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43 Books That Will Legit Change Your Outlook On Life

Fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, YA, self-help, you name it.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about a book that changed their lives, or their outlook on life.

They shared all kinds of books from a variety of genres. Check them out below!

And just as a heads up, some of these submissions talk about loss and grief, suicide, eating disorders, and other mental health issues.

1. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

amazon.com

"I found it in my local bookstore/coffee shop for just $1 right before it was supposed to be thrown out. It helped me learn how to deal with the hateful mother-in-law of a boyfriend I once had and the anxiety and self-consciousness that went along with it. It's a beautiful book and I learn something new every time I read it."

hopen498f5f02a

Get it from Amazon for $6.34+, Barnes & Noble for $9.55+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

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2. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

amazon.com

"This book made me realize that I had anxiety. I thought all of the things happening to the main character internally were "normal," but apparently they're not."

calicdanx

Get it from Amazon for $11.99+, Barnes & Noble for $11.99+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

3. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

amazon.com

"I suddenly felt not alone in the world. Being lost was normal. Being unsure was OK. The book is compiled of short stories and poems written by Keegan when she attended Yale. She died five days after her graduation so to me that made everything seem more urgent so I decided to be confident in whatever I choose because no matter how cliche it sounds, tomorrow isn't promised."

ashleyl4adf5d358

Get it from Amazon for $8.98+, Barnes & Noble for $11.06+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

4. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

amazon.com

"It is a life-changing self-help/spiritual book about living in the present moment. I think I've highlighted the entire book. I have many favorite quotes but here's one that is a great example of what a good book this is: 'Nothing ever happened in the past.'"

jlmorton131

Get it from Amazon for $8.99+, Barnes & Noble for $10.32+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

5. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

amazon.com

"The His Dark Materials trilogy changed my spiritual perspective. It made me question my beliefs and realize that regardless of beliefs, we all belong to the same universe."

eriuphoenix

Get it from Amazon for $20.10+, Barnes & Noble for $20.43+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

6. Captivating and Wild at Heart by John and Stasi Eldredge

amazon.com / amazon.com

"I think everyone, regardless of age, gender, or relationship status should read these. They give such on-point insight into the hearts and minds of men and women. It helped me understand myself better, my friends and family better, coworkers better, even complete strangers."

beyondskindeep1

Get Wild at Heart from Amazon for $10.48+, Barnes & Noble for $10.68+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

Get Captivating from Amazon for $10.98+, Barnes & Noble for $11.53+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

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7. 1984 by George Orwell and The Giver by Lois Lowry

amzn.to / amzn.to

"The are the two books that absolutely made me reconsider my entire life. The first made me think about power and manipulation through the government and through fright of a nuclear war, it made me realize we are a sorry excuse for a human race, and we need to change if we want to avoid that future to which we're walking.

The second made me realize how little things are important and gave me a different perspective and appreciation for life. Both of them made me want to learn more about world history and how it all relates to our future."

stephiiem

Get 1984 from Amazon for $6.07+, Barnes & Noble for $9.99+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

Get The Giver from Amazon for $7.99+, Barnes & Noble for $8.99+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

8. House Rules by Jodi Picoult

amazon.com

"Before reading this book, I wanted to be an anesthesiologist. After, I wanted to work with children with autism. It gets into the head of the autistic child as he is caught in the middle of a murder mystery. You get hooked from the beginning and I find it especially important for autism awareness."

daniellew4b204254e

Get it from Amazon for $10.19+, Barnes & Noble for $10.30+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

9. Family Don't End With Blood by Lynn S. Zubernis

amazon.com

"Basically, it's a collection of essays by people involved in the show Supernatural, both fans and actors, who describe the way Supernatural's fandom changed their lives. I've read it as an act of curiosity because I love the show, and I found there something that just helped me to recover from a major mental break down that stole most of my year 2017.

All of those people were speaking the same exact language as I did, and they all found in the show a strength to fight their own demons, be it depression, addiction, recovering from a disease or a loss, and so on. The last essay of the book, written by Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam Winchester, is the purest part of the book. He talks about his own fight against anxiety and depression, and of the importance of fandoms in general in ways that just helped me figure out both who I am as a fan, and as a human being that's facing the challenges of being betrayed by her own mind too. His words did more to help me fight my own suicidal thoughts than any therapist or drugs ever did."

jessicat42cdff761

Get it from Amazon for $11.52+, Barnes & Noble for $12.14+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

10. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

amazon.com

"Being a kid who grew up in a town where everyone had pigs and chickens, I was used to slaughter: hearing it, watching, helping around it, or just eating "the dinner" afterwards. Halfway through the book I was crying my eyes out, a few pages later I became a declared vegetarian. This year marks five years from reading it and changing my life forever."

inogalo2

Get it from Amazon for $13.87+, Barnes & Noble for $13.87+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

amazon.com

"I read this when I was maybe 12-13 and it completely stole my heart. Patrick helped me understand the struggles that the LGBT+ community face. (He also helped me find my own sexuality, let's be honest here.) And Charlie helped me understand mental health and contributing factors to trauma.

