Mia nominated me to make a list of books that have changed my life. First of all, sorry to keep you waiting so long, secondly thanks for the nomination. At first I thought this would be a tough one, because to be honest, I’m not really a ‘reader’. I’ve always preferred to look at movies or tv-series instead of reading. Some books took me weeks and lots of effort to finish, while others were finished within hours.
For me the ‘books that have changed my life’, are mostly books from my childhood and teenage years.
The books of Marc de Bel
As a kid, the author Marc de Bel (his books are in Dutch), could amuse me the most. They were playful, but were also about growing up. His stories are funny and exciting. Especially the books about Blinker and De zusjes Kriegel were nice. The characters in these books were a bit rebellious and because of that they came along many adventures.
2. ‘Het dolfijnenkind’ (the dolphin child) from Patrick Lagrou
When I was a bit older I got addicted to the series about Marijn, who has a special connection with dolphins. (I think it’s because of these books that dolphins became my favourite animals) He lives on the island Long Island, and every book brings different adventures, these books were perfect to read in the summer.
3. Mijn zomer met Jade (my summer with Jade) from Charlotte Gingras
At the end of the school year, we always got a book to read in the summer. When I finished primary school, we got the book ‘Mijn zomer met Jade’. It’s about a guy who receives a message from his aunt that passed away. The days that he is stuck at the island where his aunt lives changed his entire summer. I can’t really tell why, but this book had an impression on me. I still have a box full of drawings and other things that I made that summer, and they were all about that book.
4+5. Books from the author Helen Vreeswijk
Helen her books are always about real issues. The author worked years for the police, this was the environment where she found her inspiration to write her books. Eerwraak is my favourite. It is about a muslim girl living in the Netherlands. She falls in love with a Dutch guy, and for that she becomes the shame of the family. Another book I really liked was Loverboys, about guys who seem perfect, but force young girls into prostitution.
6+7+8. Books from Dirk Bracke
You could say that Dirk Bracke is the Belgian version of Helen Vreeswijk, or the other way around. Straks doet het geen pijn meer (later it won’t hurt anymore) was the book I found most emotional, it’s about incest. Both Helen and Dirk seem to have researched their topics well, and take you into the world of the main characters. They are not afraid to pick topics that are hard or confronting. Black was the first book that made me cry, describing the life of gang members in Brussels. Als de olifanten vechten (when the elephants are fighting) was my inspiration for a big presentation I had to give when I was 14 or 15. The book tells the story of two teenagers falling in love, the two children were kidnapped and trained to become soldiers in Uganda. This subject intrigued me a lot.
9. The sisterhood of the traveling pants by Ann Brashares
I really loved reading these books. They are simple, yet made my summer more interesting. Four friends, all different characters, decide to share a pants for the summers to keep in touch. Each character learns new things every summer. I guess this is just the typical girls book about friendship.
10. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Ok, although I find it a bit awkward now, I used to be one of the many fans of the Twilight series. Team Edward all the way. The vampire and werewolf world was an escape from everyday life. Bella is very plain, normal, and a bit clumsy, a perfect character to relate to. Eclipse was my favourite book in these series, where you could also read from different characters perspectives, plus this was the first book I read in English.
11. Wereldmeiden (girls of the world) by E. Craft and S. Fain
This book is maybe a bit like number 9. Four friends, all quit different. One of the friends lies about the fact that she didn’t get into college. She says she just wants to be adventurous and stay home to write a book instead. This sets the other girls in motion. Should we go to college, or live our dreams? One girl goes backpacking in Europe, another goes to LA to become an actress and only one pursues her original plans to go to college. If they find out it was all a lie they are mad. But was it really that bad to not be mainstream, to live, to explore, to take a risk, to learn? I wish sometimes I had more courage to just be a little crazy and chase my dreams.
So what are the 10 books that saved your life? Love to read about it!