Joyful Stuff Life Lessons

5 Books that Changed my Life and Why


I have always been a book worm .. when the other kids at school were competing against each other outdoors I locked myself away in the library determined to beat my personal best in the MS Read-a-thon. Words were always my thing, numbers not poetic enough for me. The ability to lose yourself in words is one of life’s greatest joys don’t you think? Over the years I have gravitated to real stories, self help and selected fiction that stirs the emotions.

It would be near impossible for me to create a TOP 5 list of books that changed my life! So many books have done just that. It is easier to focus on 5 at a time.

♡ A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

WHY? This best selling self help book is based on the Principles of A Course in Miracles. I return to Marianne’s words often and you will most likely recognise this hugely celebrated quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Marianne opens this book with these words: “When we were born, we were programmed perfectly. We had a natural tendency to focus on love. Our imaginations were creative and flourishing, and we knew how to use them. We were connected to a world much richer than the one we connect to now, a world full of enchantment and a sense of the miraculous. So what happened?”

I learned so much the first time I read this book, and it is a book that you will want to return to over and over. Returning to love is about returning to your natural state.

♡ Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

WHY? Cheryl Strayed is one of my favourite writers. Cheryl lost her Mother around the same age I lost mine, and every word she shares speaks to me so perfectly. This book is a collection of letters that Cheryl wrote in her role as agony aunt ‘Dear Sugar’. The letters are heart breaking, hilarious and a mix of both at times. The advice that Cheryl shares is so real, honest and inspired by her own incredibly wise heart.

From Tiny Beautiful Things: “The kindest and most meaningful thing anyone ever says to me is: Your Mother would be proud of you. Finding a way in my grief to become the woman who my Mother raised me to be is the most important way I have honoured my Mother. It has been the greatest salve to my sorrow. The strange and painful truth is that I’m a better person because I lost my Mum young. When you say you experience my writing as sacred, what you are touching is the divine place within me that is my Mother.”

♡ Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

WHY? Bronnie has worked very closely with many people at the end of their lives. I loved these insights, and having the ability to take the power of hindsight shared by others so profoundly can truly change the way you see the world and your precious life!

From Top 5 Regrets of the Dying: “The same view you look at every day, the same life, can become something brand new by focusing on its gifts rather than the negative aspects. Perspective is your own choice and the best way to shift that perspective is through gratitude, by acknowledging and appreciating the positives.”

“Don’t worry about the little stuff. None of it matters. Only love matters. If you remember this, that love is always present; it will be a good life”

♡ One Day by David Nicholls

WHY? It is quite rare for me to finish a work of fiction! I have learned that it is perfectly OK to abandon a book and pass it onto someone else (or charity) if it does not light me up within the first few pages. Your time is precious, in the same way that you should abandon a bad movie, I give you permission to walk away from a mediocre book! One Day is one of my all time favourite novels. Simply because it hurts my heart at the same time as it fills me with a deep sense of love and hope. The movie is one of the better adaptations I have seen and it moves me to tears every single time.

From One Day: “What are you going to do with your life?” In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing and still she was no nearer an answer… “Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”

♡ Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell

WHY? I am a bit of a Rebecca Campbell fan girl! Since she first appeared in all her dreamy beauty in the self help space I have been drawn to her mix of honesty and magic. There is something a bit mystical about her writing, but at the same time it is really relatable and simple. This book will support you to find your own light, and it is filled with bite sized gems and chapters that are easy to digest.

From Light is the New Black: “Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt happened for you, not to you. And bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open because the world needs you open.”

“You have an inner light within you that is craving to be shared by those around you, by the world at large – but mostly by you. When you share your unique light, bit by bit, you light up the lives of those around you. And, one by one, you inspire them to light up too. It’s a chain reaction. And before long, the whole world lights up. Your light is contagious.”

Have you read any of these? I would love you to share any other books that have changed your life.


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