The Books That Changed Our Lives…

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  • Here are the inspiring books that we at Marie Claire literally can't recommend enough...

    When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

    ‘I first read it on holiday in Greece and, when I finished it, I announced to my family that it had changed my life and I would be a better, kinder person as a result (much to their hilarity and mocking, which went on for hours). The next day my boyfriend Matt proposed (and after I’d accepted) I told them all I had been right! Now I read it every year to remember that feeling, and the running themes and morals still resonate with me.’ Jessica Lacey, beauty features editor

    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
    ‘It changes your outlook on life. Amazing basically.’ Lucia Debieux, junior fashion editor 

    ‘It’s amazing, a must-read for everyone. I was obsessed, couldn’t put it down and then couldn’t read anything else for a month after because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have bought it for lots of my best friends, including Lucia (above). Set in India during “The Emergency” in the 70s, it follows several characters and how they cope with this traumatic time. It challenges how you think about everything and is brutal in its descriptions… One little phone call or teeny action, and things can change beyond recognition, whether it be for better or for worse. We say it to each other all the time: “It’s a fine balance”.’ Holly Welch, junior fashion editor 

    The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy (A Trilogy in Four Parts) by Douglas Adams

    ‘It gave me perspective on my place in the universe, made me laugh out loud more than any other book and, despite having read it several times now, it never gets old, dull or less relevant. The man was a genius. And, of course, I now know the answer to life, the universe and everything.’ Kelly Preedy, picture editor

    The Knot of Vipers by Francois Mauriac

    ‘I read this years ago. It’s the story of a Frenchman, looking back from his deathbed and realising the twisted, unhappy way he’s led his life. But it’s too late for him to change, and he is almost sick with regret and self-loathing. The message I suppose is the old cliché of “you reap what you sow” – but it has really stayed with me. I’d be interested to read it again and see if it’s as powerful as it was the first time around…’ Lola Borg, contributing editor

    The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    ‘This book made me want want to go to university in the US and buy some horn-rimmed glasses. It made me realise how unnervingly involving a book can become in your own life.’ Nellie Eden, fashion features assistant 

    The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

    ‘This book completely flipped my mind! It’s about a man who dies and, when he gets to Heaven, he meets five people who were instrumental in the shaping of his life. It stayed with me, and I am still now aware of how people may be affecting my life and shaping the person I am and will become.’ Catherine Shepperson, PA to publishing director 

    How To be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

    ‘Literally every person in the world should read this book and cry with laughter at Caitlin Moran’s tales of growing up on a council state in Wolverhampton, which are relatable, sad and incredibly topical for women and men alike. More seriously, she reclaims feminism along the way. It is inspiring and intelligent, and not just for girls!’ Hayley Camis, marketing executive

    Instead of a Letter by Diana Athill

    ‘Athill’s brutally honest memoir about a life that didn’t turn out how she planned is sad, funny and inspiring, all at once. Totally unputdownable, you will be eager to press it into the hands of anyone, and everyone, whose opinion you care about.’ Olivia Marks, digital writer 

    Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    ‘This novel made me dream of spending my summers with a brood of tanned friends in a rambling, hilltop villa in the South of France – minus the ensuing infidelity and insanity, that is… It really transports you, and then brutally rips the fantasy that it has created right out from under you. Completely captivating.’ Francesca Rice, features assistant 

    Which book changed your life? We’d love to know. Let us know in the comment box below…

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