The great Italian writer and semiotician Umberto Eco once said “The person who doesn’t read lives only one life. The reader lives 5,000. Reading is immortality backwards.” And among those thousands of lives, at least one can really shake you to the core or make you realize something about life that will change how you live it.

If you haven’t read such a book yet, maybe reading something that made a huge impact on others can help with that. People on Reddit shared the books that left the biggest impression on them when VAMPCLAW asked, “What is that one book that absolutely changed your life?” Redditors shared both fiction and non-fiction books that made them think differently, inspired them to reach for more or helped them to get through a difficult time in their lives.

We are curious to hear whether you agree that the books mentioned in the list are worth reading and will leave you in deep thought afterwards. Also, if there is a book that you think everybody else needs to read, leave it in the comments and share why it was so life-changing for you.

More info: Reddit

#1

The Bible

The Bible The Bible. It made me an atheist.

VodkaMargarine , Mike Johnson Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes. Me too. Do what I do with Gideon Bibles in Hotels. Dedicate the book to the reader.. Ross Noble, comedian, was once stuck in a hotel on a dreary day when everything was closed, picked up the Bible, thought why not read it to pass the time. Opened it to find the dedication, "All the best, God.".

View More Replies...
View more comments
#2

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo By Stieg Larsson

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo By Stieg Larsson the girl with the dragon tattoo when I was 18. I didn't go to highschool for reasons and this book made me go get my highschool degree and go to college because I wanted to become a journalist because of that book. I graduated college last month.

Wonderful-Reading-42 , amazon Report

#3

Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy By Douglas Adams

Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy By Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy got me into reading

drewisawesome14 , amazon Report

#4

1984 By George Orwell

1984 By George Orwell Nathaniel66 said:

1984- Orwell

DT-Archer added:

Just finished this one last week. Such a great book that still manages to be relevant 70 years later. Makes me worried about some of the trends we see today and how we need to put more value in privacy. It also made me really value the simple things that are so easily taken for granted like having your own place with your SO and the ability to lead a life of your choosing.

Nathaniel66 , amazon Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Read it a couple of times over the years, always relevant no matter what political party is in power or what the current landscape is. You can always take something from this book.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#5

There Is A Monster At The End Of This Book By Jon Stone

There Is A Monster At The End Of This Book By Jon Stone There is a Monster at the End of this Book. It really led me on a journey to overcome my fears and deeply examine what it means to be a monster. Also, pulling really hard against Grover to turn the pages helped me get buff. Really I was helping Grover face fears he was not ready to face. But we faced them together.

Ethandrul , amazon Report

Sarah
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I just bought this for my girlfriends little guy! Have always loved it. :)

View more comments
#6

The Hobbit By J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit By J. R. R. Tolkien The Hobbit.

As a young child, I had always found reading to be pretty dull. This changed when I was 7 and got my hands on The Hobbit- I realised that it wasn't reading that was boring - I just wasn't reading the right books!

The Hobbit started my life-long love of reading, particularly fantasy and sci-fi- A passion that I am now following as a writer!

HeartSpire , amazon Report

kjorn
Community Member
8 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

yeah. they never give you good book in school. i started to read more when i start to read classic we never get in school: Conan Doyle, Verne, Dumas, Moliere, Shakespeare, Tolkien.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#7

Maus By Art Spiegelman

Maus By Art Spiegelman Maus; the first and only graphic novel to win a pulitzer price

It is a book about a second generation survivor of the Holocaust retelling his father memoirs of the event. This semi-biographic book puts into perspective the whole feeling of absolute terror and give us an insight on the before-after situation. The jews are portrayed as mouses and the nazis as cats, elaborating on the whole cat and mouse chase premise which demonstrates the horrors the jewish felt. Although it is a graphic novel, its images do really say more than words.

It is to this day, the only book which has made me cry and feel hurt; it makes the whole subject feel very personal.

Eithanol , amazon Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

We know what a swastika is, it is a symbol only, why censor it? We are all grown ups?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#8

To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee charxc2222 said:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

ronearc responded:

That's my answer as well. A book that legitimately changed my view of the world and the people in it.

charxc2222 , amazon Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So I am an ocean away from where this is set, a good few generations away, and yet I found the book so nostalgic and cosy when talking about childhood.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#9

Flowers For Algernon By Daniel Keyes

Flowers For Algernon By Daniel Keyes Flowers for Algernon. I read it as a teenager, and it made me realize that my intelligence was a privilege, and that it didn’t make me better than people who are less intelligent than me.

hrdrv , amazon Report

Kookamunga
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Love this one. The way the writing style changes as Charlie's IQ changes is brilliant.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#10

The Easy Way To Stop Smoking By Allen Carr

The Easy Way To Stop Smoking By Allen Carr The Easy way to stop smoking by Allen Carr.

