My 7 year old recently had a school project to talk to family members about their favourite books and create a ‘Reading River’. She started with me (obvs.) and I was able to reel off my top books of all time in an instant. I can’t wait for her to get a little older so that I can share these books with her too, but you guys get a little preview into my mind. These are all books that shaped me as a child/ teenager/ young adult and have stayed with me ever since.

First up is the most ‘recent’ read. I discovered this book about 10 years ago now but it is one that I keep coming back to whenever I feel myself slipping back into ‘saviour behaviour’.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

This book was lent to me by a friend… actually he recommended Norwegian Wood to me and I ignored the recommendation for months, either because I was lazy, or I kept forgetting about it… I eventually did read it after I nicked his copy and subsequently held on to it for a good year or so (sorry mate!).

Norwegian Wood turned out to be just the book I needed, and it came at just the right time. I was holding on to friendships that weren’t healthy for me and I needed to break away. I just couldn’t see it myself, until I read Norwegian Wood. The story resonated with me and kept playing over in my mind until I decided to cut myself loose from everything that I felt was holding me back.

I woke up one morning and just thought, screw it, I’m moving to London. A couple of hours later I had secured an interview for a transfer at work, and by the end of the week, I had arranged to move in with my Nani in Whitechapel, which was walking distance into the city for work.

My life changed after that as I let loose (in a good way) and started to enjoy my twenties. I took full advantage of all of the cultural and culinary aspects of London life. I never would have taken the plunge if I hadn’t read this book and realised that you don’t have to sacrifice your own dreams out of a sense of duty to others. Without trying to be over-dramatic, Norwegian Wood really did change the course of my life.