Books That Changed Lives: By You, For You

On this week’s edition of Book Recommendations, we decided to go asking students around campus about the one book that impacted their life the most. This list is a compilation of those books that changed the lives of some of UNMC’s students. Perhaps they will change yours too.

1. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

This book allowed me to learn how to not be afraid to explore, and to learn from my mistakes. That people come and go from your life as you do theirs. And so always make sure you try and have an impact on and bring about a change in their lives.

2. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

This book made me cry too many times, even when I reread it. It showed the unconditional love a father can have for his child, and how strong he is willing to act in front of her. After reading this book, I viewed my own father in a different light. Maybe what I see is not all. He has his own pains and sufferings but he never showed us anything. My father is not much of a talkative person. He doesn’t show it but he always worries and cares for us. He is strong for us and for that, I love him more than anything in the world. The Last Song made me realise that.

3. The Little Prince by Antione de Saint-Exupéry

It changes me in a way on how I perceived the world as I realised that our point of views towards the world changes as we grow up and this is due to the development of our being and experiences that we’ve been through as we grow. That book also taught me that we have to hold on to our innocence in midst of this ratchet world where the people (or as in the book says, adults) are busy chasing the world and have forgotten their sincerity and the purpose of their lives.

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

The book changed the way I see things on the gender spectrum. Sometimes, adolescents and children can act wiser than adults even without the need of guidance from their own parents. It’s amazing to see someone standing up for a person being bullied due to different circumstances just because they aren’t able to fit in the society. It’s a coming of age book about two teenagers that fell in love with each other without either of them realizing.

5. Secrets by Freya North

This book changed my view on love and made me believe that anything is possible. The two main characters were very different and happened to cross paths in each other’s lives. They had so many differences between them that it was somewhat impossible, but they made it happen because they loved each other. They were both perfectly flawed; the girl has a child and is not stable. She’s afraid of giving up her heart while the boy is a successful architect who builds bridges but always felt like he was missing something. He was also very scared of commitment. But in the end, they both realized that their love can challenge anything and it all worked out.

To me, this story changed my life in a sense that I look at love differently. I’ve been through some pretty tough times with relationships and kind of lost hope in it. But after reading the book, I realized that my special someone is out there, probably stuck in a tree or something, and all I’ve got to do is be patient and wait for him. I believe he will love me despite my flaw. He will love me for who I am, even though I can be a very difficult person to handle. I’m glad I read this book. It gave me a reason to hope and have faith in love.

6. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

I loved this book and I read it as a child, around 12 years of age. A specific line in the book that mentioned how there is no past and no future and how the concepts of such were but an illusion changed the way I saw life, it made me appreciate yet dread going through daily routines. I’ve learned to appreciate the fleeting moments of life but also in turn learned how to miss it more, I now have a conflicting outlook on life and I only have this book to thank. Although it confused my 12 year old self on how life was supposed to be lived, my now 18 year old self understands the essence of how to understand the passing seconds that time my days.

7. The Traitors by Tom Becker

It changed my perception of guilt and the consequences of betrayal. That perhaps guilt was the result of a traumatic sentence placed upon us when we betray someone; the heavier the sentence the more serious the betrayal.

8. Room by Emma Donoghue

It allows me to view the world through a child’s eye, a world that I once experienced but had since forgotten. As an adult reading this, it made me see how an innocent child’s mind try to understand the concept of rape, being trapped, and coming to terms with the existence of a bigger world outside of a small shed that he and his mother were once trapped in.

9. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

This book made me understand more about the LGBTQ community, especially those who identify as being gender fluid. Through the main character I understand how it’s like to be gender fluid in a society and the struggles of keeping it hidden. It allowed me to be more open minded and see that gender doesn’t necessarily make the person.

10. Life Without Limits: How To Live A Ridiculously Good Life by Nick Vujicic

This book is about a guy named Nick who is without arms and legs but is now an international, inspirational speaker. The book speaks of his wisdom, faith and humor filled adventures. About how he made changes in the world despite the situation he is in. He helped raise funds to help others come up in life with a certain amount from his very own savings. At the same time, he earned income on the side to try out activities such as diving and many other activities which some people would find impossible to do without limbs.

This book has really brought light into my life. It has inspired me to help change lives of people. If he who is physically impaired can do it why can’t I? It is immensely inspirational. The book also states that we shouldn’t limit ourselves as it is us who limit ourselves and not anyone else. He encourages us find our inner selves.


Compiled by Fawzia Mohamed Elmasry