I had zero intention to stop smoking when I started reading that book. To say I was sceptical about it would be an understatement. I was a heavy chain smoker. Smoked more than anyone I knew. But I went cold turkey after I read it. 3 years strong. I have not had a single puff since finishing that book.

If you smoke. You want to read this book now. I wish I read it earlier.

madc**t2250 , amazon Report

#11

Dune By Frank Herbert

Dune By Frank Herbert Dune. Fear is the mind-killer.

Also, A Wrinkle in Time.

Wyndsock , amazon Report

Mimi M
Community Member
8 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I read Dune when I was a kid. Much better than the subsequent movies, though the older movie is better than the recent one - neither of them capture the book.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#12

The Outsiders By S. E. Hinton

The Outsiders By S. E. Hinton The Outsiders. Beautiful story that opened me up to the wonders of the 50's and 60's in the western U.S. absolutely loved it. Please read it, who ever reads this.

Cerberus-thiccus , amazon Report

Furmama0501
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes! And the movie is the only movie that holds a candle its book.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#13

A Brief History Of Time By Stephen Hawking

A Brief History Of Time By Stephen Hawking A Brief History Of Time. The insanity and complexity of the universe was explained in understandable terms, bonkers.

yaycoasttocoast , amazon Report

Kenny Kulbiski
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Agreed, to a certain extent. I understood and comprehended as I read it and for a few days later. For some reason I couldn't retain it and now am clueless as ever.It's just to mind boggling. Or maybe it's just me.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#14

Clan Of The Cave Bear By Jean M. Auel

Clan Of The Cave Bear By Jean M. Auel I remember when I read Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. I was about 10 years old and I had seen the movie a dozen times before I found out it was a book. I devoured it in 2 days. I was hooked on the whole series for decades and it started my obsession with books. I will read anything but historical fiction is my favorite and it started with the Earth's Children series.

vettechrockstar86 , amazon Report

Zophra
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I read them all. The last one just got too weird.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#15

The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner

Completely eye-opening, and an emotional roller coaster.

ladc2 , amazon Report

#16

The Long Walk By Stephen King

The Long Walk By Stephen King The Long Walk by Stephen King. Greatly shows the variety of lives and some lessons about the life itself.

SwipySwoopShowYoBoob , amazon Report

Stephanie Wanek
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I thought I was the only one who was amazed by this story. I wish someone would produce a film based on this story.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#17

Redwall By Brian Jacques

Redwall By Brian Jacques Probably Redwall because it got me into reading as a child, and later writing.

Dewy_Wanna_Go_There , amazon Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#18

The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins

I’m embarrassingly basic but the hunger games. It got me into reading in grade school/high school which really benefited my comprehension, vocabulary and writing.

[deleted] Report

Martin Kaine
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's not embarrassingly basic. If it strikes a chord or changes your view on reading, it is a good book.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#19

The Giver By Lois Lowry

The Giver By Lois Lowry The Giver

I remember reading that book in 6th or 7th grade and just being blown away. I had never experienced a book like that before and it really had a huge impact on me.

I'd also say The Harry Potter series because as a young kind reading those books I really felt like I was escaping into this magical world.

-eDgAR- , amazon Report

Raven DeathShade
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The Harry Potter series is nice :). I get in so much trouble for defending it against those who believe it's demonic, though XD.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#20

Breakfast Of Champions By Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast Of Champions By Kurt Vonnegut Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.

"The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head."


juicebox647replied:
Vonnegut is so profound and yet can say absolutely nothing at the same time. I love the way he writes so much. I've been reading this textbook sized book full of all of his short stories recently and they're amazing. Reading about the Tralfamadorians when I was a younger me totally changed my outlook on life and how I think about the time we have here. It really did transform my life.

oikorapunk , amazon Report

Dash Blue
Community Member
8 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This novel had me laughing out loud several times. Some of Mr. Vonneguts simple illustrations are hilarious. Now would be a good time to read it again. I can use some laughter. Powell Books, here I come. Again.

View more comments
#21

The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain And Body In The Transformation Of Trauma By Bessel Van Der Kolk

The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain And Body In The Transformation Of Trauma By Bessel Van Der Kolk The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma

If only more mental health care specialists read this book. If only more doctors read it. If only more people understood the ripples of intergenerational trauma and abuse.

shakeastick , amazon Report

#22

The Phantom Tollbooth By Northon Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth By Northon Juster The Phantom Tollbooth.

