Thursday, 7 March 2019

World Book Day 2019: Ten Books That Changed My Life

Happy World Book Day! This used to be one of my favourite days at school when I was little. I loved the chance to dress up as my favourite characters, talk about books all day and get a book token at the end! I think it's a shame we don't continue dressing up each year once we are adults really, maybe we should all suggest it to HR for next year hehe.

To celebrate today I thought it would be really interesting and fun to share 10 books that have changed my life. For me books will always be a magical place to disappear into with life changing possibilities with each turn of the page and I will never stop reading. I hope you enjoy having a little look at ten books that changed my life.

1. Mathilda by Roald Dahl

I thought I'd start at the beginning with a book I read as a little one. I absolutely loved the character of Mathilda. I was already a total book worm by that point but she encouraged me to keep discovering and experiencing the world through reading. The Trunchbull absolutely terrified me as she did most children I think but that only added to the excitement and magic of the story.

2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

It may seem cliché but it's a cliché for a reason! Most of us have all been touched by the magical world of Harry Potter and I will always love diving back into these books. They were a place of safety to go to when things were tough. I had my first cry reading a book to Harry Potter and my first fit of giggles. They will always hold a special place in my heart.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was 10 years old after picking up a copy at my church fair for only 50p. Little did I know that 50p would change my life and start a life long love affair with Jane Austen, Mr Darcy and classic literature. I was enraptured by the story and in total awe of Elizabeth Bennet's sparkling character. I loved the beauty of the language, the twist and turns of the plot and couldn't wait to read more. I've read the book countless times now and it is still a firm favourite.

4. Poirot by Agatha Christie

I couldn't pin point an exact book, although I do have some firm favourites (Death on the Nile anyone?) but Agatha Christies writing has always been a huge favourite of mine. I first read a Poirot novel in my early teens and fell in love with the excitement of the old fashioned crime novels. It inspired me to try writing my own crime novels and one holiday I wrote my first ever short novel. Christie's writing has continued to inspire me for years and years and I love discovering more and more about her.

5. Wedding Season by Katie Fforde

I read this when I was a teenager and absolutely fell in love with it. I was already quite enamoured by the genre of romantic fiction thanks to Jane Austen but I loved Katie Fforde's modern take on it. I read this book a few times over the years and it inspired me to start writing my own romantic fiction. This is now the genre which the majority of my stories are based in one of which got me a place to study Creative Writing at Oxford University. I'm not quite sure my writing would be the same without this book.

6. God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew

I read this book shortly after becoming a Christian. If you don't know about this book it is an autobiography of a man who smuggled bibles under the iron curtain during the 60s and 70s. It is the most amazing story of a man's unbelievable faith and a miracle working God. It is totally inspiring and changed the way I viewed my faith pushing me to trust my God and take risks in ways I never would have before. It is awe inspiring, beautiful and trust me when I say, you really won't be able to put it down.

7. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

This book! Ahhh I love it so much. It is a Christian fiction romance with so much power and beauty in each page it just blows you away. This book really did change my life, helping me to process some of the darker parts of my past and to know I belonged to a God who could redeem any story. It not only changed the way I viewed myself, my faith and my God but it also inspired me to write stories like this. I realised I could use my love of romantic fiction and writing to create beautiful novels that might help others as this one has helped me. It set me firmly on the path of Christian romantic fiction and pointed me towards my future as a writer.

8. To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World by Lucy Siegle

I read this book a few years ago when I started to learn that buying lots of cheap clothes was definitely not the right thing to be doing. It completely changed my life. Over night I decided to completely change my habits and become an advocate for slow, sustainable and ethical fashion. I changed the premise of my blog, I began researching more about the many problems and looking for solutions and I also started to campaign for the rights of those making my clothes. This book completely changed how I lived and has influenced all I've done since then. I am now about to do my third talk on ethical and sustainable fashion, I write for Tearfund's online magazine about sustainable and ethical fashion and I'm also working on a book on sustainable living. For me this book changed everything and helped me to become the person I am today.

9. Home For Good by Krish Kandiah

When I began studying social work at university when I was 20 it opened my eyes up to just how many people in this country struggle each and every day. There are so many terrible things that privileged people like myself have never had to go through. I soon realised I wanted to do as much as I could to help and one of the things I felt really called to was to foster. I told my boyfriend at the time (now my husband) and we decided it was something we might do one day in the future when we were married.

A few years later I read this fantastic book. The book is all about fostering and adopting from a Christian perspective and it totally blew me away. I had always thought about fostering because I felt I wanted to do it but this book made me realise it was something I should do as a Christian, a really important job that God needed us to do in this world. It pushed me to think about doing it now and over the last year we have started putting things into place to become foster parents. We are hoping to start this journey by the end of 2019 and I honestly don't think we'd be here without this book.

10. The Bible

Obviously couldn't have this post without the most important book in my life. It is my strength, my solace, my love, my everything. Just opening my flowery NIV up brings me peace and joy that I cannot describe. If I could only have one more book for the rest of my life this would be the one.

And there you have my ten books that changed my life! I would so love to hear yours in the comments so please do share and I wish you all a very happy World Book Day!

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