Whether you purely read for pleasure or for individual growth, there is no doubt that these five books will impact you in some way. Below are five books that have truly changed my perspective on the world around us. I thought long and hard, searched my bookshelf, and scoured the internet for a list of books that I deemed sufficient enough to list. Keep reading to find what five books I finally settled on, all for completely different reasons.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
This 1877 classic novel was sure to make my list. Black Beauty weaves animal welfare, morality, and classism all into one easy-to-digest didactic novel. I love this novel, because it perfectly explains the relationship between humans and the natural world, or more specifically, our relationship with animals. The novel explores how horses were considered little less than machines, and the reader gets to see firsthand from the horse’s perspective why animals as a whole deserve the same compassion as any living being. The novel also lays out compassion, empathy, respect, and a different perspective than we are used to. If you go into this novel with an open-mind, you are sure to take away a lot.
The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
This novel tackles humans relationship with nature, inner turmoil, and forward thinking. The Dharma Bums explores minimalism, introspection, and human’s place in the universe. If you are looking for a book that will challenge the way you think about things, then this is one sure to do just that. I took a greater appreciation for self-reflection and individualism from this novel. It helps you understand that you must find inner peace in yourself rather than from materialistic, earthly things.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This is one of my favorite novels of all time, because there is so much to be learned from this book. East of Eden explores the good versus evil narrative in a whole new way, emphasizing that they simultaneously exist in us. The novel has several biblical themes, including the prodigal son, paradise, creation, and forgiveness. It proposes a new way of thinking, advocating freewill and that as humans, we always have a choice. This novel is well worth a read.
Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues offers an inside perspective on the Spokane Indians that is raw and unfiltered. He details the struggles of the Spokane and allows the reader to truly see what it is to be of Native American descent and to live on a reservation. It details the complexities of life and the psyche of relentless “otherness.” This story taught me empathy and perspective on another level.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
If you haven’t read The Giver already, then you really need to. Lowry has crafted a book that answers several “what if” questions pertaining to utopian society. It answers what could go wrong if we lived in a perfect world and how as humans, we would become disconnected to freewill and a range of emotions that cause us to not be so perfect. It taught me hope, imagination, the importance of individualism, and the power of choice. The very ending of the book lays out why things can never be perfect, because we would end up losing the very parts that make us feel.
I hope you get something from this list of books and that you add at least one to your reading list. I would love to know the books that had an impact on you, so feel free to reach out to me!