Thank you to all the Faber Members who took part and shared the book that changed your life. Here is a round-up of the hundreds of submissions we received. Join Faber Members (free) to be a part of our community of readers.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Utterly compelling, devastatingly raw and emotional. I read it slowly as I couldn’t bear to find out what happened next. It will stay with me for a long, long time!
Gilli, Lichfield

When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister

It was the first time I felt truly seen and understood as a mother. (Also Soldier Sailor more recently!)
Tilly, Worthing

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This book came to me at a time when I least expected it and still resonates with me to this day. Her writing is beautiful: the way she describes her experiences and battles with mental health connected with me in a manner that other books never have before and has changed me for the better.
Hiend, Middlesbrough

Watership Down by Richard Adams

The first book I ever read for pleasure. Everything else I’d read had been because I had to read it, so reading this at my pace and on my terms created a much deeper love of reading.
Wendy, Caernarfon

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

It’s the novel I always return to when my faith in the contemporary novel fails me, which happens frequently. I was in my late teens when I first read it and it showed me the dark, desperate and profoundly painful side of love which no novel had yet done.
Gary, Brighton

T. S. Eliot’s Selected Poems, and Moortown by Ted Hughes

The former introduced me to the joy of poetry (and Faber! It was an old 1970s paperback copy I was given by a family friend), and the latter (now sadly out of print) demonstrated just what poetry could do – the collection is so varied in content and style, it’s like a masterclass in poetry.
Matthew, Stoke-on-Trent

Selected Poems by Thom Gunn

It changed the way I read poetry and opened up a world of possibilities in literature to me, and a host of new writers to discover.
Harri A

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This book single-handedly broke my heart and made me reflect on the futility and shortness of life, how easy it is for us to take things for granted and be unappreciative of the situations we may be in. The dynamic of clones combined with the heartbreaking personification of each of the characters is truly devastating and disturbing, yet there is so much hopefulness.
Nicola, Guildford

Beloved by Toni Morrison

It opened my eyes to the abuse of slavery, what a mother may do to protect her children. Morrison’s use of language and imagery drew me right in, never to be forgotten.
Catherine, Caerphilly

Narcissus and Goldmund by Herman Hesse

I was given the book on a date and although the relationship didn’t last, I began a new one with Herman Hesse!
John, Goldsithney

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

I have endured OCD since I was three; Madame B’s obsessional character and repetitive issues is something I explore in my art. Fantastic book to return to.
Angela P, Bishop’s Frome

The Alexandria Quartet by Laurence Durrell

I fell in love with Justine . . . A lifetime later, I am still loyal to her . . .
Annie, Winchelsea Beach

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

Because it completely changed what writing could be for me and it felt extraordinary.
Julia, London

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

At the age of seventeen I was offered a new world of thought, questioning and melancholy. Priceless gifts.
Alastair, Bournemouth

A Girl in Winter by Philip Larkin

It’s a most intriguing prose poem and my writing style has changed after reading and re-reading this book. I feel I have got to know Katherine Lind very well, this refugee who once came to England and then comes again under very different and dangerous circumstances. A book about being a refugee and yet finding a home without realising it. Larkin’s prose is so good for writing observation!
Vivian, Bristol

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

The book was published in 2021 and when you look now at the world it is scary, foresight by Ishiguro.
Inge, Assen, The Netherlands

I started reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro a day or so before my wife and I decided to separate. Klara’s story helped me to accept the fact that just because relationships change and love evolves over time, it doesn’t mean that the time we spent together was any less important or beautiful. What more could you ask of a novel than that?
Reinhard, Cape Town

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

I read this novel not long after it was published in 1989 and in 2023 I still find this work a compelling and prescient read, in that it is the story of an England awash in nostalgia for a past defined by aristocratic country houses and their grand estates. As ‘a poor relation’ of such an estate, I found in Stevens (the butler) a way of exploring my own nostalgic deference to the way of life my mother had rejected.
Gill, Norwich

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

It was a book I had waited seventy years to read!
Jilly, Yelverton

The Overstory by Richard Powers

It is impossible to look at trees in the same way again after reading this exceptional novel. It beautifully explores man’s place in nature and often comments on what it means to be human.
Joanna, Wokingham

The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem

This would definitely be one of my desert island choices. It’s a wonderfully rich book which makes me feel hugely connected to people past and present – and to myself. It’s like a wonderful pool to dive into and feel part of. I am a great lover of poetry and I’m involved in a lot of poetry happenings, but for me, this book on the prose poem was a bridge between general prose and poetry and a genre within poetry – I value and love it very much.
Susan, Dublin

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Changed my view on family dynamics and how there is no other option but to be who you are. #loveislove
Eleni, Stuttgart

Fatherland by Robert Harris

I read this thirty years ago. Alternative history has probably always interested me. The idea that if Germany had won the war, that the horror of the Holocaust could have been erased from history, is very compelling and upsetting. This book stands out as it made me realise the possibilities that reading can open up.
Jonathan, Manchester

1984 by George Orwell

Informed me politically; it gave me my moral compass.
Kev, Uffculme

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

Changed my religion.
Margaret, Aberdour

Selected Poems by T. S. Eliot

Read it as a teenager and a whole new set of horizons opened up for me – in particular, The Waste Land.
Simon, London

100 Poems by Seamus Heaney

Seamus’ rare capacity to engage his readers and to allow them to see their world through a different lens was remarkable. Since the day I purchased it at the London Review of Books Bookstore, 100 Poems has been a partner in my life and joins me with my family, my cancer, my work on behalf of refugees and migrants, my teaching in law school and my friends. His is an abiding presence and the unique story of its compilation by his family only compounds that. It is a book that I keep near me, that travels with me and is a companion of great importance. Seamus is still very much with it in this wonderful little volume. Thank you Faber!
William, Worcester, Massachusetts

Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence

It was an epiphany reading that for A-level; it made me switch to English Literature as the subject of my degree at university and away from French.
Michael, Bampton

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell

I read this book in my early twenties between socialising and my career starting up. It made me realise quality of life and community is not predestined and can be shaped.
Jill, Edinburgh

The Antipope by Robert Rankin

It was incredible to find someone who would write about a place I know, with familiar character types and the fantastic, but also with incredible humour. As a seventies/eighties child I grew up around pubs, so the settings and events were so real to me.
Chris, Leeds

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

This particular work resonates beautifully with me compared to his other works – i.e. Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear. It became my favourite soon after the quote (everybody most likely knows this one) ‘Hell is empty, and all the devils are here’. Now this is not the only sculpture of perfection that made me enjoy this book, but it is the one that left its traces in my mind long after I finished.
S, Zwolle

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

The first time I thought about religion and God and colour. It made me think about slavery and women’s place in society and about survival through pain.
Diana, Norwich

The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

I was given it when I was about seven; it was a present from England as I was living in New Zealand for a couple of years with my family. I was a good reader and tried anything I could pick up but the wonderful combination of Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone’s illustrations and the adventures centred on animals, which I found (and still find) much more interesting than most humans – plus the countryside, the image of London, the intriguing nannies and the marvellous Christmas chapters – totally thrilled me. I used to grab adults and read bits out to them. It was the first real novel I read, and appreciated, although I was not conscious of that at the time. I realise it now. I still have my copy after nearly sixty years and love reading as much as ever. I went on to take English as a degree.
Chris, Wallasey

A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

Opened my eyes to how wonderful literature could be.
Ian, Ripon

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I read this as a teenager and read it again every couple of years. I wanted a father like Atticus, but it was really my first introduction to racism and prejudice and I made up my mind not to be judgmental until I got to know the person – and even then, not to be judgmental!
Melanie, Taunton

Outline by Rachel Cusk

It changed how I saw writing and literature.
Mariana, Lisbon

Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson

The first book I ever read. Actually found a tattered edition of this classic on top of a dustbin while doing my morning paper round about fifty-five years ago now. The book was in pictograph form, which made it even better. Eventually it totally fell to pieces, unfortunately. I currently have several editions of the book.
William, Denny

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

Makes me think differently about life and its purpose.
Apolline, Mugron

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

I read it first in fifth grade and it opened my mind to satire, to a sort of science fiction (in book three). I re-read it in sixth grade and have regularly taught all or parts of it to my college English classes on and off since 1970 (though not in the expurgated version I first read!)
Barbara, Garden City, New York

Collected Poems by Philip Larkin

Made me realize that poetry could make me cry.
Adam, Simu Valley, California

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I became a vegetarian, started yoga and vowed to try and do one kind thing every day.
Carol, Brentwood

Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

I read it non-stop for a day and a night. Everyone thought I was crazy. Through the book I realised I wasn’t alone.
Paul, Market Rasen

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

I read in 2001, so I was fifteen or sixteen years old. This book changed my life because I became a reader after reading it, a real and lifelong reader. It was my starting point in my reader’s life, a path I never regret. All the elements in this book mesmerized me, the character of Mr Banks, the setting of three countries (England, Japan and China), the identity theme, the mystery plot, the memories of our past and the gripping story. I just want to thank Kazuo Ishiguro for writing this amazing book that I read twenty-two years ago and still holds a special place in my heart.
Thaizi, São Paulo

