They say you learn something new every day.
Books are where I learn the most, I think. And I learn from EVERY book I read, but some more than others.
Note: most (if not all) will be contemporaries.
Night Vision by Ella West
This is about a girl with XP (Xeroderma Pigmentosum, apparently). Basically, she’s allergic to sunlight. I hadn’t even known this EXISTED let alone how you would deal with it, so this was a really, really interesting read.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Pretty much all of Jodi Picoult’s books have courtroom scenarios, and these I found really interesting. I also learnt a lot about organ donation.
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
The only fictional book where I have actually LEARNT something about writing (as opposed to every other writing character just being like “I wanna be a writer” and never doing anything about it). I learnt about the publishing world, the agonies of titles, and the lengths writers are willing to go for research.
Hope in a Ballet Shoe by Michaela and Elaine DePrince
I loved this book, and I learnt about both 1) ballet and 2) war-torn Sierra Leone. You don’t often get characters from places other than America, England or Australia (or at least not in the books I read) so the diversity here was really lovely to see.
Dead Ends by Erin Lange
This one taught me a lot about Down syndrome, and the way we “other” disabled people. Also taught me a lot about bullies, and how they’re not always the most horrible people on the planet.
Head of the River by Pip Harry
I learnt more than I ever have about rowing, about athletes in general, about the reasons people turn to drugs. That was really awesome.
Not the drugs.
I’m doing well here.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
It’s a miracle I got anything from this considering how hard I was bawling, but it did teach me a lot about World War II and spies and Nazis and LOTS OF THINGS, basically.
Maybe I should rethink my aversion to historical fiction.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
This is one of my favourite books of all time. I learnt SO much about mental illness and psychiatric hospitals.
Also I just really wanted to put this book on my list because I love it.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Gah, this book. It made me cry, seriously. I know these are all kind of depressing things so far and it’s not going to end with this one. It’s about anorexia and I’d never read a book about anorexia before, so it hit me harder than I expected.
Also: Laurie Halse Anderson is amazing.
Do you have any books that have taught you something really important/life-changing/earth-shattering??