10 Books That Changed Our Lives

There is no question about it: Books play an integral part of our lives. They open us up to different worlds, ways of thinking, and vocabulary. We connect to them, and learn something new every time we turn a page. There are so many books, yet many of us only have one or two that really changed our lives. 

As part of our ‘Books to Know’ series, we asked our readers to share which books have changed their lives, and why. What we got was a beautiful array of books that have impacted us. Here are a handful: 

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

“It introduced me to a world of reading, fantasy, and the smell of books. I love reading now and read to my son before bed every night. Thank you, J.K.” –Charity Cherie Lim 

“Same.” –Cheyenne Bailey

“It made me love reading, too <3” –Boltos-Vargas Zsófia


Twilight, Breaking Dawn or New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

“I think it was the second or third Twilight book. It taught me that it’s OK to leave a book unfinished if you are not enjoying it. I am a much happier person since I do that.” –Laura Poppanen


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“It was the first novel I ever read and it opened the gate to a lifetime love of reading.” –Shantelle Logan


The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

“Not for religious implications but just the potential to impact other lives so much: whether for positive or negative. Our lives are all connected somehow. I still like to try to guess who my five would be.” –Annette Trinkle 

“I loved it and still own it, and me too, not for religious reasons. We are all connected somehow.” –Katie Edler


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“I was forced to read it in high school by a teacher I didn’t like. The only trouble was, I really enjoyed the book! It taught me that unexpected treasures can come from objectionable sources. I’ve re-read it about 5 times. I’m about due again soon.” –Rich Vanatte


The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

“One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” – Sydney Gomez


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“A true classic that pulls you in emotionally. Seeing everything unfold through Scout’s eyes and observing what was happening is very powerful.” –Colleen Willis

“It was the book that made me fall in love with reading. So beautifully written. I’ve read it many times over the years & always get lost in it. No book has ever affected me in the same way. Harper Lee was a literary genius in my eyes.” –Vicky Hurst


Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Berholle, and all of the books!

“I would say all of the books have influenced me in some way. If I had to pick one, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ taught me to enjoy real cooking and not just heating up frozen food.” –Emily Hanson 


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

“It taught me no matter what happens, your inner child and the love you give and receive can always keep you happy. The bittersweet things of life …” – Sahrish Usman


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury