Books That Changed My Life

It’s no secret that I love to read. You’ll always find at least 2 books on my bedside table, and I’m always looking for new titles to enjoy. Though I’ve read many, many books in my 23 years, a few stick out to me due to their particular impact on my life.

Today, I’m sharing the three books that changed my life. I included one from each “educational season” of my life: middle school, high school, and the present.

Books That Changed My Life |

When It Happens

When I was young, my mom would always take me to Barnes and Noble. We would split up and I’d head straight for the Young Adult section, where I’d peruse the aisles for new titles to add to my ever-growing collection. When It Happens is one of the first books I remember picking out for myself. It’s a quintessential high school love story, complete with all the drama and embarrassing dialogue you’d expect. But, I loved it, and I always went back to it. This was one of my “formative” books – one that kept me returning to the bookstore craving more and shaped my love for reading.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This book has had the greatest influence on my life, by far. It is the reason why I studied literature in college, and it is most certainly the reason why I am an English teacher today. When I first read this novel in high school, I was mesmerized. The way Fitzgerald used the most beautiful constructions of language to tell the saddest of love stories captivated me from the start. I would sit in class in awe as we analyzed each chapter. This novel changed the way I look at literature forever.

Big Magic

This was the first self-improvement book I ever read, and it greatly impacted my outlook on life. Not only did it re-light my creative flame, but it introduced me to the idea of self-betterment. Since reading this book, I’ve started doing more writing, listening to more podcasts, and looking for hobbies to help bring out my best self. If you aspire to live a creative and inspired life, I’d highly recommend giving this book a chance!


I’d love to know what books have shaped your life! Let me know in the comments.

  • Big Magic was a really big favorite of mine as well! I know it had a lot of varying reviews, but I found it really to-the-point.

  • ‘The Great Gatsby’ is one of my all time favorites! ‘The Book Thief’ and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ are also like altering for me (the sequel to TKaMB let me down immensely :[)

    Alix |

    • Emily

      Those are two of my favorite books, as well! I didn’t really enjoy Watchman either… the writing was enjoyable, but the story wasn’t my favorite.

  • I haven’t read the first one but I LOVE the second two. To this day, nothing satisfies quite like an F. Scott Fitzgerald story. His writing is a magic all it owns.

    • Emily

      His writing is magical, indeed. I love getting lost in his stories!

  • I haven’t read any of these but they sound amazing! I will have to check them out.

  • The Great Gatsby is a good read, I agree. I read Metamorphoses at 18 and I loved the way Kafka delve into the psyche of the troubled salesman. To Kill a Mockingbird is my all time favorite book, I go back to this one often. But I must admit that “Of Mice and Men” was the book that first taught me about humanity. Loneliness could change a person, turn them into someone they’d never have dreamed of being. A person’s true intent is only known when no one else is watching.

    • Emily

      Metamorphoses is a great story! I’ve always wanted to read Of Mice and Men. I’ll have to put that one on my list!

  • I love the memory you shared about you and your mom. I currently take my 4 year old to Barnes and Nobles often (although she’s still at an age where we have to stick together, lol). I love to read and I hope that I’m setting her up to love to read just as much.

    I have yet to read “The Great Gatsby”.

  • Reading is my escape from the harsh realities of this world! One of my absolute favourites is The Great Gatsby! Something about the magic of the 20’s that makes you want to run away from this era and be part of that glamour then!

    • Emily

      I completely agree!

  • I love the Great Gatsby too, one of my favourite. Me Before You is one that changed my life. Have you read it?

  • Wonderful list!

    • Emily

      Thank you!

  • Aw! I’m so happy to hear that the Great Gatsby read your list! I’m obsessed with that time period so I love it. I should really re-read it!!

    • Emily

      It’s such a fantastic story!

  • I really need to read Great Gatsby, you have pushed me to do it now! haha. I am so happy I stumbled across your blog, you seem like such a lovely person and never stop doing what you do! x

    • Emily

      Thanks, Adele! I hope you enjoy Gatsby.