Thursday 2nd March marks the 20th World Book Day. A celebration of books and of reading, it takes place in over 100 countries across the globe. It doesn’t take Hermione Granger to work out that here at Bookishly, we are all incredibly fond of books! To mark such an important day in the literary calendar, we wanted to dedicate this blog post to the stories and the books that have inspired us throughout our lives.
Adult or child, the right book read at the right time can have a tremendous effect and impact on the reader; books can teach us a number of valuable life lessons. They’re able to completely alter the way we view society and ourselves, they can widen our mindsets and teach us the importance of imagination. Most pivotal of all perhaps, is that the right book can highlight our own value and make us feel welcome when the real world doesn’t.
For us here at Bookishly, the books listed below tick at least one (if not all) of the above boxes. Without further ado, here’s our list of inspirational reads.
Matilda - Roald Dahl
For those of you unfamiliar with this brilliant book, it follows the story of an exceptionally intelligent little girl with special powers and an immense love for reading. Treated as an outcast by her family and loathed by her horrible headmistress, the story follows Matilda’s excellent schemes and tricks to teach them both a lesson. The best thing about this book, and all of Roald Dahl’s stories, is that he writes his female protagonists the same way he writes his male protagonists - gutsy, strong, brave, and brilliant. He instils and highlights the importance of gender equality in young readers.
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
This fantastic book teaches the importance of bravery and standing up for what’s right. To use our own voice to speak on behalf of those metaphorically silenced by society. It follows the life of eight year old Scout Finch, her brother, and their father, Atticus. Atticus, a lawyer with integrity and high moral standards, fearlessly defends a young black man who has been accused of sexually assaulting a white woman.
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
The story is set in France in the early nineteenth century and follows the lives of the many characters who reside there. However the story predominantly focuses on a man named Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who has spent nineteen years in jail for stealing a loaf bread, and his quest to live a good and honest life.
The themes, carefully woven within the plot, are inspiring in their own right: justice, morality, love… The list goes on. However, it is the intended purpose of this book, as written in the preface, that is the most inspiring:
So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century—the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light—are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world;— in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Misérables cannot fail to be of use.
Harry Potter - JK Rowling
Follows the school years of a young wizard and his life as ‘The Chosen One’ in a tremendous battle of good against evil. We are sure that you’re familiar with this brilliant story. J.K Rowling creates characters who are relatable and flawed, yet each of them teaches us a valuable lesson about how we can better ourselves, and with that in mind, society. Perhaps, the most inspiring thing about this story is the way it captures the significance of imagination. Rowling has created this entire world with such rich detail that it can only be described as mind blowing.
The Happiness Project - Gretchen Reuben
Reuben put together this book, filled with research and her own life experiences, after deciding to dedicate a whole year to achieving her ultimate life goal: happiness. It’s clear to see that this book has inspired thousands; it has become so influential that the book itself is now a movement in its own right. The Happiness Project acts as a guide, as a plan, for readers to interpret however they wish and apply to their own life. It’s about living in the present. It inspires us to always seek the extraordinary in the ordinary.