One of my favourite things about books, besides their ability to transport me to another place and time, is how they are able to present new ideas and perspectives that may not have reached me otherwise. I’ve been lucky enough to have read and studied many books growing up, and this has continued even after I graduated from formal schooling. I can’t be more thankful that reading has provided me with so many opportunities to learn and absorb stories that are different from my own, and as I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve come to the conclusion that I never, ever want to stop learning. The following three books are ones that have strongly influenced me, helping to shape my worldview and opinions on certain topics. Since this weekend is American thanksgiving, I thought I’d give my thanks to these books on my blog.
1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
With everything that has been going on lately, I’ve been compelled to put all of my other books aside and re-read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. I read this book for the first time in high school and even then it resonated strongly with me. During this re-read, I am not only aware of its political message, I am also appreciating Atticus Finch’s character a lot more; he is a great father to Jem and Scout and their relationship is so wonderful and heartwarming to read about. I have not finished my re-read, but I’m seriously contemplating reviewing the book once I am done.
Everyone should at least give this classic book a go as it reminds us that right thing isn’t always the easiest to do, but standing up for what is right is always worth a try.
2. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
Shortlisted for the 2014 Giller Prize, this tender and skillfully crafted book asks us to reconsider our views on assisted suicide and depression. As Yoli grapples with her sister Elf’s desire to end her own life, she is faced with a difficult question: should she help her sister? Is it selfish to keep someone alive when they want to die? Is there a right or wrong thing to do? This has always been something that I’ve wondered about, and I respect Toews’ nonjudgmental way of presenting the varying point of views on this subject. After reading this book, I feel like my thoughts on this are more well-rounded, and I am thankful that this book allowed me to work out my feelings along with it.
I’d recommend this book for those who have ever wanted to read an insightful and thought-provoking book that deals with the morality of suicide. The book itself doesn’t deliver a concrete answer, but perhaps you’ll be able to work out your views yourself along the way.
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Another classic that is commonly taught in high school, The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that reinforced my views regarding gender inequality, and how haunting it can be when a society or regime is so oppressive that basic human rights are restricted by made up rules. What would happen if women’s basic rights to read and live a fulfilled life with a chosen family get taken away? Logically, human rights should be a given, but The Handmaid’s Tale presents a terrifying world where these rights are privileges belonging to a select few.
Interested in human rights and gender equality or unconcerned when it comes to these matters? This book is bound to be thought-provoking to whoever picks it up.
That’s it for me! These books have all profoundly impacted me in one way or another and I would love to hear your thoughts on them. Have you read any of these books? Are there any books that have shaped YOUR worldview and changed your mind about things?
18 thoughts on “3 Inspiring Books That Have Shaped My Worldview”
Those three books are on my to-be-read list! The Handmaid’s Tale because it feels like the best introduction to Margaret Artwood, All my Punny Sorrows simply because I got intrigued by the blurb right away, and To Kill A Mockingbird because it seems to be THE classic book to read in North America (I’ve never heard of it in Europe unfortunately :S).
It’s hard for me to pinpoint books that shaped my worldview, it feels like every book added a little something after each read. If I had to thank a few authors who helped me a lot, it would be Emile Zola, Henri Troyat and André Comte-Sponville (the latter one is a philosopher actually). And Albert Cohen for reading the best book I’ve ever read: Belle du Seigneur.
It’s interesting to me that To Kill A Mockingbird isn’t as common in Europe! I suppose it makes sense as it’s an American text. I hope you enjoy the three books! They’re all so special in their own ways.
I’m not so good at picking out books that have changed me/inspired me/influenced me. I could probably choose some if I looked back at my list, but I find that most good books I read affect my view of the world in some way, anyway. They either teach me, remind me, or challenge me in some way. Even the light-hearted ones are valuable for reminding me to laugh and enjoy life. Some books do so more than others, though, and the three you have chosen are definitely good ones!
I never really thought of my lighter reads that way, Naomi, but that’s such a great attitude! Next time I read a more comedic book I’ll definitely take the time to remember that!
What a wonderful collection of books. I can understand why each and every one has influenced you. Thanks so much of sharing – 🙂
Thanks for commenting, Lindsey! These books are so dear to me that I just had to spread the word so that others can enjoy them too. 🙂
Very excited that my library ordered a copy of All My Puny Sorrows at my request and it’s headed my way right now. I’ve been wanting to read it since you first raved about it, so I can’t wait for it to get here!
Aw, that makes me so happy! I hope you enjoy it, as well as all the readers who pick it up after you!
To Kill a Mockingbird offers one of the strongest father figures in all of literature. Atticus Finch is someone who embodies the best of humanity.
Definitely. I have so much respect for him and I love that he never tried to make Scout a lady when all she wanted to do was run around in her overalls with Dill and her brother.
Two wonderful books that I recognize. I’m guessing the third must be excellent and awareness stretching around end of life questions.
It definitely reaffirmed a lot of the thoughts I had about the subject. I hope you enjoy it if you decide to pick it up!
When I read To Kill a Mockingbird it was probably one of the best things I could have done at the time, it shaped me into a better person. The Handmaid’s Tale was marvellous as well, very important, just not as readable. I’ve not read All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, but I’ll be adding it to my to-buy list.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of All My Puny Sorrows. It’s such a beautifully-written and human book that I can’t help but feel attached to it. The Handmaid’s Tale’s ending still haunts me to this day!
To Kill a Mockingbird and Handmaid’s Tale are two of my favorite books. I love Margaret Atwood! I have been meaning to reread To Kill a Mockingbird forever.