As someone who is going in to their third year of studying English Literature and Philosophy, books have definitely had a big ol impact on my life.
I thought I would do something very different for my blog and talk about some of my favourite reads and how they changed and influenced my life. I found this really hard to narrow down so please let me know if you would enjoy a part two!
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
When anybody asks me what my favourite book is, this springs to mind. For my birthday last year, Adam bought me a gorgeous copy that I am excited to reread in time after completely destroying my old copy from so much use! If you have never heard of this classic; Tess of the D’Urbervilles is about a young girl called Tess that is sexually assaulted by her “cousin”. She falls pregnant but her baby dies in infancy and the plot follows her stoic journey from the fake relative who abused her to the man who idolises her so much that his curated vision of her destroys their relationship. I personally find the book light years ahead of its time and I feel like Hardy did a fantastic job in creating a feminist piece of literature without potentially ever intending to. I cannot draw similarities with mine and Tess’ lives but there is something about her character that you can’t help but empathise with. Hardy’s rape scene perfectly crafts what appears as a dominant view across time – one that we now refer to as victim blaming. Where Hardy symapthises for Tess and how her assault essentially is the catalyst for the hardship in her life, characters see her as responsible for his crime through, ultimately, having a bit of a flirt. I think if you enjoy feminist literature, you will appreciate this book as it basically catapulted me in to these types of conversations and cemented my determinism to be a part of this discussion.
The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck
On a slightly more modern note, this book has completely helped changed my anxious little world. I definitely over think things, worry and allow myself to be consumed with how others choose to perceive me. Since reading this book, I have started to declutter my mind of these thoughts and instead replace them with much happier and positive ideas. I have begun to learn what steps I should take and what methods I should use to feel less overwhelmed with life commitments and focus on myself and my happiness. I love the humour in this book and it definitely makes what is essentially masked as a self help book be incredibly interesting and insightful.
The Harry Potter Series
This may be an incredibly obvious one for many people but I had to include it. Under this umbrella I must mention the film franchise also and the casting of Emma Watson as it all contributes to why the Harry Potter series helped changed and shape my life. The series has definitely touched and moulded so many lives but it is also responsible for creating a character that I totally aspired to as a child. I truly believe that I was a motivated individual because I was inspired by Hermione and Emma Watson’s portrayal of her. Hermione, and like wise Emma Watson, may have been representing a pretty ballsy character when it comes to on screen battles but coupled with her insane intelligence and dedication to learning – I had a friend for life. I wanted to be Hermione. I wanted (and still do) to be Emma. I aspired to be the girl with confidence, bravery and intelligence and if these aren’t qualities you want to take precedence in childhood then you’re crazy! I liked that she wasn’t about pink and unicorns and boys but rather creating her own path and totally bossing it.
What books have changed your life?