Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people.
During a tumultuous time in her life, Joan Didion wrote in The Year of Magical Thinking that, when in times of doubt, we must “read, learn, work it up, go to the literature.”
Reading helps us to make sense of our lives—which is why a couple of months ago we sent a memo out to our Facebook community group (you can join in on the fun here) seeking fresh influential reads—from childhood classics to fiction favourites. We hand-picked four of the most-popular, inspiring and entertaining recommendations below. And we added the full list on GoodReads (which you can contribute to as well!)
We hope you enjoy, and we look forward to hearing what books have influenced your life too.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist follows the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who decides to follow his recurring prophetic dream of travelling to the Egyptian pyramids to find treasure. Santiago’s enchanted quest brings teachings of embracing opportunity, seeing beauty in the journey and following your dreams.
First published in 1988 and in original Portuguese, The Alchemist received the warmest response by our Dumbo Feather community.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Year of Magical Thinking is a refreshingly honest account of the interconnection between grief and memory. Acclaimed author Joan Didion eloquently retells her experiences of the year following the sudden death of her writer husband, within the period of tending to the severe illness of her daughter Quintana.
This must-read book has quickly become a classic for dealing with and understanding the process of mourning.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Set in India’s perilous late sixties, a time of social and political unrest, The God of Small Things follows fraternal twins Estha and Rahel as they navigate their lives. Experiencing the wreckage of their family, the rise of communism and the arrival of their distant cousin each lead to the discovery of the ultimate truth—that it only takes one moment to change everything.
This stunning combination of fiction and magic realism is a clear office favourite, and once you read the first chapter, it’s easy to know why.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes centres on young Sadako who becomes gravely ill with leukaemia generated by the radiation from the Hiroshima bombing. What follows is a beautiful account of friendship and courage as Sadako recalls an ancient Japanese legend and sets out to fold one thousand paper cranes in a bid to become healthy again.
This work of children’s historical fiction will resonate with all readers, brilliantly showcasing the transformative power of writing.
Read more inspiring books and contribute to our Goodreads list, here.