In honour of my big birthday, I wanted to share with you 30 books that shaped me in 30 years. These are books that had a huge impact on my life growing up, right until now. I’m not going to write what they are about, but I will explain why they had such an effect on me. Without further ado, let’s get through the list!
1.) The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
I feel like this book ignited my love for reading. I’m pretty sure this is where it all started. This magical series took me to many whimsical and exciting worlds that I kept returning to as the years went on.
2.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I’m fairly certain this book/series would hit most people’s lists. Harry Potter took the entire world by storm and none of us have ever been the same. It is still so popular all these years later and I just know it will live on for eternity.
3.) Dork in Disguise by Carol Gorman
This book hit me hard in school when I needed a reminder that it was far more important to be myself than to change who I was in order to fit in. It is so underrated in my opinion.
4.) Sweep by Cate Tiernan
I’ve talked about Sweep on my blog before because it still stands as my favourite YA series of all time. It sounds cheesy but I was swept up in a world of magic when I read these books for the first time. I may have taken the name Hunter from this series and used it in my own novels. I have re-read these books more than any other series and I’ve even written my own fan-fiction type story based off of the characters. I hope my daughter loves them too someday.
5.) Lord Loss by Darren Shan
Darren Shan is the only author I have ever written a fan letter to and it’s because of his Demonata saga which turned my world upside down when I was a teen. I read the first four books, fell in love and then never finished the series because they weren’t available at my local library. Just a couple of years ago, I bought all of them, read them from the beginning and finally got to the end. It still blew me away all these years later. Lord Loss is my favourite literary villain alongside Pennywise.
6.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Let’s take a trip back in time to 20 year old Bec sitting in literature class at Deakin University reading Wuthering Heights and falling madly in love. It was such a romantic yet tragic story that tore at my heart. I remember watching the BBC version and sobbing. I also got to see the theatre production which was excellent. It is probably my favourite classic.
7.) Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
It was only a matter of time before I brought up the Queen herself. Interview with the Vampire came into my life when I was in the throes of my first love. My ex-boyfriend and I shared a passion for The Vampire Chronicles which was very special to me. After we broke up, I discovered my own kind of appreciation for her separate from him and in 2014, I met her in New Orleans which is still one of the best moments of my life.
8.) Coriolanus by William Shakespeare
I took a subject at University entirely dedicated to the works of Shakespeare. It was without a doubt my favourite class. We had to give an oral presentation on one of his books and I had Coriolanus. I would like to believe I nailed it. It was a great moment for me during my time in college (how American). Other Shakespearean plays that are near and dear to my heart are: King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet and The Tempest.
9.) Evil Under The Sun by Agatha Christie
This book ignited my love for Agatha Christie and I love showing off her complete collection of works on my bookshelf. There is something about this book that stands out from the others. The film adaptation is wonderful too.
10.) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I remember picking up this book before the Shadowhunter craze took off. I bought it with the money I had earned from my first job and read it in one sitting. A few months later I read it in one sitting again. I was a huge fan and I still am. To this day, I have read every single book Cassandra Clare has ever published…and she’s published a lot of books!
11.) Killer McKenzie by Eve Martyn
Eve was a very dear friend of mine. My daughter Abigail shares her middle name as a tribute to her. I’ve talked about Eve on my blog before. She was my writing mentor and a woman I looked up to. When she released her first novel, I got a copy immediately and devoured it. It was touching and hilarious, just like her. Eve once told me before she passed away that she had been planning to write a sequel that would’ve featured a new character based off of me. It never came to fruition, but I’ll never forget her telling me that.
12.) Heart and Salsa by Suzanne Nelson
This book is part of the S.A.S.S. (Students Across The Seven Seas) series. I own the entire collection. This particular book follows Cat who travels to Mexico in order to build an orphanage. I resonated with the story deeply during a difficult time in my life. My best friend had just left to go to another high school and as a result, we drifted apart for a few years. In the book, Cat feels the same about her best friend and through it all, learns to become her own person independent of her. It came at the perfect time and helped me to grieve.
13.) Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice
I’m back with another Anne Rice! This is my favourite book of hers hands down. As strange as it sounds, this novel killed my fear of dying. Anne’s vampires become so lonely and bored as eternal life stretches out before them. Once the novelty of immortality wears off, they begin to feel extremely empty and try to kill themselves. It made me realise that life is short for a reason. We have a chance to make an impact, do great things and appreciate everything on a much larger scale because our time is limited. I wouldn’t want to live forever and I have Anne to thank for that.
14.) The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
I’m not a religious person by any means, but this book taught me that in life, we are having an impact on people without even realising it sometimes. At any given moment, our actions and words may create ripple effects with consequences we aren’t aware of. It makes you think, did I ever say or do something that had a profound negative or positive influence on another?
15.) The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
This is another book I’m sure would grace a lot of people’s lists. I read it during strong bouts of anxiety when I needed to be reminded to live in the present moment and that the now is all we actually have. People that suffer with anxiety usually live in the future which is the scariest place to be. We can only live one second at a time if we want to truly be at peace.
