Novels which transform our ideas about human possibilities, biographies which celebrate the achievements of extraordinary individuals, polemical works of non-fiction which oblige us to alter our views of the world or of human society: all of us can remember reading at least one book which made us think about the world anew. Here, the author of the popular Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, selects the very best books which may or may not have changed the world, but which have certainly changed the lives of thousands of people who have read them. Some examples of titles included:Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - a poignant recording of the author's triumph over the obstacles of being black and poor in a racist society.Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist. Santiago's meeting with the alchemist opens his eyes to the true values of life, love and sufferingThe Diary of Anne Frank Half a century later the story of a teenager coming to maturity in the most terrible of circumstances remains profoundly moving.Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet Gibran's poetic essays reveal his thoughts on everything in life from love and marriage to the enigmas of birth and death.Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Pirsig's narrator creates a philosophical masterpiece that has the power to change lives.

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20. November 2012
BOOKS Stoicism (although Marcus Aurelius never specifically describes himself as a Stoic) and of the Greek philosopher Epictetus in particular