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

As a teenager I privileged works of non-fiction over novels. I did not see how a fictitious account of an event or a historical period could improve on a scholarly analysis. Surely the deprivations of the Depression were most effectively captured by the facts and figures and the impact on the people who lived through it. A cast of characters crafted by an author could be nothing more than a flaccid imitation. The power of Steinbeck’s prose disproved this immature belief, demonstrating that fiction offers a window on the human condition, every bit as profound and engaging as a historical account. Whatever the weakness of Steinbeck’s work – some say he could have achieved his objectives with greater economy – I owe him a lifelong gratitude for opening up the world of literature to me; it has not only brought me immense pleasure but has also helped me to understand others.
Gary, Newcastle upon Tyne

Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes

I had been a Sylvia Plath fan since my high school days, but as I read Hughes’s poetry I felt myself drawn to his expression of grief, of love, of regret and the past. It was especially poignant when my father died of cancer in the same week and at the same age as Hughes. When I took early retirement I knew what I wanted to do. I gained my PhD last year; its title was ‘The Cambridge of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes’.
Di, Cambridge

Candleland by Martyn Waites

It was the first book I managed to read from start to finish. Being seventeen, dyslexic and only learning how to read properly in the last five years made reading a challenge I didn’t enjoy. It was hard work, and I couldn’t always remember the start and middle – so I never got to the end. This book kept my interest and the sense of accomplishment I had after finishing it gave me the want to pick up another book. I had not felt that since 2000 and after finishing Candleland I’ve read complete collections, found some favourite authors and my preferred genre. But that is the book that started my reading journey.
Nafia, Lucan

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

I had never read anything that looked at the world in such an astonishingly original way. I was eighteen and didn’t really care much for novels. I read Márquez and something just fell into place: I became aware of the world in a different way, I started to look at it and, more importantly, understand it better. I ended up getting a PhD from Cambridge, specialising in Latin American literature. I read it every few years: Macondo sometimes feels like my favourite place to live.
Nick, Scole

Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn

It really opened my eyes to the history of women’s illness and diseases, but humanising the history by giving examples of real women who had these experiences. It also empowered me in knowing my own body and trusting myself when I have symptoms – not to explain them away or accept half-hearted responses from doctors, but to advocate for my own health.
Rebekah, Nottingham

Gal by Ruthie Bolton

Remember reading this in bed late one night. I turned a page and found words that took my breath away. I sobbed for hours.
Barbara, Leicester

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf; The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes; A Merry Christmas and Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott; Die Wahlverwandtschaften by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; Canto Notturno di un Pastore errante dell’Asia by Giacomo Leopardi

Each one of them I can remember how deeply they touched me.
Maria Stella, Bari

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Simply the most enjoyable book I have ever read.
Sandra, Hong Kong

The Splendour and the Pain by Rupert Brooke

John Frayn Turner referred to Brooke saying there are only ten beautiful words in the English language. I am trying to make a personal list for my poetry. Does anyone know Brooke’s list?
Estella, St Junien

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky

It’s an oldie but the main character, Prince Myshkin, was the most honest character I have ever encountered in literature (and in life!) – and he was called an idiot because of his honesty. I was reading it as I nursed my firstborn son, who, oddly and strangely enough, we had named Mishkin after a Persian calligrapher!
Valerie, Saskatoon

Good Morning, America by Carl Sandburg

I found a copy of this back in the sixties as a child in elementary school. I was completely blown away by the words on paper and decided that day I would grow up to be a poet . . . and I did.
Tony, Greenville, North Carolina

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Was ‘made’ to read it at school and in doing so I realised I loved reading. I re-read and re-read this every few years, I love how I see different characters points of view as I age.
Wendy, Caernarfon

The Voice of the Earth by Theodore Roszak

It completely changed my perspective and priorities.
Jan, Birmingham

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell

It showed me where we came from!
John, Northampton

More Life-changing Books:

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Lennart T, Stockholm

L’Étranger by Albert Camus
Spencer, Cheltenham

Ariel by Sylvia Plath
Louise, Marsa

The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk
Mark, Donegal

The Complete Poems of Cavafy
Ana, Lisbon

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Mireille, Valence

Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan
Christopher, London

Citizen by Claudia Rankine
Michele, Berkhamsted

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Rashida, Accra

How to be Hopeful by Bernadette Russell

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus
Zoi, Athens

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Kiera, Cumbria

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Mavi, London

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
Ribin, Cazenovia, New York

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Tim, Littleport

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Shirley, Edmonton

The Waste Land and Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot
Marilyn, Shrewsbury/Telford

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
Stuart, York

The Ring O’Bells Mystery by Enid Blyton
Kevin, Luton

American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Leanne , New Jersey

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Craig, London

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
Sonia, Pinner

Los Premios by Julio Cortázar
Andréa, Buenos Aires

Crow by Ted Hughes
Mark, Erpingham

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
Rob, Melbourne

Demian by Hermann Hesse
Ida, Bergen

In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki
Clara, Montevideo

The Plague by Albert Camus
Mark, Melbourne

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Andrew, Dartford

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
Marcos, Mexico

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Betsy, Hong Kong

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Eamon, Lisburn