16.) Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Another favourite for most people. This book taught me to be fearless in my creative expression and to fuel my passion for creativity every chance that I get. I am an extremely creative person. I write, blog and enjoy coming up with fresh ideas influenced by what is happening in my life at the time. My whole life is about creativity. I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon and I’m so thankful that a book like this exists for people like me.
17.) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I own every Rainbow Rowell book ever published because she’s my favourite YA contemporary author alongside Morgan Matson. The protagonist, Cath, is a character I relate the most to. She’s quiet, introverted, loves to write and struggles with the concept of change – me all over. She made me feel so much more comfortable being me.
18.) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
To this day, I still feel like this is one of the most important books I’ve ever read. I feel everybody should read it regardless of their race or social status. I met Angie Thomas at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival in 2017 and wrote a very passionate review about this book on my blog – check it out here. Following this post, I was contacted by a publishing company to review one of their new releases. I am so proud of it. It felt like a defining moment in my blogging career.
19.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I had to include this book because I was named after it. I actually adore this brilliant work of literature. I read it in March 2018 and devoured it body and soul. It’s so hauntingly beautiful and gripping.
20.) Paper Towns by John Green
Unpopular opinion time but I’ve said it before, Paper Towns is my favourite John Green book. I relate very strongly to the male protagonist, Quentin Jacobson. Like Cath from Fangirl, he struggles with the concept of change. He romanticises life and others, which ultimately leads to a big letdown. He is me in male form. I love this scene from the film adaptation below. I felt the exact same way when I was finishing high-school and leaving friends behind.
21.) Astrology Pond & Facing the Stars by Rebecca Rossi
Okay, maybe it’s a bit narcissistic to include my own two novels but how could I not? They shaped me because they are two of my biggest accomplishments in life. I really hope my third novel, Aligning the Signs, will join them someday soon (I’m still working on it but nearly at the end). If you want to learn more, check out this post – My Books…
22.) The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
I’ll forever be thankful for this book series because it introduced me to two incredible authors from Melbourne – Amie and Jay. I have been supporting them for years now. I’ve met them several times, attended their book signings, written reviews for their books and I even got a photo with them when I was pregnant! You can check that out here.
23.) Everybody Needs a Bridge by Colleen D. Scott
I am adding this book to the list because it was the very first book I was sent free in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited when I got the email from the publishing company wanting my genuine opinion and thoughts. I will keep that book forever purely for the achievement. You can check out that review here.
24.) Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Surprisingly, a book lover like myself had never joined a book club until last year. This was the first book we read and it was a 5 star, blew-me-away story. I am still in an online book club to this day and loving it. It suits my introverted nature because I don’t have to physically meet up with others in person. It’s called Books with Friends. Click on the name to access their Twitter page!
25.) Madly in Love with Me by Christine Arylo
This is a non-fiction, self-help book all about loving yourself. I started my self-love journey in 2012 and it’s still going strong! I really credit this book. It is filled with honest activities to do and real-life stories from women that have struggled with their own self-worth. If you need to become your own best friend, check it out.
26.) Malory Towers by Enid Blyton
Back to Enid Blyton, Malory Towers is a series set in an all-girls boarding school. I have probably read these books at least 10-15 times in my life. Even though it is dated and a bit dramatic, I learnt a lot about how to be a decent person in them. I have a temper similar to the protagonist Darrell, and I could really relate to her sudden outbursts. There were a lot of subtle hints on how to manage anger and treat others as they should be treated.
27.) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Another unpopular opinion but when this famous book came out, I was 18 and obsessed with my ex-boyfriend who looked like a goth vampire. I have to be honest, I thought we were Bella and Edward. It was quite embarrassing. I got swept up in the whole craze. Please tell me I wasn’t the only one?
28.) Circle of Three by Isobel Bird
I have to mention this book because in high-school I was invited to take Year 11 literature when I was only in Year 10. I really wanted to impress my teacher and prove I had a right to be there. We were all asked to do book reports on symbolism. Everybody chose classics and I bravely went with a YA book about witches – Circle of Three. I’m very lucky it paid off and I’ll never forget it.
29.) Fearless by Francine Pascal
My sister would agree with me that this series took over our lives a little bit when we were teenagers. With over 40 books, it is a wild, epic ride. I am not ashamed to admit I created a playlist to go along with these books when I was younger. I don’t have it anymore but it included a lot of Linkin Park. It’s honestly so underrated and worth reading.
30.) IT by Stephen King
I saved the best for last! It’s funny, but whenever I was asked what my favourite book was, I could never answer. I didn’t realise until this year it was because I hadn’t found it yet. I can now confidently say that It is my favourite book of all time. I finally read it this year and it was an experience. I annotated my entire copy and went on an epic journey with the characters. I could write a whole blog post on why it’s my favourite and maybe I will someday, but for now let’s leave it at that.
I really hope you enjoyed this let. Let me know what books have shaped you in your life. Are there any that are on my list? Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo