Not that we need reasons to read, but there are some books guaranteed to make you a better person. With the endless amount of perspectives and lives we can read about, books can give us insights and unique opportunities and experiences that we wouldn't have had before. I also think we can learn certain life skills from books (improve our imaginations, and memory, etc.). Here’s a selection of some great books guaranteed to make you a better person.
1. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
This is a masterpiece novel in my opinion and one of those books guaranteed to make you a better person. I have it on my list because I think it’s guaranteed to transport you to another era and continent (the Indian Sub-Continent), and improve the way you view love. The novel received quite a bit of criticism when it was first published in 1997, due to its theme that centered on the childhood experiences of fraternal twins, whose lives were destroyed by the "love rules" in Kerala, India, in 1969. The novel is a description of how the small things in life really can affect your behavior and life. It's priced at $6.95 and is 321 pages long.
2. The Book of My Lives – Aleksandar Hemon
This book is guaranteed to deepen your worldview and understanding of the world as you know it! Thoughtfully humorous, yet sad at the same time, Aleksandar provides a collection of essays that take you on an exploration of his life. He grew up in the lively cultural atmosphere of Sarajevo, Bosnia, and then moved to start his second life in the USA, where he was effectively trapped in 1992, after the civil war broke out. Because he witnessed the ruination of his once civilized hometown, he knows that life doesn't always proceed in straight narrative lines. This book is priced at $20 for 640 pages.
3. Seven Nights – Jorge Luis Borges
This book is guaranteed to help inspire you and help you embrace your own flaws much more deeply. One of the greatest poets and short story writers of South America, Jorge writes about his own blindness and how it not only inconvenienced him, but also in a funny way enriched his life. It’s a collection of a playful take on seven lectures given on seven different nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1977. That’s a lot of sevens if you ask me! This book is 121 pages and priced at $12.95.
4. Self-Help: Stories – Lorrie Moore
This book is guaranteed to help you empathize more and think about what you would do if you were in the character's shoes. A short story collection, it depicts nine different stories that deal with a range of topics from love, loss, divorces, mental illness and death. A cleverly written collection, some pages will have you laughing out loud and some will have you identifying with the characters. Priced at $14.95, it consists of 176 pages.
5. The Pushcart War – Jean Merrill
This book is guaranteed to help you understand the whole war and peace process. It’s actually a children’s book illustrated to show readers precisely how wars start. Most wars nowadays are complicated affairs that require lots of analysis and understanding to even closely comprehend what’s happening. This novel is based around pushcart vendors and truck drivers who battle over the right to use the streets in the city of New York. Jean manages to present this fictional war as if it were real-life, to enable readers to see how easy it is for wars to break out, helping to prevent them in the future. This book is great for children and adults alike! Consisting of 224 pages, it's priced at $9.99.
6. Salvage the Bones – Jesmyn Ward
This book is guaranteed to help you remember the importance of family and expand your horizons in such a way that you realize your own life simply isn’t that bad. Jesmyn won a 2012 Alex Award for this novel, as she’s able to bring us a gut-wrenching, brutal story about a family in the Mississippi bayou ten days before and ten days after Hurricane Katrina. It feels fresh yet urgent, and is a beautiful story about family, honor, revenge, disaster — and it’s a good one! It's priced at $24 for 261 pages.
7. The Mind-Body Problem – Rebecca Goldstein
This book is guaranteed to satisfy you on an emotional and intellectual level and help you realize that you’re beautiful just as you are. A tale about the conflict between emotion and intelligence (something us ladies know a lot about!), combined with the challenges faced by intellectual women, it questions our identity and religious traditions. Rebecca asks us what the mind is and how it relates to the physical body. This question has fascinated humankind for centuries, both before and after 17th-century philosopher Descartes articulated the whole mind-body dualism. Still, it’s an original read and the book is priced at $16 and is 288 pages long.
I hope you will enjoy selecting the right book depending upon what you want to improve about yourself; there is certainly a variety out there to choose from. Which book do you think you’ll be picking up first?