Her Campus at the University of Pittsburgh: The Books That Made Us Readers

Every reader has that one novel that they hail to as their Holy Grail of why they started reading.  I asked a few friends this week about what books got them hooked as a reader.  The responses varied from children’s literature to more mature works, but these are books great for all ages to fall in love with whether reading for the first time or reading all over again. Here’s what they had to say:

“Arc Two of the Warriors series: Moonrise (the second book in the arc).  I loved it because it was about my favorite animal (cats); it showed community, leadership and all facets of love (friend, family, relationship). It also gave me a world outside the one I was in that was truly amazing. It distracted me from the hardships I was facing in that outside world.” – Grace          

Chronicles of Narnia — specifically The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!  I got hooked in third grade and never looked back.” – Kelly

Little Women.  No one thought I could read such a big book in third grade because I was a girl.” – Anna

“I read a ton as a kid, but stopped when I got to high school because I thought I was too busy. Junior year I read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, and I fell back in love with reading.  It was so thought provoking, and I loved the stream of consciousness sections; they allowed me to thoroughly understand and experience the emotions of the protagonist.  It’s a sort-of prequel to Jane Eyre I would highly recommend it to anybody!” – Sierra

The Merchant of Death in the Pendragon series.  It introduced me to a genre that didn’t appeal to me at first in sci-fi.” – Ryan

Junie B. Jones! I absolutely LOVED this series when I was a kid.  I simply couldn't wait to find out what crazy stunt Junie would pull next, so I read the series like crazy to keep up with the character! I quickly moved onto other similar children series. My favorite thing was honestly the number of books, I never got bored because I always had a new one to read!”– Katherine

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! So freaking good.” – Monica

“I read anything and everything as a kid but what really got me back into reading in high school was The Book Thief. I’ve reread it like 5 times, and I love it more with every read. It’s beautifully written, compelling and unique. Not to mention the main character has her own insatiable need to read and write, so it really pushes me to do the same.” – Kate

“I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. The first book I really remember reading that wasn’t for school was probably Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I read that one and the other three that were out. I started going to the midnight magic release parties and everything! I loved (and still do, actually) those type of fantasy novels like Eragon, the Charlie Bone books and the Septimus Heap books.” – Mariah

Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides — it got me back into reading fiction in high school. It's magical-realism plus American history plus immigrant family history, and it changed how I believed fiction could sound like. I went on a writing spree after I finished it.” – Caroline

“I was never taught to read in kindergarten due to a misunderstanding, so I struggled with reading until around fifth grade.  Still, my mom and dad would always read me the American Girl books or Little House on the Prairie.  Felicity’s series was the first books that really caught my attention; they motivated me to learn how to read on my own.  I’ve been hooked on reading since.” – Katie

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