A Reader Leads A Thousand Lives Before He Dies – Journalists Share The Books That Captivated Them.

Studying Journalism this year has certainly been an adventure. There have been high times – improving my passion for storytelling, attending Human Rights Day at the Scottish Parliament and bombarding the First Minister for a cheeky picture! And let’s not forget the boozy after class afternoons in ‘spoons’. There have also been lows – SHORTHAND, a phrase the makes any hopeful journalist die inside, the pressure of deadlines and exams that all students can relate too, and also those dreaded early starts. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not a morning person.

Being in a class full of young creatives can certainly be maddening, we all have our opinions and ideas, and we all want to be heard! And be right! However, one really cool thing about being in a class full of aspiring journalist all year is this, it is safe to assume each of us have a favourite book, as what is the point of aspiring to write if the stories of others don’t captivate us.

A thirst for knowledge, a bit of escapism, there is many reasons to indulge in a book. And studies show that reading boosts your EQ, making you a more empathic person.

I caught up with some of my fellow journalists to ask them what books hold a special place in their heart.

Hamid Bahrami, The Sky is Falling, Sidney Sheldon:

I read this book translated into my own language, Farsi. The book tells the story of a journalist investigating the mysterious deaths of a famous family in the USA. Her journey takes her to the Soviet Union. I enjoyed this book because of the mystery, and I would highly recommend you read it. I first read it ten years ago, when I was twenty, and the book is partly what inspired me to become more interested in politics.

Lucy Smith, The Fault in Our Stars, John Green:

This book made me cry. It follows the story of a young girl, Hazel, who has cancer. My grandad had cancer, so the book is something I could relate to and made me empathise with the characters and their pain. The book made me realise I had to treasure my loved ones, you never know how much time you have with them.

Alistair McGowan, I Robot, Isaac Asimov:

The book is so different from the movie. The author would be appalled by the movie. The book is a series of mini stories all with the common theme that the humans are scared robots and technology will take over. Usually they are wrong, and the problems that arise in the story are due to errors of mankind. What did this book teach me? That humans are stupid and if we don’t change we are f*****!

It is near impossible to choose my own favourite book. My love affair with reading began when I was five years old. I joined my local library and took home Roald Dahls Matilda. I loved the smart and bookish character so much, I begged my mum to let me change my name to Matilda.

If I was pressed to name a favourite book, I would probably have to name another one from childhood. Growing up was an awkward and difficult time, and I relied on the escapism of stories. Whether it be reading a book, or making up my own when I didn’t have access to one.

No book transported me to another world quite like JM Barries’ Peter Pan. I was so in awe of the story, I used to dream vividly of Neverland and a life of fighting pirates and swimming with mermaids. Many of my make believe childhood games where centred around the book, and to this day quotes from the book have stayed with me, such as:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

I even have a quote from the book tattoeed, “To live would be an awfully big adventure.” A more positive take on the infamous line, to die.

Have you read any of the titles above? Or perhaps now added them to your summer reading list? Need more inspiration for a good read now exams are finally over? Check out the link below to hear some more of my fellow journalist share their all-time favourite books:

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