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A good book is going to transform you, challenge you, fascinate you and make you think about it long after you finished the last page. And sometimes, a book might even change your life. Here are eight books, that changed mine – slightly, big and sometimes, forever.

#1 “The Second Coming” by John Niven

God decided to take a vacation – that was about at the height of the Renaissance. Just a week, what could go wrong eh? Unfortunately, a week in heaven equals several hundred years on earth, so when he returns in 2011 he is shocked at what had happened to earth. One of the best books ever – incredibly funny, incredibly intelligent and it will challenge the way you view the world. If you let it.

#2 “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini

Ned Vizzini

Craig Gilner is 15 years old and already thinks about ending his life. One night he calls 1-800-SUICIDE and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Here he meets other patients and slowly begins to face his anxiety and regains his health. The book is one of the best novels focusing on depression and the overwhelming feeling of not belonging anywhere. Of doing what others tell you instead of trying to find out what you truly want.

#3 Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas, Quote, David Mitchell

How do you describe Cloud Atlas? Well, to be honest – you don’t. Its six different stories of different people through different times – starting 1850 and spanning far away into a post-apocalyptic future. But all of those seemingly random stories are connected and influence each other – even lifetimes apart. I can’t tell you what is really happening in Cloud Atlas – you have to read it for yourself. But it will change your life…if you let it.

#4 “Vincalis the Agitator” by Holly Lisle

Holly Lisle

Imagine you live in a world where magic is used like electricity. By everyone, for everything. For making your towns fly above the sea, for moving vehicles, for everything in your daily life. But what the majority doesn’t know: This magic comes at a terrible price and beneath the shinning cities live those who pay this price – Wraith is one of those poor souls, except he’s different. Immune to magic he manages to escape and sets on to change the world – for better or worse. One of the best fantasy-sci-fi-books I have ever read and an excellent parable to our “real” world.

#5 “The Darkest Minds” – “Never Fade” – “In The Afterlight” by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra Bracken, In The Afterlight

Okay well, those are three books actually. They tell the story of Ruby – a girl born with extraordinary powers. Powers that got her and a whole generation of children locked up in camps, violated by authorities and even killed. But now Ruby breaks free and realizes that she might just prove to be even more extraordinary than anyone ever thought. Yes, it’s a bit of a classical heroine story – but one that is way better than most of the typical ones. Read it, trust me.

#6 “A Hundred Pieces Of Me” by Lucy Dillon

Lucy Dillon, life, now

If you had to throw all your possessions except for 100 things – which would you keep? And why? Gina Bellamy is starting again – after a few difficult years and a divorce, she is ready to start a new life. But the first thing she discovers is that she has way too many things of her old life with her. Things she doesn’t really need. So she starts sorting through everything, deciding she just wants to keep 100 things. Inspiring, very inspiring.

#7 “Ronia The Robber’s Daughter” by Astrid Lindgren

Ronja Räubertochter, Life, take care, Astrid Lindgren

The world needs a lot less princesses but a few more robber’s daughters instead. I don’t know who said it, but I wholeheartedly agree. Also the story of the headstrong robber’s daughter who defies everyone – her family and her clan – in favour of her best friend has always been my favourite story by Astrid Lindgren. You should read it and if you have kids, read it to them. 🙂

#8 “Veronika Decides To Die” by Paolo Coehlo

Nothing ever happens by chance, Paolo Coelho

Veronika can’t bear it anymore – living this seemingly perfect ordinary life. Getting a job, finding a boyfriend who will become a husband, have kids, get a divorce and finally…die. There is nothing in it for her so she decides to just end it now – but she fails and ends up in a psychiatry where the doctor tells her that while she might have survived the suicide, her heart is irreparably damaged and she only has a few weeks to live. Veronika should be relieved – she is going to get her wish granted after all. Except she isn’t because suddenly she has found a reason to live.

#9 “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxely

Aldous Huxley

Some people say that “1984” by George Orwell is THE book to read – and it’s a good book, I give you that. But “Brave New World” goes further. It gives you the shivers reading this book now, over 80 years after it was initially published. Because it feels like we are living in this Brave New World now – full of controlled, brainwashed and seemingly happy consumers. And maybe it’s time to do something about it.

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