10.12.2018

Books That Have Changed My Life For The Better.

For someone who reads so much, I realised that I have been utterly selfish in not sharing some absolutely delightful gems that have kept me sane on London’s public transport over the years. From more practical advice driven books to books that have caused strangers to ask me if I’m okay (think Kim Kardashian’s ugly crying on the tube), here are just a few literary pieces that have in part, changed my life for the better. I hope at least one of these pieces can inspire you as much as they have me.

'Little Black Book' by Otegha Uwagba.
Size doesn’t matter, in terms of books anyway... The Little Black Book has been floating around Instagram over the last year or so, firstly because of it’s millennial pink covering with a minimalist font, and secondly because of how darn good it is! The little black book does what it says on the tin and more. It is a brief and straight to the point book that shares a wealth of information in regards to building your brand so to speak, with brilliant chapters on marketing, social media and even how one would present themselves, a true must-have for the working modern woman.

'The Alchemist' by Paolo Coelho
Out of all the books on this brief list, Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ is probably the most well known. A literary jewel that takes you on a pilgrimage through Spain and Africa, offering the reader snippets of concrete advice through the spinning of metaphors, twists and turns and beautifully descriptive text. I remember hungrily reading this back in 2015, turning each page furiously on the Jubilee line at 8:15am on my way to work. It brought an intense sense of peace to my heart and it was a solid reminder to keep on keeping on in life, using whatever the world serves us as a springboard rather than an obstacle. It’s a fairly short and easy to read book and as such, I’d highly recommend it to you if you haven’t already read it.


'Refinery29: Style Stalking' by Piera Gelardi & Christene Barberich.
Rarely do I read or buy fashion or beauty books as I find them too ‘pretty’ to read properly. I like my books transportable and unassuming, but I received style stealing as a gift and it has remained one of my solid favourites as it balances informative writing about how personal style is to each one of us, with helpful hints and tips (complete with images - that are diverse in their subject, think plus size women, Black Women, Asian women, lantinx women!) on how to wear certain colours, patterns, pieces effectively and getting the most wear per £.

'Architects Pocket Book'  by Jonathan Hetreed, Charlotte Baden-Powell & Ann Ross.
This one is very specific I suppose but in all of my architectural education and career so far, this is the book I pick up almost every day in the studio. From u-value calculations to average door sizes this book has all the basics you’d need from a small ‘pocket size’ book. I love how portable it is and I actually have a copy at home on my personal desk as well as beside me on my desk at work, and I’m constantly flicking through it to remind myself of basic kitchen counter heights, and bedroom storage widths. A true must have if you work in the Architectural or building design industry.

'My Friend Fear' by Meera Lee Patel.
I was kindly gifted ‘My Friend Fear’ by Penguin Books during a period of intense fear, hopelessness, and depression and although it didn’t obviously cure aforementioned depression, it did provide a warmth and a comfort during times where it felt like my head was swimming against an impenetrable tide of darkness. From the beautiful water coloured pages to the soft kind wisdom presented, My Friend Fear felt like.. well a friend in a book. The kind of friend who reminds you of your worth in dire times, the type of friend that offers a warm all-encompassing embrace, the type of friend you’d want during a tough period. 

'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini.
I read the Kite Runner during a turbulent period of my life back in February or March of this year, when the ground was covered in a soft sprinkling of white snow, the air was bracing and unfriendly and mornings were a blur of blackness, literally and metaphorically. I found the book in one of my local charity shops for £1, after fingering through the pages gingerly, the book came home with me and I had left it on my desk until one morning  I decided to put it in my handbag for commute reading. I’m not quite sure where to start with this important piece of written gold, but what I can say is that it shook me to my very core. I can put up my hands (rather shamefully) and day that I don’t know a great deal about what is happening in the Middle East at the moment and why, but the Kite Runner, although based on the Afghanistan civil war sheds a bright light on what people are going through and it humanises what I believe western media dehumanises. The story follows our protagonist Ali through his childhood till adulthood, with his younger years rocked by the Afghan war, he and his father find themselves as refugees in America and the stories surrounding Amir, his friend Hassan and his father, honestly broke me. Even after crying for days once I had finished the book, I could not stop thinking about it, about wars that we are so blind to, about refugees who are putting everything on the line to ensure theirs and their children’s safety. I was angry with the world for a while, I was disgusted, I was furious and I think that is what a good book should do to you, it should mobilise you, it should cause you to think, it should illuminate and expand, and Khaled Hosseini did all that and more in The Kite Runner. If there’s a single book you choose to read from this list, let it be this one, my friends.

How could I write a post on the literature that has changed my life for the better without including my bible? As an angry judgemental Christian, turned devout atheist, turned open-minded normal Christian. It has been quite the spiritual journey for me (something I will potentially dive into on another post). After delving deeper into my faith, I decided it was time to buy my first study bible to really get to grips with the theological aspects of the Christian faith and it has been so interesting, not only from a faith perspective but also from a historical perspective. This ESV version breaks down the story behind each book, the testaments, and even explores the Hebrew and Latin meaning of certain words that one would come across in the Bible. If you’re delving deeper in your Christian walk then I’d heartily recommend this bible as a solid ‘all-rounder’.

Have you read any of the books above? What are your must read books? PS If you'd like to see what's currently on my bookshelf, please do connect with me on Goodreads.



x

2 comments

  1. I STILL haven't read Little Black Book but it seems right up my street. Need to make a note of picking it up. It's not even expensive?!
    http://www.susanetc.co.uk/

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  2. Little Black Book is always in my bag haha. There are some parts where I feel the author could have delved into more details but I guess it's supposed to be quick and precise. I've definitely learned a few things from it.

    The Kite Runner utterly broke me and I thought about it for days after. I just finished reading the final Rwanda story from the Humans of New York and the emotions I'm feeling from reading these stories are the same emotions I felt when I read The Kite Runner. I don't think it's a book I could read again but it was definitely worth the read.

    A study Bible sounds so good, I do most of my reading on my Bible app and I've really been slacking lately. I would love to get one of these! xx

    Coco Bella Blog

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Thankyou for commenting :) I read every single one!

XOXO Sade

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