Books that remind me why I love reading

I didn’t grow up as a reader, no matter how many times I say otherwise.

I grew up surrounded by books. I had two huge bookshelves in my bedroom packed full of children’s books and middle grade novels, but I was a fake.

I would run to Scholastic book fairs trying to collect all the Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody, and Disney fairy tale books. I own every single book and I never finished a single one, but I’ll swear I did.

I bought every Harry Potter book as they came out, but I didn’t read them all until I was a freshman in high school.

In reality, I didn’t really start reading anything until high school.

I grew up writing — funny isn’t it?

The girl who never read could write a book in a month.

I wrote countless books and short stories growing up. I would have up to ten going at a time and I finished every single one. I would post them online. People would read and say how badly they needed more, so I just kept writing.

But eventually, I stopped.

I grew up.

I was more interested in friends and going to the movies.

In high school I established a friend group with a lot of smart people. Frankly, my whole graduating class was insanely intelligent.

To put it in perspective, I graduated in a class of 157. When I graduated I was ranked 53rd in my class with a 98.8/100 GPA. Now what’s that tell you about the brainiacs I grew up with?

So naturally, the friend group I found myself in were massive readers. They all read Harry Potter growing up and were currently obsessed with the new Percy Jackson series. Some of them had a passion for the Bronte sisters and others were dedicated to F. Scott Fitzgerald or J.M. Barrie.

I felt intimidated to say the least.

I wanted to fit in and understand all their references, so I started to read.

And to my surprise, I loved it.

I lost track of how many books I read during my four years of high school, but it must have been over a hundred.

As soon as I put down one book another magically appeared in my hand.

I was no longer the poser who fudged her way through a conversation about Pride and Prejudice or Anna Karenina, barely saying anything.

I started to become the person to start the debates!

There it is.

I found my love through reading while trying to fit in.

Now that I am long since out of high school and reading for fun isn’t seen as cool or social, I think I have actually become more dedicated.

I started keeping track of what books I read and what my thoughts on them were.

I try to read at lest 50 books a year. That’s roughly one a week.

I tell myself it’s not, but deep down I think I set myself this goal to make up for all the books I missed growing up.

I read far more books than anyone I know, but I’m okay with that.

Books opened up a whole new world to me and I am forever grateful for that.

They take me places I’ll never get to travel to and let me experience a thousand lives all far different from my own.

So here it is.

When I get in a rut and wonder why I bother reading, these are some of the books I always turn back to.

They aren’t the best books ever created, and some of them I probably didn’t even like that much.

But they kept me reading.

Listed in alphabetical order by author

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Lexicon by Max Barry

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Do what you want with the list. Jot down a few books you’d like to read or tell me off for my reading tastes — I don’t care.

These are just the books that kept me going when reading seemed like such a waste of time.

Much Love,

Elly xx


I’m Elly Pursel, university student, writer and filmmaker.

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