BEWLEYBOOKS: Can books change your view of the world?
Updated: Jun 24
Some books have such an impact on your emotions that they stick with you to the extent that you change your viewpoint because of them. Here are a few that I simply cannot forget!
Have you ever scanned through the Top Ten list of Novels? Every year the big newspapers and magazines produce them and every week the Bookseller magazine produces the highest ranking books on the market.
I’ve looked at them and figured that some novels can be like catchy pop songs (i.e. one hit wonders) but, there are always a hard core group of novels that just won’t let go. They tend to stick in the minds and hearts of the readers and they won't leave until you are forced to sit down and think about them.
However, there are some novels that go way beyond the norm. They are the stories that force us to look at life through different eyes. They make you think about the world, not just the world about you, but the bigger, wider world at large. And they make you want to change life because of their impact.
Here are a few that I’ve found make a huge impact on folks lives.
I’ll never be able to forget Margaret Atwood’s book ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. It was poignant, tragic and horrific all at the same time. I vowed never to let this happen in my lifetime and have striven for improvement for folk less fortunate than myself as a result. Many see it as a system enforced upon women, but I see that the men are hurt too, because it is happening to the women they love.
Who remembers the first time they read (or watched) Ken Kesey’s ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’? It’s a rather horrifying tale of how ‘the system’ can get hold of the human spirit and crush it. That tale never left my mind. As a result of this story, I went into psychology focusing on an alternative method, one that focused on giving meaning, and control, back to the client.
I cannot fail to mention George Orwell’s ‘1984’. I don’t think there can be a person on the planet that isn’t aware of this frightening ‘futuristic’ tale. Amazing the way the author could predict such a thing as a Big Brother society – one that we are all living now. It’s a book I believe commenced the ‘conspiracy theory movement’ and one that will never go away.
Equally, Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ tells of a similar society where euthanasia is an accepted part of life, through genetic engineering and brainwashing. The intent behind the creation of such a society was to keep everybody happy – but human brain and intent usually finds a way to buck the system.
How humanity resorts to its roots of animalistic qualities is the subject of Cormac McCarthy’s book ‘The Road’. Cannibalism being one horrific outcome of a post-apocalyptic world. The fact that the tale focused on a father and son made it even more poignant for me.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee is a book that won’t leave my subconscious mind. Harrowing, horrific and haunting to us now, but a normal life to them during that period of time (early 1900s). Makes me count my blessings.
What would today’s society be like if we were unable to feel emotions? This is the core of the book by Lois Lowry ‘The Giver’. It tells a story of a young boy, taught to be the giver of the tale, who is the last person on earth with actual memories of pleasure and pain, love and hate – in a society that is unable to experience these emotions. It’s the kind of story that leaves one with intriguing thoughts that won’t ever go away.
What are the books that have made an impact on your life and changed your way of thinking? I'd like to hear about them! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaye is a freelance publisher, author and certified psychotherapist with over three decades of experience. She is also a writer for various blogs about writing, publishing, travelling and health care.
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