1. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy. This classic, while written to reflect 19th Century Russian society, put a magnifying glass on the society in which I lived in the 21st Century. It exposed snobbery, power imbalances between men and women and damaging social conformity. A story which transcends time and place.
2. Dalai Lama, An Open Heart. My husband gave me this book to read at a time when I considered overthinking to be a virtue. Afterwards, I realised I was indulging in behaviour that didn’t help anyone and actually prevented me from seeing clearly. It also had an illuminating perspective on ownership.
3. Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress. My grandmother gave me this book to read and it made me rethink my view of progress. While seen as a positive by corporations, politicians and many people, progress has often led to the downfall of civilisations.
4. The Beauty Myth, Naomi Klein. The Beauty Myth gave me a different way of thinking about beauty and its value in society. It also made me more broadly question marketing and consumerism.
5. I Came Back to Show You I Could Fly, Robin Klein. I read this book as a teenager and it taught me about friendship, difference, compassion and loss. I can’t remember crying so hard during a book, which is always a good sign of its strength.