I reread it after hearing that Norton Juster passed. It may have resonated more with me at 32 years old than reading it as a child.

Schmoreshmoosh , Teresa Grau Ros Report

Raven DeathShade
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite books. It is filled with nonsense, elaborate wordplay, amazing characters, a beautiful storyline, and it's just so, so awesome.

View more comments
#23

My Side Of The Mountain By Jean Craighead George

My Side Of The Mountain By Jean Craighead George My side of the mountain. I was young and have always camped and loved the outdoors (still do) but this book had such an exciting story!

Its about a boy who runs away from home and plans to live in the wild on his own. He goes to a library and checks out a bunch of books on survival and lives in the forest. He even burns the base of a large tree and hollows it out and makes a living space inside. its a super easy read but I loved every page.

mumbling_87 , amazon Report

Tammy Kirks
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

OMG! I forgot all about this book! I read it so many times as a kid.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#24

The Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales By Jon Scieszka And Lane Smith

The Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales By Jon Scieszka And Lane Smith pretty-ok-username said:

The stinky cheese man and other fairly stupid tales

ZweiEnte added:

This book basically set my sense of humour. I can trace my affinity for shaggy dog stories and deadpan humour straight back to the princess & the bowling ball and the other frog prince.

pretty-ok-username , amazon Report

Phee C
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

LOVED that book as a kid. Still love it know

View more comments
#25

Thinking Fast And Slow By Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast And Slow By Daniel Kahneman Thinking Fast and Slow. I had no idea how my overreliance on my intuition was impacting my ability to think through tough problems. It has forever changed the way I look at the world.

KirbysaBAMF , amazon Report

#26

Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong By Tim Cantopher

Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong By Tim Cantopher Depressive Illness: The Curse of The Strong by Tim Cantopher.

Whenever someone tells me they are struggling with their mental health, I immediately point them to this book. It is the first one I have read by a health professional where I got the impression they actually get what it means to be depressed, and unlike most books by professionals, it's pretty easy to read at about 100 pages.

It doesn't offer any cure-all remedies, but it does help you understand why this is happening to you, so you can start to do something about it.

D-Angle , amazon Report

Raven DeathShade
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There is a character in a game called Doki Doki Literature Club who broke my heart while recounting their story. They were confused and scared as to why they felt this way, why they were depressed. For all those who are experiencing the same, I hope you find out why :).

View More Replies...
View more comments
#27

The Way Of Kings By Brandon Sanderson

The Way Of Kings By Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Got me back into reading after 5 years without picking up a book and then later inspired me to become a self-published author

SanderCast , amazon Report

K
Community Member
8 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is the same author that finished the Wheel of Time series. Robert Jordan and his family respected Sanderson’s way of writing so much that they gave him Jordan’s notes so he could finish the series. I love everything he’s written. One of the few male writers that can write great, strong, believable female characters.

View More Replies...
View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#28

The Road By Cromac McCarthy

The Road By Cromac McCarthy The Road. I read it before and after becoming a father. Drastically different experiences. And the world according to garp. I read it when I was a kid and it was the first novel that made me laugh outloud and come close to crying in the same book.

zjustice11 , amazon Report

Zoe's Mom
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Is this the same as the movie with Viggo Mortensen; if so, depressing and moving at the same time. That was a heck of a roller coaster ride.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#29

Parable Of The Sower By Octavia Butler

Parable Of The Sower By Octavia Butler Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler; an incredible sci-fi book that was written in the 80s and is a mix of apocalypse fiction, socio-political critique & resilience.

Completely changed my world view & put me on the path to sustainable off-grid living, which I'm really grateful for.

I also equally love the sequel Parable of the Talents and there's an amazing podcast called Octavia's Parables that came out last year which goes through each chapter of the book. I recommend it for anyone thinking about starting the book or re-reading it, it's like being in a book club that goes at your own pace :)

brownanddownn , amazon Report

Jode Mode
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

She is one of my all time favorite authors! Kindred was the book by her that REALLY blew me away. “Afro-centric, feminist Sci-fi.” - brilliant work.

View more comments
#30

The End Of Mr Y By Scarlett Thomas

The End Of Mr Y By Scarlett Thomas The End of Mr Y.

My ex partner threw it at my face during an argument and knocked down and burst my forehead. So I left her and totally changed my ambitions in life. Kinda funny. Sometimes I see that book and scowl, and wonder what people think is going on.

NovaCasanova , amazon Report

Ece Cenker
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

LOL! Not the way I'd have thought a book would change one's life, but OK.

View more comments

Note: this post originally had 40 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.