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We already mused on about our favorite podcasts and apps, now we’re sounding off on the books that, literally or literary, changed our lives. From Fitzgerald to Rupi Kaur to Mindy Kaling, all the reads that really changed us, whether that be in our souls, kitchen, or converted us to a new book genre.

Plant Paradox

“Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox literally changed me. I had been through countless rounds of really intense antibiotics, which was suppose to rid me of a terrible infection. It did, but it also completely destroyed all my ‘gut buddies’ and microbiome. I felt constantly nauseous and ill for months, even though I was suppose to be “well”. Nothing my gastro doctors suggested worked, and at the end of my rope, I heard about this book. Dr. Gundry breaks down the history of humans and how we’ve historically eaten and processed food, and it all makes so much damn sense once he explains it in such great detail. I took all of his suggestions in the book into action, and no joke, within a week of starting to implement his diet suggestions, the nausea was completely gone, and I had begun to healing my gut. I’ve been dedicated to this diet ever since. Dr. Gundry even has a Plant Paradox Cookbook coming out this April that I’m so looking forward to grabbing, with recipes from both him and some of the people that follow The Plant Paradox diet (like chef Jonathan Waxman).  

“Also, The Divine Law of Compensation is extraordinary and changed the way I think, putting out kindness to all, and letting go of mindsets emotionally holding me back.” – Kristin Limoges, Associate Lifestyle Editor

Why Not Me

“I loved Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling. First of all, she’s hilarious, but second of all, she frankly talks about how she succeeded in an industry predominantly run by men, and as a woman of color, she definitely had to work harder and prove herself, all while being told she wasn’t good enough. I liked her attitude about always being confident in her abilities, and it gave me a confidence boost early on in my career.” – Nikhita Mahtani, Digital Editor

Milk and Honey

“I’m a HUGE lover of poetry, but even if you’re not, I firmly believe that every young female should to have a copy of this millennial cult-following poetry book on their nightstand. It’s broken into four chapters, with each one serving a different purpose, healing a different pain or dealing with a different heartbreak that’s both powerful and relatable to any woman going through life. The book takes you on a journey of self discovery, of love and loss, of hope and light. It’s empowering and insightful, with Kaur’s poignant words serving as your confidant and guide through some of the toughest subjects. Milk and Honey is, to me, a celebration of the female life in all of its trials and tribulations, and a lesson in finding the sweetness in life despite our battles. I keep it on hand when I find myself needing a little understanding or reassurance, though many of my favorite poems I have memorized by heart.” – Mackenzie Dunn, Digital Editorial Intern

Modern Classics

“Total cliche moment here but The FountainheadPlenty, Never Let Me Go, and A Room of One’s Own. All are incredible and life-changing.” – Jessica Romm Perez, Editor-in-Chief

Anything F. Scott Fitzgerald

“A project in my final semester of high school (#tbt) lead me to read four of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels, and I’ve yet to connect to a series of books in the same way since. His exploration of morality and purpose written in such a romantic way, woven into storylines of excess and adventure, really spoke to me as an 18-year-old itching to get out of the Midwest. I remember reading those novels really changed the way I perceived people and thought about life, and I think that’s pretty cool thing, as the books were written almost a century earlier.

“Two more recently released and read books that were pivotal to my adult life are How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. You won’t regret reading either!” – Alyssa Clough, Social Media Editor

Me Talk Pretty One Day

“Wanting a good laugh is reason enough to pick up ANY of David Sedaris’ collections of essays, but this one always stuck with me. I read this book in high school and it totally changed the way I looked back on my weirdest childhood moments and awkward family memories. He puts a raw and funny spin on everything, from his crossword addiction to learning French, and I think it’s a great reminder that any story, no matter how seemingly minute or boring, is worth telling—as long as you have someone you’re willing to share it with. And if you ever have the chance to catch him on stage in person, take it!” – Lydia Geisel, Digital Editorial Intern

Men Explain Things to Me

“This book really helped articulate and explain a lot of the underlying anxiety I have of being a woman walking around in this world. It really helped me transform my thinking of my personal experience and was really like YOU ARE NOT ALONE, YOU FEEL THIS WAY FOR A REASON. Men should absolutely read this book, too.” – Lahaina Alcantara, Digital Photo Editor

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

“I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan a couple of years ago, and it completely transformed the way I think of the food industry and what I eat. Pollan does a deep dive into the current state of agriculture and farming in the country, focusing on factors such as where our food comes from and what the food we eat, eats. He shed light on the overuse of corn and the negative effects it has on our health as a whole. A truly eye-opening read.” – Anna Kocharian, Digital Editor

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

“Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s book, Everybody Lies is life-changing. Now, you may be thinking that’s a semi-exaggerated statement given the book is about Google searches, but hear me out: In his own witty way, Stephens-Davidowitz uses search data to help analyze, explain, and predict human behavior, uncovering some pretty crazy, hilarious, (and sometimes) depressing facts. Quite literally, reading it changes the way you think about life and gives you a better perspective on society today. You don’t need to be a data nerd to relate; if you use Google, this book is for you.” – Amanda Johnson, Digital Content Strategy Manager

More brillant ed picks:

The 8 Items That Totally Transformed Our Homes
The Best Beauty Hacks Our Editors Swear By
The Colors Our Editors Are Loving for Spring

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