I used to hate reading as a kid. Densely-binded pages of endless words just bored me to death. I remember when I was in elementary school, I would totally guess or 'phone a friend' during my AR(accelerated reading) quizzes. (Ironic how I ended up in an accelerated reading class in the first place). As I got older, my methods of 'reading a book' became heavily reliant on using the internet - SparkNotes, Quizlet, Wikipedia... you name it. But of course, everything but reading the damn book. It wasn't until 8th grade that I really understood and found all the joys of immersing myself into a book. And ever since then, I haven't stopped reading these damn books.
1. Rick Riordan - "The Percy Jackson" Series
"Percy Jackson and The Olympians" was probably the first book series I actually read and truly fell in love with. As a 12-year-old kid, I was so fascinated with Greek mythology and fantasy novels in general. Riordan was incredible at writing in a way that painted a vivid picture and sparked a sense of actually being and living through the characters in the novel. It was the first time I ever felt inspired to write my own fictional stories.
2. Paulo Coelho - "The Alchemist"
By far, the BEST novel I've read about finding your self and your purpose in life. It's not your typical book about 'mind over matter' or 'finding your true purpose in life'. Rather, this book inspires you to explore the inner workings of your mind and soul and enables you to use your own creativity to find your purpose and passions in life. Go out and fulfill your personal legend!
3. Margaret Atwood - "The Handmaid's Tale"
Margaret Atwood is brilliant at writing dystopian drama novels that highlight key societal issues that are prevalent today. In "The Handmaid's Tale," Atwood draws upon issues of women's rights, religion, and moral and ethical societal standards. She has inspired me to view hard-news and journalistic-based writing in a different light—a journalist can only go so far in their career if they can't empathize and relate to others' struggles and strife.
4. George R. R. Martin - "A Song of Ice and Fire" Series
I LOVE GAME OF THRONES (the TV show)!! So naturally, I had to read the books. Reading this book series was a hefty challenge, but one I was so ready to take on. Martin wrote this series so tastefully with such love and care - all the character developments, complex plot twists, heartaches, and tear-jerking moments lead to the creation of one of the best-written book series this world has seen, thus far.
5. Rupi Kaur - "Milk and Honey"
I never thought that poetry would have such an impact on me. Rupi Kaur came around and changed that. Of course, Shakespeare was the OG poet of all time, but I couldn't relate to his work. Kaur is an Indian-American poet who writes about all the highs and lows of her upbringing in America, culture, and family. I found myself in her words and could relate to her poetry. Soon after finishing "Milk and Honey", I picked up writing poetry for fun - it was a nice change of pace from writing stories or blog posts.