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"I'm still processing it years after." 11 women on the book that actually changed their life.

Books, we're pretty sure, hold some sort of magical power within their pages. 

They have the ability to whisk us away from our troubles and transport us to new exciting conversations that we never thought we would have. Which is why when you ask anyone what book changed their life, they'll likely have a juicy answer.

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Whether it's the book that triggered their penny-drop moment when they knew, for sure, that they wanted to be a writer. Or a book that showed them a true reflection of themselves, when they'd be starved of it in any other medium. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the book that was their sexual awakening.

It is truly intriguing to find out what books have actually changed people's lives. So, we've rounded up 11 women and their life-changing-book stories to share with you. 


Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

"I didn't realise until reading this that I had never read anything about racial history in Britain, despite growing up and going to school there. The conversation is almost always centred around the US and the dynamic there, so seeing history laid out in front of my eyeballs in the streets and towns I used to walk around was confronting and made me rightly re-evaluate everything I've been taught."

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

"In my first year of studying journalism, my tutor (and now lifelong mentor) gave me a reading list of books that weren't specifically related to the course, but he felt we absolutely had to read if we wanted to call ourselves writers. The first one was In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and after I read it, I knew I was 100% on the right course."


The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.

"Recommended to me when I was 12 years old by my school librarian. Did she know she was introducing me to my sexual awakening? I mean, you’d bloody hope not."


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

"I've never read a book that shook me to my core until I read it. I still don't know why or if I took anything away from it - I'm still processing it years after - but it set a new benchmark."

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The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer.

"I will be cancelled by the internet for this, but... The Female Eunuch. I hadn't thought about feminism/wasn't that familiar with it until a teacher gave me that book, and I inhaled it and just thought it was so clever. It was so groundbreaking in so many ways and yet was written 20 years before I was born, but was still so relevant. It put into words how I'd felt as a woman in the world."


How the Pill Changes Everything by Sarah E. Hill.

"I was in my local library when I saw this book being handed back in the loan station - and it immediately grabbed my attention. 'Huh? How can the pill change anything?' Interested enough, I requested it for loan next, and little did I know I was about to be mind blown. 

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"As someone who has spent years battling painful periods, acne, mood swings and more I thought I had done enough googling to have had a good idea of how our hormones impact us. Big nope. This book changed my life. Hormones are about so much more than just periods. There is so much I never knew about that you won't read about unless you spend your time perusing research papers  - like how taking the pill can permanently impact our cortisol system (stress management) or how it can even influence the type of guy we are attracted to. It sounds crazy but there's so much about the impact of hormonal contraceptives that we don't know about. 

"This book won't talk you out of hormonal contraceptives because we know the benefits, but it does give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your life. I walked away feeling totally empowered, although disappointed I hadn't had this information sooner. I would shout this book from the rooftops to anyone whether they have been on hormonal contraceptives or not."

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

"I first read this in high school and felt utterly changed afterwards; it really affirmed my desire to be a writer. I still remember the characters like old friends. And reading Donna Tartt opened me up to everything written by her mentor, Bret Easton Ellis. When I read his first book Less Than Zero it made me realise young people can write about the most banal or shallow or introspective experiences and they're not invalid or unworthy, they're just truthful."


Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee. 

"A gamechanger for understanding sexual assault and the justice system in Australia, and just a really great read."

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Listen to Mamamia Out Loud where Mia, Holly and Jessie recommend the best books to read this summer. Post continues after podcast.


Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski.

"It was the first time I’ve read about desire and sex from a women’s point of view in such practical detail and with so much science. It helped me understand myself and my sex life in ways I didn’t expect to come from a book."


Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

"I realised I had never read a book that centered on Black characters about the Black experience. I actually reached out to the author, Kiley Reid, who recommended some other great Black lit which I am devouring. Literally reading two books at once at the moment! It's completely changed the way I move through life and the things I choose to read, watch and listen to."

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Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given.

"I've started yelling at friends/family/acquaintances about the patriarchy ever since I read it last year. It's framed as 'all the things she wish she knew growing up in her teens/early twenties', and it has made me the most angry, demanding woman and I've also never been happier and more free."


What book changed your life? Let us know in the comments.

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