Remember that feeling of getting lost in a good book? The kind where you’re so immersed in the story that you lose all track of time. For many of us, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to experience that feeling. It’s tempting to blame our current world, where we’re inundated with constant content and distractions from our scrolling thumbs, for our disconnection from the pleasure of reading.
But very few things in life can have as profound of an impact on us as the books we’ve read. Certain stories have the incredible ability to challenge our assumptions, broaden our horizons, and even change the course of our daily thinking.
With the recent passing of World Book Day, we’re reminded of the joy of reading. That’s why we, the avid readers at OpenPhone, have put together a roundup of our favorite books that have left a mark on us. These are books that have stayed with us long after we turned the last page. So, without further ado, here is our list of the books that changed us.
1. Normal Sucks by Jonathan Mooney
“I believe that we are not the problem. The problem is a world that makes us feel less than, that pushes us to the margins, that calls us broken. Our job is not to fix ourselves. Our job is to fix the world, one broken heart and one broken spirit at a time.”
As an adult who is neurodiverse, I love this book because it provides relatable experiences of navigating neurodiversity, challenges societal norms and expectations, and empowers you to see your differences as assets rather than deficits. – Betty Martinez, Talent Sourcer.
2. Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
“Happiness isn’t some permanent thing we’re all trying to achieve in life, it’s merely a thing that shows up every now and then, sometimes in tiny doses that are just substantial enough to keep us going.“
It’s a story I can relate to. A person can have the worst of days and have the most painful and difficult life, but even all that will pass. And that we can all get to a better place that we so deserve. – April Lacana, Executive Assistant.
3. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
“Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from the inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”
It’s inspirational and allows one to view life differently. – Vanessa Cornelius, QA Engineer.
4. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
“When I think about my own fears, most of them are to do with time itself. I worry about aging. I worry about our children aging. I worry about the future. I worry about losing people. I worry I am late with my work. Even writing this book I worry I will fall behind dealine. I worry about the time I have spent unwisely.”
There’s a lot of food for thought around our complex society and the impact of things like social media. In some ways, I found it comforting to know that someone else out there is also genuinely concerned for our state of existence. – Christina Le, Social Media & Community Manager.
5. Jog On by Bella Mackie
“Running makes me feel less anxious every day that I do it. I never regret a run, no matter how much I don’t want to do it on the day. I might well regret not going though, and that’s a good thing to remember.”
Bella has a special way of speaking to a reader, like you’re sitting on her living room floor chatting about life’s ups and downs. It felt like she understood my struggles without actually knowing me. It made me look at mental health in a less scary way and gave me free, easily accessible tools to take control of my anxiety, and has truly (not to be dramatic) changed my life. – Steph Guerin, Talent Coordinator.
6. She Builds: The Anti-Hustle Guide to Grow your Business and Nourish Your Life by Jadah Sellner
This book is so intentional about protecting women and their peace of mind when starting a business. I think it’s an absolutely vital read (even if you don’t have a business of your own) to really think about how we structure of lives/days when we are working women. This book has changed the trajectory of how I think about “hustling” and the severe lack of connection that we can face when we go too far down a rabbit hole of work/business. Work is important, but we face so many other things when it comes to being women. This book outlines all of that journey so beautifully, and it’s such an important book of our time. – Kylie Nadeau, Recruiter.
7. Martin Eden by Jack London
Beauty is the only master to serve
An inspiring story of a working-class person who rose to an intellectual and who achieved success no matter what. – Edgar Zapeka, Frontend Software Engineer.
8. Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
“Sometimes a mage would just up and hug him, then walk away. Once, a wizard he was talking to just started crying. That had frightened Beak.”
The prose is fantastic; the themes are riveting. It’s a perfect combination of a well-told epic narrative and down-to-earth humor that really brings a large cast of characters to life. – Paco Sprouse, Android Software Engineer.
9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
A psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat! – Sunny Tripathi, Sr. Support Operations Manager.
10. The Stand by Stephen King
The Stand has some of the best characters, storytelling, and writing I’ve ever seen. It’s one of the books that led to me being a Stephen King fan! – Cole Beezley, Support Representative.
11. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”
Reading Frankenstein for school was the first time I actually felt eager to do my homework (no joke). As someone who loved scary stories, getting to read and analyze a well-crafted horror classic for school was really exciting. It ended up having enduring significance by showing me how much more fun and engaging learning can be when it feels tailored to the individual. Frankenstein is the book that fully cracked open my love for reading and sparked a lasting joy of learning on my own terms. – Carolyne Gardener, Marketing Designer.
12. Just Kids by Patti Smith
A beautifully written book about the most interesting time to be an artist. – Drew Schuffenhauer, Customer Support Team Lead.
13. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
“Wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.”
14. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
“I was the shadow of the waxwing slain. By the false azure in the windowpane; I was a smudge of ashen fluff – an I lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.”
I love Nabokov’s elegant, lyrical prose throughout all his works. Pale Fire’s unique narrative structure, intricate wordplay, and use of hyperfiction (a technique that lets readers engage with the text in multiple ways) set this work apart from his others. – Alyx Baldwin, Technical Product Manager.
15. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
It is written by a man that survived a Nazi concentration camp. Very inspiring! – Tiffany Olsen, People Operations Coordinator.
16. Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
It’s just an amazing book. – Giancarlo Cialle, Head of Sales.
17. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
“Things are simple as a rule”
A super interesting end to the mystery story. – Justin Gamble, QA Automation Engineer.
18. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
I had this wild idea to try to have a baby naturally. Ina May’s book helped me achieve this through encouraging stories from other mothers, general information on childbirth, and great tips and techniques on calming your mind through labor and delivery (and beyond!). – Nina Padula Gialle
19. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Usually you not stupid. Why stupid Question?
Space, spiders, and kindness what more can you ask for? – Justine Delgadillo, Sr. Customer Success Manager.
20. Mortality by Christopher Eric Hitchens
Death is the dark backing that a mirror needs if we are able to see anything.
Mortality is a deeply personal and reflective book that explores Hitchens’ own experiences with cancer and mortality. It offers a unique and touching perspective on a topic that is often avoided or treated in a superficial way. Hitchens’ writing is both poetic and honest, and he doesn’t shy away from grappling with the difficult questions that arise when facing one’s own mortality. – Mahyar Raissi, CEO.
21. The Wheel of Time (Series) by Robert Jordan
“Almost dead yesterday, maybe dead tomorrow, but alive, gloriously alive, today.”
Sprawling fantasy epic with tons of badass female characters. – Ryan Belev, Sr. Backend Software Engineer.
Before you get back to tackling your reading list, let us know in the comments what books left a lasting impression on you.
Boston, MA-based communications, community and social media manager