Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Changed My Life


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is Thanksgiving-themed, so I’m going to feature ten books that have made a difference in my life and I’m thankful to have read.

1. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This wouldn’t be a Top Ten Tuesday if this amazing book wasn’t in it. This is my favourite book of all time and I still don’t really know how it changed my life but I remember putting the book down and feeling like I was a different person to who I was before I read it. I think I even wrote in my review something along the lines of “I don’t know how but this book has changed my life”. This might sound a little bit strange but, in a way, I felt enlightened? I kind of felt like I’d had some sort of mental cleanse and there was a moment of absolute freedom and clarity. I’m probably sounding like a crazy person right now.

2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I probably don’t need to explain this one. The Harry Potter series was my obsession from when I was about 10 years old until I was about 17? I read Harry Potter fanfiction all the time and my whole life was about Harry Potter.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I had to read this book for school when I was in Year 8. It had come out the previous year in Australia and our teachers made us read it for English class because it was getting a lot of recognition worldwide that year. The Book Thief was the first required reading that I remember enjoying immensely. It was probably also the book that ignited my love for WWII historical fiction.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

TFIOS was the book that got me back into reading YA. I read it a couple of months before the movie came out and that slowly got me back into YA and fiction in general. Before that I was reading a lot of non-fiction and psychology related self-help books.

5. Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki

This is my favourite manga of all time (also my favourite anime and live action movie) and it was the first manga series that I remember reading. After reading Rurouni Kenshin, I fell in love with manga and I still read a lot of manga to this day.

6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

This was another book that I had to read for English class in high school and it was another one that I really loved. This book is a Man Booker Prize winner and it really made me aware of literary prizes. I love reading prize winners now and I follow the Man Booker Prize really closely.

7. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This is my favourite classic of all time and it was the first one that I read independently of class and loved. It’s such a great story with some really complex characters. It made me fall in love with Oscar Wilde and I’ve loved everything of his that I’ve read so far. This book pushed me to read more classic literature outside of class.

8. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

I featured this one recently in a book tag so this might sound repetitive… but The Magic Faraway Tree was one of the first books that I read by myself as a kid. It was read to me in school when I was about 6 years old and I loved it so much that I made my parents buy it for me so that I could read it again by myself. This led to me being obsessed with Enid Blyton and at one point I owned almost everything she’d ever written.

9. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

This novel is my favourite YA novel of all time, but that’s not why I’m featuring it today. This book was one of the first LGBTQ+ books that I read after getting back into reading. And it made me realize how much I love books that feature LGBTQ+ characters and explore sexuality. So I guess it opened my eyes to the whole #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement.

10. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

This is another strange one but this was the first Shakespearean play that I read from start to finish. It made me see that 16th century English in iambic pentameter isn’t as intimidating as I thought it was… which was a good thing because we had to study one of Shakespeare’s plays each year.

What are some books that have made a difference in your life or have shaped you into the reader you are today?

42 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Changed My Life

  1. cwreads says:

    I had super lame ones, like Mister Pip and Tomorrow When the War Began. πŸ˜₯

    Your little anecdote for A Light We Cannot See is literally SCREAMING for me to read it! I love finding books that change you. It’s such a surreal feeling. Byyy the way you definitely don’t sound crazy. I must read this.

    A book that has changed me, HMMMMM, I feel like I ought to know the answer to this… but the only ones that spring to mind are Norwegian Wood and Nineteen Eighty Four – especially the latter! It was probably the only reason why I got into Sociology. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Ugh I remember Tomorrow When the War Began being an option for reading during primary school… I’m not a big fan of John Marsden. It was super cool that we got to read The Book Thief! And we got brand new copies as well since it was a new release πŸ˜€
      I love All the Light We Cannot See so much! It has the most beautiful, lyrical and metaphorical writing. Everything about that book is perfect. So many feels! And it won the Pulitzer Prize a couple of months ago!! So happy that I have a hardcover first edition ❀
      I almost put Norwegian Wood on this list because it was the first literary fiction novel that I remember reading outside of school!

      Liked by 1 person

      • cwreads says:

        Neither! But I may have to reread Marsden again – it felt like a million years ago.

