I like to think that I’ve been a self-proclaimed bookworm for most of my life, but the reality is that I didn’t always love books the way I do now. I didn’t stay up late every night voraciously reading everything I could get my hands on. It is because of the above disclaimer that there is no singular book that brought a love of reading into my life. Instead, it was a collection of literary experiences that transported me to where I am today. Maybe you’ll find books that you remember enjoying on this list, or maybe you’ll find something unexpected that you have yet to pick up. Either way, here are the books that made me love reading.
The first book on this list should come as no surprise. I, like most millennials, young adults, and teens, am proudly part of the generation that grew up experiencing the release of each HARRY POTTER novel. I remember my mom reading the first two books with me, and then finally reading the third book entirely on my own. I loved HARRY POTTER—discussing the stories, waiting for the movies, and dressing up as the characters—but I didn’t fully love reading yet; I just loved the idea of being a witch and someday going to a magical boarding school with other witches and wizards.
Let yourself be enchanted by this international phenomenon of a series about an orphaned boy wizard who holds the fate of the magical world in his hands. Whether you’re revisiting the world of witchcraft and wizardry or diving in for the first time, Harry’s story lives up to the hype.
This is the book that got me interested in nonfiction and historical fiction, and it evokes a funny story in my life: one that involves a concerned fourth-grade teacher, a meeting with my parents and guidance counselor, and a very conservative Catholic School. Although this book is rated for seventh graders and up, (so, maybe don’t give it to your 10-year-old for a school book report), I like to think that I turned out all right. That being said, it is an easy-to-read nonfiction book that I was able to understand and enjoy at a younger age.
Salem, Massachusetts, 1692. In a plain meetinghouse a woman stands before her judges. The accusers, girls and young women, are fervent and overexcited. The accused is a poor, unpopular woman who had her first child before she was married. As the trial proceeds the girls begin to wail, tear their clothing, and scream that the woman is hurting them. Some of them expose wounds to the horrified onlookers, holding out the pins that have stabbed them -- pins that appeared as if by magic. Are they acting or are they really tormented by an unseen evil? Whatever the cause, the nightmare has begun: The witch trials will eventually claim twenty-five lives, shatter the community, and forever shape the American social conscience.
While there is no denying the hype that surrounded THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, TWILIGHT, VAMPIRE ACADEMY, HOUSE OF NIGHT and the Sookie Stackhouse series (also known by its TV show name True Blood), it was Night World that really got me into reading and loving supernatural YA fiction. I owe a lot of my current taste in books to this series right here.
The first book in L.J. Smith’s beloved Night World series is now available as a special collector’s edition!
The pain was something Poppy couldn’t ignore. The diagnosis was death. There was no hope—until James appeared in the darkened hospital room.
James, her best friend and secret love, the most handsome boy in El Camino High. But this was a James she didn’t know, menacing yet irresistible as he offered Poppy the gift of eternal life.
Only he could open the door to the Night World, and spirit her into its lonely, secret universe.
One dizzying kiss and she can see into his soul. She finds that he has always loved her. They’re soul mates—but can she follow him into death and beyond? It’s a desperate choice, and Poppy’s time is running out...
This is the book that really got me reading adult fiction. My dad gave me a copy of ANGELS & DEMONS and THE DA VINCI CODE to read and I devoured them both. Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon book series introduced me to a more complex world of thrillers and might have had me analyzing every painting I’d ever seen in hopes of stumbling upon my own conspiracy to solve.
Personally, I don’t think a list of books that got me interested in reading would be complete without a classic. Sure, this book may have started out as a required reading assignment in my freshman year of high school, but after that, A TALE OF TWO CITIES encouraged me to seek out more historical fiction. This book was also a challenge and taught me how to articulate my impressions of thought-provoking literature in a constructive way.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” —Sydney Carton