Reading is magical, it takes us to worlds unseen and allows us to lead extraordinary lives. Here are 15 of those magical books that will change your life for the better.
1.- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This is one of our personal favorites, it is such a wonderfully simplistic piece of literature. It details the story of Santiago, the shepherd boy on a journey to realize his “Personal Legend”. This book has inspired people all over the world to live their dreams. This book is super easy to read and very relatable. It is great for vacations or when you are on the go. The story teaches a powerful metaphor; how to find your purpose in life.
This was Paulo Coelho’s first novel, originally written in Portuguese, it became one of the most translated books of all time and an international bestseller. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world. Not too bad for a first novel!
2.- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This may be one of the most important books in print at the moment. When originally written in 1985, the book was a terrifying tale of a dystopian future. However, now the tale feels a little too realistic for many. The Handmaid’s Tale upends the United States as we know it and paints the picture of a society where women are once again second-class citizens. In a near future “New England”, a totalitarian state that overthrows the government and implements their own religious set of rules which is enforced with an iron fist. War is raging, fertility rates are dropping, and a Handmaid of the Republic in Gilead does her best to survive the chaos.
Many will recognize this book from the popular show which did a wonderful job of capturing the terrifying essence of the novel. But, to experience the full weight of this book you should give it a read. Especially if you are a woman.
3.- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book is a self-help classic written in 1936 and is still as relevant today as ever. It reads like an instruction manual on how you can be more liked by others, get them to do favors for you, and even change their behavior under your influence. Carnegie believes that in order to get people to change their behavior, you must first change your own. The main lessons from the book are to be direct, make eye contact, and remember people’s names. Get people talking about something that excites them, which is almost always the topic of themselves. And lastly, get them excited and saying yes.
Whether you like people or not this book will be very helpful for living a better life and building meaningful relationships. Fun fact; this was actually Charles Manson’s favorite book, but don’t let that deter you. Just try not to use this book to manipulate people into a murderous cult!
4.- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini is one of the most widely read and beloved novelists in the world. You may recognize the name from his widely successful book “The Kite Runner”. This novel in particular though is a must-read. It follows the story of Miriam, an illegitimate child living in Afghanistan. Over two generations, we experience the harsh realities of arranged marriages, sister wives, war, and the discrimination of women. The book is set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last forty years. From the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban.
While this is a very heavy read at times, it really is such a beautiful tale of courage and sisterhood. It really shows the reader how happiness can be found in the darkest of places.
5.- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
This has been labeled the self-help book of our generation. Society has this outlook that we have to be happy all the time, but this is impossible for many reasons. We need to start embracing the messiness of life and choosing very carefully where we place our energy. Unlike the title, the book is not telling you to stop caring or trying, but instead to focus on what matters and to tune out the rest. Life is simple unless you make it difficult. You have complete control over your own mind and energy, so use it wisely.
This book is a breath of fresh air and is extremely helpful, plus you will laugh your ass off the entire time!
6.- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
While the movie adaptation is a cult favorite, you really do need to read the book to fully get the romance, wit, and adventure of the story. Plus, the book has a bunch of stuff that was left out of the movie. You get a better look into the characters, and there is even a sequel chapter that takes place years later.
The author William Goldman includes himself as a character commenting on the “classic version” of the story. This book is technically a story about a story that is brilliant in itself. We follow Princess Buttercup who gets separated from her one true love, Wesley, and their crazy quest to reunite. This is such a timeless classic, it really does have everything a reader could want. Pirates, sword fights, humor, sorrow, and a crazy romantic love story (as you wish).
7.- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude is the history of the isolated town of Macondo and of the family who founds it, the Buendías. For years, the town has no contact with the outside world. This book is really a story about every and nothing all at once. It is a family’s long history of love, pain, joy, hatred, and violence. The history is a comment on life itself with beautifully written imagery throughout, you genuinely get lost in this world with each page.
A masterpiece of magical realism. It’s a beautiful metaphor for colonialism, the raw and messy human condition, and the often violent politics of Latin America.
8.- The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Okay so technically this version is five books in one, but they are all so amazing you really should read them all. At the very least do yourself a favor and read the first book, the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It is such a genius piece of writing, hilariously existential yet very relatable at the same time. It really does put life into perspective at just how vast our universe is and how little we really understand.
The books start out in England with Arthur Dent, whose house is about to be demolished by a Vogon Constructor Fleet. From there it is quite impossible to summarize or explain these books, they are a wild ride of pure imagination with brilliant antidotes about the human experience placed throughout. There was a movie created about the first book, which did a pretty good job of capturing the essence. But nothing compares with Douglas Adam’s writing style. He makes you feel like you are talking to an old friend. A crazy old friend, but a friend nonetheless. Do yourself a favor and read this masterpiece. Just remember: Don’t Panic and always bring your towel.
