if". Finding companionship in the most unlikely of places and realizing that it's not your life. You can't make decisions for other people's lives. Warning - you may also cry from this book.

The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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Synopsis:
The Dark Lord, Voldemort, tried to murder Harry Potter when he was just a baby - but he failed, killing Harry's parents but leaving hi with a lightning-bolt scar. After Voldemort's disappearance, Harry is sent to live with his nasty aunt and uncle, far a
way from any hint of magic. But at the age of eleven, he is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and a magical world open before him. Each of the seven books in the series chronicles one year in Harry's adventures at Hogwarts and his battle against Voldemort. Slowly with the help of his friends, Harry unravels the mysterious of his original confrontation with Voldemort: why the Dark Lord tried to kill him, how he lived, and what he must do to survive another encounter.

Why I loved it:
Where do I even begin?!?! Most people who read these books love them! And I do fall into this category. It's so much more than a story of Harry and Voldemort. It's about friendship, family, love, good versus evil, bravery, courage, intelligence, putting others first, knowing what's important and so much more. Seriously, read these books - they are so much better than the movies. Simply amazing! I could talk about them forever!!

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Kahled Housseini

Synopsis:
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Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them - in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul - they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

Why I loved it:
This book made me think. Although it's fiction, there is a hint of truth in how these women lived and were raised. As a woman, it really makes me appreciate my freedom and the opportunities I've had knowing that many women in the world will not be afforded the same freedoms and opportunities.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Synopsis:
Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful) and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

Why I loved it:
First off, I read this entire series in a matter of days. I couldn't put it down and really wanted to know what was going to happen. Much like the Hunger Games, I loved having a super strong female character who was fearless. I found myself cheering for the characters and wanting nothing more than to jump into the book and run along side all of the characters.

Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

Synopsis:
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Grief-stricken by a recent tragedy, Jennifer returns to the resort village where she grew up to help her beloved grandmother. There, Jennifer will discover new meaning in life and experience not one, but two of the most amazing love stories ever.

Why I loved it:
I've read this book a few times, and each time I find myself smiling and crying. It's a beautifully written book about love and how it isn't always at it seems to the outside. I feel like I can't say too much about why I love it without giving the book away. It's just a beautiful love story - and different from what James Patterson usually writes.

Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah


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Synopsis:
From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be love unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success...and loneliness. Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn't know is how being a wife and mother will change her...how she'll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she'll envy her famous best friend For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship - jealous, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they've survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Why I loved it:
I sobbed reading this. Not because it was sad, but because I was picturing my best friend and I in the position of the characters. I texted her immediately afterwards reminding her of much I cherish our friendship and how much I love having her in my life. It's a beautiful story about friendship, betrayal and remembering the important parts of a friendship.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Synopsis:
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Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962 Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone. Abileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something's shifted inside her after the loss of her own so, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

Why I loved it:
I cannot say enough good things about this book. It brings to life many of the travesties African Americans faced in the south during the 1960 time frame. It's so important for us to know where we've been as a country so as not to make the same mistakes. Although this is a work of fiction, it's still powerful and definitely worth the read.

Night by Elie Wiesel


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Synopsis:
Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man. Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant and what its legacy is and will be.

Why I loved it:
I've read this book a few times in my life, and each time I get more and more out of it. It's heartbreaking to hear what Elie Wiesel and others like him went through at the concentration camps. However, it is important to know what has happened, as it is a part of our history. If you haven't read this book, I 100% recommend it.


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