Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

From sci-fi to self-help: five books that have the power to change perceptions

An eclectic selection of reads that changed our writer's life

'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak (2005)
'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak (2005)

I can safely say I have very confusing and random taste in books. I read many that focus on completely different topics and exist in varied genres, but the following were the first to come to mind, while retrieving memories of everything I have perused so far.

House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid (2012)

'House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East' by Anthony Shadid (2012)
'House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East' by Anthony Shadid (2012)

Upon visiting his abandoned family house after a century of destructive wars, Anthony Shadid decided to fly back home to Lebanon in 2006 from Oklahoma to reconstruct and renovate his great-grandfather’s home in Marjayoun, a Christian town in the south of the country.

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich (1997)

'Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster' by Svetlana Alexievich (1997)
'Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster' by Svetlana Alexievich (1997)

The author of Voices from Chernobyl provides the most personal and direct experience of the disaster to readers, interviewing more than 500 eyewitnesses in 10 years. This includes firefighters, members of the clean-up team, politicians and ordinary citizens who pour their hearts out to Alexievich.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997)

'The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom' by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997)
'The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom' by Don Miguel Ruiz (1997)

There is nothing I have ever read or watched that could have boosted my personal growth as much as this book did. Such a concept seemed like an immense myth – until I laid my eyes on the first page. Based on Toltec wisdom, it reveals the roots of limitations that rob us of joy and happiness.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)

'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak (2005)
'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak (2005)

This book is particularly interesting if you are a lover of history. It tells the story of a family hiding a Jewish fist-fighter in their home during the Nazi regime in Germany. The man, Max Vandenburg, develops a close relationship with the family’s daughter, teaching her how to read, write and the power of sharing the written word.

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (2010)

'I am Number Four' by Pittacus Lore (2010)
'I am Number Four' by Pittacus Lore (2010)

This book might not be for everyone, but it is a story I read in my childhood that I thoroughly enjoyed and will always remember. This young-adult science-fiction novel is the first of the Lorien Legacies series, and revolves around the conflict between two extraterrestrial species named the Loric and the Mogadorians.

Nourhan Samra is an intern at The National

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Read more:

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Five brilliant works written by authors under the age of 30

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Updated: August 29, 2019 04:28 PM

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