9.- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac really captures the wanderlust and the experience of the American Dream in the 1950s. We follow a group of American “beats” who are young and hungry. Kerouac includes himself as the narrator Sal Paradise. Sal will pursuit girls, indulge in the darker delights, and let the wildness shine through. Always chasing after something that seems to elude him. It is a poignant reminder of lost youth and those golden years when everyone feels immortal.
The novel takes us down the road of jazz, sex, drugs, and the desperate hunger of a new generation on the verge of change. Be warned, this book will make you want to travel. Not the kind of travel where you carefully plan a trip. The kind of travel that makes you want to get in your car immediately, start driving and leave all responsibilities behind.
10.- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
” If we do discover a complete theory (of the universe), it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we would know the mind of God.”
Okay so, this isn’t exactly a light read, it was written by one of the greatest minds of our time dealing with one of the most complex issues: time. However, don’t let that scare you off. This book is so insightfully written and the late Stephen Hawking does a wonderful job of breaking down these intricate concepts for the average person. By reading it you will feel more connected to the universe and every being in it. Plus, you will feel super smart afterward and have total bragging rights!
The book delves into the many theories and ideas of physics. Such as space, time, black holes, planets, stars, and gravity. So that you can understand how our planet was created, where it came from, and where it’s going. If you are looking for a book to make you marvel, gasp, and intensely question everything, this is the one for you!
11.- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
“If you stumble about believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?”
This book has been on the bestseller list for years, and for good reason too! It is both magical and harshly realistic at times while also keeping you on the edge of your seat. As a shorter book, it’s quite an easy read and you will find yourself turning the pages so quickly. This book had a movie made a few years ago which was pretty good, but there is something strangely addicting about the book itself. You feel at times terrified, stuck in the boat with Richard Parker. Then the next minute you are having a relaxing stroll through gorgeous Pondicherry without a care in the world.
The book is a wonderful commentary on different religions and the ability to navigate your own path. Follow this intense journey of self-discovery and hope. You will end up learning a bit about yourself along the way.
12.- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle has been yielded the spiritual master of our time, he has many well-known books but if you had to pick one to read, make it this one. The Power of Now shows the readers how to live a happy full life by following one principle; live in the now. Which is actually a Buddhist Philosophy, one of the main ones actually. But Tolle makes the subject matter relatable and a little bit easier to understand than reading Buddhist scripture.
The first chapter deals with everyone’s biggest obstacle, the mind. Our thoughts and desires create suffering, which leads to an unbalanced way of life. We can never fully enjoy life until we learn to live in the present moment. And, in today’s fast-paced world, living in the moment is extremely difficult. The Power of Now helps readers focus on who they are right now and what it means to be present.
13.- The Beautiful & Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you enjoyed the Great Gatsby, you will love this book!. This 1922 novel follows the life of Anthony Patch, a young man set to inherit millions from his grandfather. He marries the ravishingly beautiful Gloria, and together they plan for the day that Anthony receives his inheritance. But what will they do in the meantime? With way too much money and time on their hands, they fritter away their twenties on booze, jazz, and seedy delights. We follow these gorgeous young socialites to find out how is a life well spent?
This book is both comedic and fatefully tragic at the same time. While it may not be the most relatable book, it provides an interesting look at the human condition. It is a fascinating look into the lives of the Manhattans elite and the complications money brings. More money, more problems… right?
14.- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
This book is incredible for so many reasons. We are taken into the city of Kyoto and its famous Gion district. A haven for businessmen, where beautiful Geishas entertain in the tea houses until early morning. It’s a beautiful moment frozen in time. Where appearances and status are everything, and women are trained from a young age in the arts of seduction. A place where ritual and respect are revered above all else and love is a forbidden illusion.
Chiyo, an extraordinarily beautiful child, is sold at a young age to a reputable Geisha house. The book takes us through the intense process of her becoming Sayuri, one of the most famous Geishas in history. Based on a true story, we get a rare glimpse into this crazy world on the brink of extinction with the Second World War. There was a movie based on this book that did an incredible job of capturing the beauty. But the book makes you feel as if you are experiencing these joys and brutal heartbreaks firsthand.
15.- Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have known all along that it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek.”
Robbin’s writing style is made up of complex wild stories filled with intriguing details, with a huge satirical undercurrent. He became popular for his writing in the ’80s where he produced obscure crazy novels, one after another. If you enjoy this book make sure to check out “Still life with Woodpecker” and “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” but honestly most of his books are worth the read. This book is both charmingly existential and will make you question everything you thought to be true.
The book is almost impossible to explain and even more impossible to put down. The story follows two interweaving storylines, one in Ancient Eurasia and one in the present day. The most interesting storyline the immortal Alobar, once an ancient king, and Kudra, a beautiful muse as they navigate their way through the ages. With some amusing characters sprinkled throughout; like Pan, the nearly forgotten Greek God of fun. Basically, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight… Paris time.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
- A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore.
- The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
- 1984 by George Orwell.
- The Harry Potter Series.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
- Cosmos by Carl Sagan.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.
- The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.
- Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter Witch by Terry Pratchett.