Whenever I have something that just knocks the breath out of me, I think back to this book. It helps me remember that it's normal to not be okay, and it's also normal to be discontent with your life or depressed in ways you can't describe. If there was ever a book that made me want to help myself as much as I wanted to help others, it was The Perks of Being a Wallflower."

twocrushes

Get it from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes & Noble for $11.07+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

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12. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

amazon.com

"It changed the way I look at people, at society, religion. It profoundly changed how I relate and empathize with others."

reginam4804488cd

Get it from Amazon for $9.95+, Barnes & Noble for $10.07+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

13. What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci

amazon.com

"It's about acceptance of different people, finding yourself, and being true to who you are no matter how easy it may be to pretend you're someone else. It comforted me a lot about being different."

alexandral41b54d7a3

Get it from Amazon for $6.39+, Barnes & Noble for $7.68+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

14. Bonds That Make Us Free by C. Terry Warner

amazon.com

"It's all about how our relationships give meaning to our world and who we are, as well as how those relationships free us from self deception and open our eyes to reality. It taught me what it means to take responsibility for my thoughts, emotions, and actions, and to stop excusing myself or blaming others. Absolute relationship saver."

gepperson

Get it from Amazon for $7.87+, Barnes & Noble for $10.99+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

15. You Don't Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent

amazon.com

"It taught me how to be proud to be a feminist in my own way, because part of being a feminist is having your own views and ideas because all women are allowed to be themselves."

emilym4b80826b0

Get it from Amazon for $10.87+, Barnes & Noble for $11.29+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

16. A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin

amazon.com

"It’s about a young girl who learns she has an uncle with mental illness and is “funny.” This YA book taught me about mental illness, death, grief, and the need for understanding people. I️ read this as a middle schooler and it remains on my bookshelf to this day. This novel showed me the way to serving others and showed my compassion and understanding at a young age."

michellep458320185

Get it from Amazon for $7.95+, Barnes & Noble for $7.99+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

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17. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

amazon.com

"This book hit very close to home for me; I cry every time I read it. It follows a young Jeanette Walls who has an alcoholic father and narcissist mother with three other siblings. They live in poverty and move from small town to small town squatting in shacks and small run-down homes for only a few nights most of the time. The book changed my outlook on life."

luciaf49b430372

Get it from Amazon for $10.29+, Barnes & Noble for $13.34+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

18. We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

amazon.com

"It is THE BEST BOOK EVER. It centers around a boy who is trying to decide whether to prevent the world from ending or not, and it made me consider my place in the world and how I felt about mankind. I 100% recommend it."

meganreneep2

Get it from Amazon for $8.64+, Barnes & Noble for $9.03+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

19. Speak by Laurie Anderson

amazon.com

"It was the first book to show me that you can be OK after bad stuff has happened in your life and also that high school can seriously suck. It really made me feel like it was okay to not fake that everything is perfect. It's a great book."

nicolasa48e6ee14f

Get it from Amazon for $7.69+, Barnes & Noble for $7.83+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

20. Bobiverse series by Dennis E. Taylor

amazon.com

"This book made me truly question what it means to be human and what it means to be alive. It also talks about the true cost of immortality and what it means to be an individual. This series is one I would recommend to anyone who wants a good sci-fi book that will make you think not just about space."

elizabethc47e5a4e57

Get it from Amazon for $10.34+, Barnes & Noble for $10.51+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

21. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

amazon.com

"This book made it okay to struggle with mental illness. For someone to name it, own it, and be funny as hell while doing it? Life changing!!!"

pamelagilbertn

Get it from Amazon for $12.23+, Barnes & Noble for $12.42+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

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23. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

amazon.com

"There’s a part in the book where death is talked about from a different perspective and it just really helped me think of death as not a bad thing."

haleighh4b4598b68

Get it from Amazon for $10.71+, Barnes & Noble for $10.88+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

24. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

amazon.com

"People get so intimidated when they hear “Steinbeck” and are immediately transported back to high school assigned reading torture. But this book is everything. It’s a true story about life — every stage, every generation.

I have read this book three times, and plan to revisit it more in the future. It gives me something different at each point of my life depending on what I am going through.

