A lot of people seem to think that people don’t read books anymore - and that is just straight up wrong. As someone who’s loved reading since a young age, I can safely say that books aren’t going anywhere. In fact, recently the book community has been flourishing thanks to diverse books and online content creators. If you haven’t picked up a book since high school or if you’re looking for a new book to rock your world, I came up with a list of a few books that changed my life. I tried to keep these fresh (thus you will not see Harry Potter on this list) so hopefully you can find something different!
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Of all the cliche books/series to talk about, this one is pretty well known. However, I put it on this list because it did make me super excited to get back into reading. Almost five years ago now I picked up this book on a whim because the film was being released and the trailers wowed me. (The movie is somewhat garbage, but the books are still great!) Even though this isn’t my favorite book in the Shadowhunter world, it changed my life because it got me excited about books. The writing is humorous and mind-blowing and as the books go on, there is increasingly more diversity. This fantasy book did so much for me, and I will never be able to thanks Cassandra Clare enough.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Before this book, I had never read an audiobook before. Jenny reads the book herself, and when I listened to it, it really sparked something in me. Not only is it one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, but it gave me hope and made me interested in audiobooks. This book focuses on mental health in a way that’s honest and real, while also acknowledging that mental illness can be funny sometimes. It’s still one of the best audiobooks & non-fiction books I’ve read, and it changed my life because it made me want to broaden my reading tastes. Since then I’ve listened to countless books on tape (on iPhone?) and I could not be more grateful to Jenny for introducing me to that medium.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
I talk about this book a lot, but it changed my life a lot because it represents me so well. Before I read this, I thought I was being represented well in media because I’m a (seemingly) straight white girl who’s introverted. However, this book focuses on a heteroromantic asexual main character who makes YouTube videos...and after reading it, I truly felt like I was seen. It changed my life because it showed me how important true representation is. While I do want more asexual stories to be told, I also know that I want everyone - race, sexuality, class, etc. - to understand what it’s like to be represented well in media.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
Manda is one of my online friends, and so one of the main reasons I picked this up was to support her and her passion. Previously, I had never read any poetry books outside of my english classes. This book changed my life because it not only got me interested in contemporary poetry, but it encouraged me to write my own poetry. Even since I read this book, I really wanted to write poetry in a way I hadn’t before. I’ve written poetry in the past, but I never knew it was something I could turn into a collection or a real way to express myself. More than that, this book showed me that poetry can be accessible and easy to read compared to the traditional poetry I studied in school.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
To top off our list, THUG changed my life because it showed me what it’s like to be a person of color (specifically African-American) in the USA today. This book has been at the top of the NYT Bestseller List for months, and it’s important to a lot of people. For me, it forced me to open my eyes and see the world from a different perspective even though that perspective was uncomfortable. I’m as white as they come, so getting to read about the life of a black woman really changed how I see the world. It’s such a powerful and important book, and it probably changed my life the most out of all of these. It’s also the book I recommend the most, so if you don’t read any of these other books, please check out this one!