Can a book change your life? I certainly believe so! In fact, I’ve come up with 7 that have changed mine.
The School at the Chalet by Elinor M Brent-Dyer
I first started reading the Chalet School books when I was 10, and utterly loved these sweet stories about the adventures of girls at a boarding school in the Tyrol. I enjoyed the series so much that I become a member of the Friends of the Chalet School Society. Sometimes, penpal requests were placed by other young members in the newsletter, and – as an avid letter writer – I responded to a few of them. One pen-pal became a lifelong friend, and we now have many mutual friends as well – I was even bridesmaid to a couple of them last year. All because my grandmother sent me The School at the Chalet in a parcel of books all those years ago…
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
This was the first Persephone Book I read, when I first arrived in London, and it introduced me to a new, wonderful world of reading material. As a reader, I have very particular tastes, which has often made it difficult to discover new authors I truly love. It was fabulous, then, to discover a bookshop whose highly curated taste I could trust, and which introduced me to a range of fabulous authors to devour: Dorothy Whipple, Marghanita Laski and Dorothy Canfield Fisher, to name a few. I even ended up working for a short time at Persephone Books, further proving my conviction that London is an exceedingly serendipitous city.
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
I read this book back in the Spring, and it has completely revolutionised my mornings. Some days I do struggle to stick to my Miracle Morning routine, but I always get back to it again when I can, as I notice the difference it makes to my mood, productivity and stress levels. I would encourage everyone to read this book, as it really can transform your life. A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined regularly and voluntarily getting up at 5am: now those 2 hours of extra time in the mornings are incredibly precious to me.
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
I credit reading Ballet Shoes at an impressionable age for my love of ballet (and of London – how I longed for years to visit the Cromwell Road and the Victoria & Albert museum, just like the Fossil sisters). Years of ballet training made me the person I am today, and Ballet Shoes still holds a special place in my heart.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
I remember first reading Pride & Prejudice when I was 9. Although I struggled a little with unfamiliar words and more complex sentence structures than I was used to at the time, I persevered and of course loved the book. From there, I went on to read all of Jane Austen’s novels and her collection of letters. I also bought all the books on cassette tape (this was back in the day!) so I could listen to them over and over (not sure there’s anyone else who loved listening to Persuasion whilst colouring in or playing with a dollhouse?!). It was Jane Austen who truly inspired my love of literature and interest in human nature, and she is still my favourite author to this day.
The Shops by India Knight
I bought this book during my first summer in London and loved its glorious assortment of London fashion and beauty recommendations, as well as life advice. I’m pretty sure it was through this book I first heard of Miss Pettigrew and Persephone Books. The Shops came out before blogs were at all a thing, and I can best describe it as being a little like a blog in book form. It inspired me to start a blog that summer – called skirmishofwit – where I shared some of my London adventures. I soon closed that blog down when I became too involved with studying, but the idea of having a blog was always in the back of my mind….and then years later, Miranda’s Notebook was born.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I have only recently finished reading Big Magic, so it seems a little dramatic to say it has changed my life already, but honestly this book is truly mind blowing and has both confirmed my own notions of creativity (for instance, that the mere fact of being human means you are a creative person), as well as changed and enlarged my perspective. It’s the best book about the writing – and general creative – process I’ve ever read, and I want to reread it again already! Also, you MUST check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s new podcast – Magic Lessons – it’s fab!
Have any books changed your life? I’d love to know!