I have done some shitty things, and I have failed more than once in my life. But this book’s message is that you are in control — you cannot be boiled down to your past decisions or actions, or your parents’ decisions or actions. You are not limited to what people think you are. You can either submit to all of those things, or you can turn things around and change your course. This book, and one single word — “timshel” — the world to me and are so incredibly empowering."

kristynf3

Get it from Amazon for $12.23+, Barnes & Noble for $12.56+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

25. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

amazon.com

"The book follows the life of a dog and his family, written from the dog's perspective. Not only does it make you love your dogs so much more, but it helped me to appreciate life, and gave me a completely new, and not scary, view of death. Hands down my favorite book ever."

kaitlynl7

Get it from Amazon for $10.18+, Barnes & Noble for $10.29+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

26. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

amazon.com

"The main character had an eating disorder similar to mine and reading about her go through her journey, recover, and become strong and independent really helped me in my own recovery. Richelle Mead has amazing female leads that caused me to be more confident and headstrong in my own life. These books inspired me and helped me become who I am today."

kaymar7

Get it from Amazon for $8.79+, Barnes & Noble for $8.83+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

27. Green Girl by Kate Zambreno

amazon.com

"I slowly waded my way into a deep depression when I was only 12. I didn’t understand what I was feeling or what to call it, just a sort of numbness to life. This story of a girl who experiences depression and the rawness of being fed up with everything by tearing herself apart from the inside out and then outside in, written in a way I’d never seen before, help me put my own feelings into words. Years of therapy and re-evaluation later, I am strong and confident person because I can finally see all the signs. I LOVE THIS BOOK!"

consistency19

Get it from Amazon for $8.98+, Barnes & Noble for $10.47, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

28. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

amazon.com

"When I was a freshman I must have re-read the book at least dozen times. It is one of the few books I have read where I truly connected with a main character. It is one of the most honest depictions of high school life and every feeling I had, Lee [the main character] also had.

It made me realize that people live in bubbles and the world outside is much bigger and often harsher, that life does not goes as planned, that the world is bigger than high school and who you were during those four years. I think though most importantly I learned that it was OK to be myself and be different from my classmates and having difference experiences, (whether cultural or socioeconomic, or in life)."

roses12

Get it from Amazon for $10.07+, Barnes & Noble for $10.07+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

29. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

amazon.com

"It's a wonderful story from the perspective of an extremely intelligent gorilla (I know, it sounds strange) who explains the importance of agriculture and human impact on the earth as well as the culture of humanity as a whole throughout history. It made me change my entire perspective and my major to environmental science."

musicalphrase

Get it from Amazon for $12.23+, Barnes & Noble for $12.34+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

30. Grip by Kennedy Ryan

amazon.com

"This was a read I know that will stick with me forever. It’s a contemporary read but it dives into deeper issues with racism, police brutality, white privilege, and just many issues that affect our society as a whole currently. It made me pause and just think: Am I living in some ignorance without even realizing it about these issues?

It really opened my eyes even further and allowed me to broaden my understanding of these current issues while I was also enjoying this story. I’ve got to give it up to this author for being able to bring these topics up in such a beautiful way that didn’t feel forced and just made you question on a individual level of “what can I change about myself to help this?” It was a beautiful blend of fiction and non-fiction in a way."

morganh44831a05d

Get it from Amazon for $15.00+, Barnes & Noble for $15.00+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

31. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

amazon.com

"I read it for the first time for a high school English class. Most of the class absolutely hated it, but I fell in love with it. It's about this wife and mother who completely reimagines her life. She sacrifices the entire world she's built in order to be her authentic self. It helped me see my own mother as a human with desires and dreams, which helped me forgive her for things that happened a few years before. It was also the first book that actually made me question what I wanted for my own life, and why I wanted those things. Years later, while I was part of an awful, failing marriage, I reread it and it gave me the push I needed to stand up for myself and end things. I reread it still whenever I feel lost or weak."

lizr4d87fd92f

Get it from Amazon for $4.00+, Barnes & Noble for $3.60+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

32. ADHD: A Different Hard Drive? by Jennie Friedman

amazon.com

"It changed my life because it put into words exactly what I've been feeling/trying to explain to people for YEARS! If you or someone you know has ADD/ADHD, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!! ::claps for emphasis::"

stephaniemarier3

Get it from Amazon for $9.95+, Barnes & Noble for $9.95+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

33. Journey of Souls by Michael Newton

amazon.com

"If you're scared of dying or wonder what the afterlife is all about, I definitely recommend this book to give you some peace of mind in regards to death and realizing that everything will be OK. It will open your eyes to a whole new world of possibility."

mickeyh4a5b3f255

Get it from Amazon for $12.23+, Barnes & Noble for $12.89+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

34. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

amazon.com

"The main character, Truly, is ridiculed and humiliated for her size throughout the story. This resonated with me, as I read the book during a time where I struggled with my weight. But, as the book progressed, Truly metamorphosed into the most powerful and determined character I have ever come across. I really wish more people knew about this book. I feel that it could help them realise their worth and capability, just as it helped me realise mine."

reeciecup

Get it from Amazon for $9.43+, Barnes & Noble for $9.61+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

35. How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

amazon.com

"It completely flipped my views on societal norms and revamped my feminist spirit. I made a lot of huge life changes after reading it and have been far happier and more comfortable in my life since."

iwishiwasabronte

Get it from Amazon for $9.98+, Barnes & Noble for $10.20+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

36. Ordinary People by Judith Guest

amazon.com

"I read this book for the first time when I was a junior in high school coping with the near-loss of a friend and my struggling mental health. It changed my whole damn perspective on the importance of emotional competence and grief. To this day, I read the book twice a year every year to give me those constant reminders of positivity. It's almost sacrilegious as someone who studied English in their undergraduate career to say they have a favorite book, but this is it."

richellesaalfeld

Get it from Amazon for $13.31+, Barnes & Noble for $13.36+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

37. The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes by Dawn Schiller

amazon.com

"This book helped me put into words what I had only understood as my emotions. While Dawn's story includes multiple types of abuse, it was her telling of emotional abuse that really hit home for me. This book helped me stop blaming myself and I would not/could not be the same person without it."

jburnickas

Get it from Amazon for $14.06+, Barnes & Noble for $14.58+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

38. Spiritual Madness (audiobook) by Carolyn Myss

amazon.com

"I found it by coincidence when I was grieving the passing away of my boyfriend, the one that I considered "the one." My entire world was shattered and nothing made sense in life anymore. After finishing this book I started reading every single book and lessons she released.


To this day I'd say she has been the biggest mentor and guidance to find and rediscover myself and give meaning to my life.
I managed to put myself back together by listening to her and asking myself the questions that really matter. It also helped me make peace and understand my paranoid schizophrenic mother and helped me find forgiveness at a time in my life that I felt so lost and alone."

inarafiredragon2

Get it from Amazon for $11.95+, Barnes & Noble for $17.45+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

39. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

amazon.com

"I've read many books over my lifetime that have deeply impacted me. However, this is one that has recently come to mean so much to me. Lorde's essays on feminism, speaking out, and fostering communities of strong women really resonated with me this past year and have given me hope in the darkest of times."

lakewrm

Get it from Amazon for $15.29+, Barnes & Noble for $15.93+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

40. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

amazon.com

"I read through the books twice within a year and they drastically changed my views on quite a lot. They taught me that women can be powerful without the help of others and can go against the grain of society. They taught me that religion can be the source of someone's problems, or it can be a lifesaver. They also taught me that you should always strive to be what you think you should be. Want to be a conquerer? Go for it. Want to be a follower? You can do that. Want to be best friends with a hound? Go adopt one. The possibilities are endless!"

jdgymnast1

Get it from Amazon for $39.38+, Barnes & Noble for $40.77+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

41. Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

amazon.com

"The book explores different models of time and relativity as (fictionally) theorized by Einstein when he was still a patent office clerk. Time that flows backwards, in circles or random fits, time that simply ended, time in the form of birds, or that slowed as one reached its axis. The thread that connects each potential model of time are the human connections, romantic, familial, or in passing that form and remain even as time marches on.

I have read this book so many times, the cover is starting to fall apart. There are tiny bits of paper marking my favorite passages. It has given me boundless inspiration for my choreographic work as a dancer. Most importantly, it reminds me to remain present."

mollyh4b441ae22

Get it from Amazon for $12.08+, Barnes & Noble for $12.13+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

42. The Miseducation Of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

amazon.com

"It’s so beautifully real, that reading about the heartbreak and journey of such a wonderfully gay (while fictional) girl really opened my eyes to what my closeted ass was missing by denying who I am. Granted, I’ve still got a lot to work through, and I’m not quite there yet, but reading and rereading this has given me such a unique perspective on myself, allowing me to see what I’m facing from an outside point of view. It’s incredible, how a single book has helped me to change my view of myself so much. I can be completely comfortable with who I am, and open with the people I feel safe with."

fiddleplayer

Get it from Amazon for $8.43+, Barnes & Noble for $8.43+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

43. It's Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

amazon.com

"I first picked up this book when I was struggling with mental illness at age 14 and no matter how many times I re-read it, this book still hits home every time. It deals with mental illness in a very honest way and manages to be a book about depression that isn't depressing in the slightest. Everyone should read this book whether you've dealt with mental illnesses or not — it really changes your perspective on it."

17sh3432

Get it from Amazon for $7.99+, Barnes & Noble for $9.99+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

Responses edited for length and clarity.

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