        Oh gosh, I love that stuff. GIMMEGIMME. I’m a sucker for lyrical writing, I don’t know why. Like, I wasn’t very fond of Shatter Me which had the most purple prose, but I enjoyed it, haha. Okay I’ve added it to my TBR – with your name next to it so I know who recommends me the good books! (Though, I have no doubt that you rec the best!)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    AHHH SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS LIST. :’) I absolutely adore The Book Thief (aka it made me howl with tears) and I’m so glad you speak so highly of All the Light We Cannot See! I have it on reserve at the library (I’m behind like, um, 30 people though… AGHH. XD ) and I can’t wait to try it. πŸ˜€ Here’s my TTT!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      The Book Thief killed me over and over again. I CRIED IN CLASS T_T. And then the movie killed me all over again. I absolutely love All the Light We Cannot See. If you enjoyed The Book Thief, I think you’ll love All the Light too! And WOW 30 people??! I hope you get it eventually because it’s definitely worth the wait! Best. Book. Ever.


  3. Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks says:

    Wow, I really love the fact that you were able to put down a book, and think, damn, I HAVE changed after reading this. I can’t remember the last time that happened to me, but I’m really looking forward to this kind of feeling when reading a book. I might have to check this book out, I’m very curious about it now! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lianne @ says:

    Wonderful list! All the Light We Cannot See is such a fantastic book, definitely one of the best I’ve read this year πŸ™‚ I’ve been meaning to re-read A Midsummer Night’s Dream; I had read it early in my road to reading all of Shakespeare’s plays and I admit, a lot of what happened just flew over my head xD Will have to revisit it one of these days…

    My TTT

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Veronika says:

    I absolutely love your list! I think my favorite thing in the HP series isn’t the story or the characters – even though, they’re undoubtedly awesome – but the impact these novels had on so many readers’ lives! I’m currently reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and LOVING IT so far!
    Wonderful list!
    My TTT

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I’m so glad to hear that you’re loving The Picture of Dorian Gray! It’s a really easy-to-read classic and was my favourite book of all time until I read All the Light We Cannot See! And I completely agree with you on your thoughts about Harry Potter having a huge impact on our lives. I don’t think I would be so obsessed with Harry Potter if I’d read it for the first time now. But it was definitely a magical experience when I read it for the first time as a kid!


  6. Ashley says:

    I loved the Book Thief so much! I wasn’t really sure how I was going to feel about it, but it was recommended to me and I ended up loving it! So glad I gave it a chance. I probably wouldn’t have read it had it not been recommended to me. I really want to read I’ll Give You the Sun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I probably wouldn’t have read The Book Thief if I hadn’t read it for class. I ended up loving it so much and discovered a new genre that I’d never considered reading before! Definitely a life changing book. I’ll Give You the Sun is absolutely wonderful. It has the most beautiful writing and the story is really well thought out as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lydia Tewkesbury says:

    Every time you talk about All The Light We Cannot See I want to read it even more. I love what you said about the mental cleanse. I could certainly use some of that right now. I understand what you mean though. It’s a pretty magical feeling when you finish a book and resolve that you’re going to do life better.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Zoe says:

    Harry Potter, The Book Thief and I’ll Give You the Sun are definitely some of my favorite books as well Jenna. πŸ™‚ They all helped me grow as a reader in some way. Thanks for sharing and great choices! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. vlangloisx3 says:

    I’ve really been wanting to read The Picture of Dorian Gray, even though I usually avoid classics (sometimes). And All the Light We Cannot See also changed my life, I don’t know how either, but I just felt the need to make everyone read it and feel my pain. Maybe because the story itself portrays reality, but at the same time it doesn’t. It’s magical.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      The Picture of Dorian Gray is such an easy classic to read! I really recommend it! There’s just something about All The Light We Cannot See. It really is magical and life-changing! I’m glad I’ve found somebody else who feels the same way πŸ˜€


  10. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    There’s so many amazing books on this list Jenna! So exciting that you love Kenshin as well, I watched that when I was younger. Have you seen the live actions – they are so good! TFIOS was definitely a great read, even though I put it off for so long because of the sadness. I was bawling lol. But you always remember that special book that started the YA obsession!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Omg I love the Rurouni Kenshin live action movies! I’ve probably seen the first one 30+ times and the other two about 5 times each. AMAZING! *runs off to rewatch AGAIN* I bawled so hard while reading TFIOS. Like uncontrollably ugly-crying, which made my mum say “you should read things that make you happy”. “Mum, this does make me happy.” πŸ˜₯


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