I’m an avid reader. I have been since I was old enough to walk over to the bookshelf and yank out every book on the lower shelves. (Just ask my parents.)
Books have always fascinated me with their abilities to tell stories of all kinds, to transport you for even a few minutes to a whole other world. I could – and do, when I have the time – sit for hours curled up with a good book, oblivious to the world around me but for the fictional one between my hands.
I love talking with others about books. I could talk for hours about books, comparing opinions and recommending individual books or series. It’s almost like a spell, to talk about something I love so dearly: like a wave of peace coming over me.
November 1 was National Author Day. Out of curiosity, I created a survey to see what my fellow writers would name as their favorite authors. And amazingly, not a single response that I got was the same!
1. Jane Austen
“Jane Austen, because her 18th-century novels depict rebellion of society, which I relate to as I refuse to follow society and its ways.” – Female, 21
2. Rupi Kaur
“I read her poetry books when I was in a very abusive relationship. It opened my eyes that I am not who he defined me to be. I’m not an object, I’m a living human being that is a force to be reckoned with and I can take on the world!” – Female, 19
3. J.K. Rowling
“I have always been an avid reader, but when I was in fifth grade and I decided to read the Harry Potter series I was blown away. I truly was in a whole new universe when I read those books and it made me even more of a reader. That series and her writing made me appreciate the reading world so much. I guarantee if I had not read those books I wouldn’t be half of the book nerd I am today.” – female, 19
(Surprisingly, I didn’t write this. But this was my experience with Harry Potter as well, and I have so much respect for JKR and the community she gave countless amounts of people around the world.)
4. Joseph Bruchac
“Joseph Bruchac changed my life when I met him at a book reading at a Native American Museum. He read some of my poetry and told me I was doing an amazing job and to keep up with the writing. That inspired me to always make time to write.” – Female, 20
5. Stephen King
“[He] helped me become the horror fan I am today!” – Female, 19
6. Rick Riordan
“Rick Riordan, because his books started my love for reading!” – Female, 19
7. Zora Neal Hurston
“In high school, I read her novel ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ and it was the first time that I truly fell in love with a novel. Not a young adult sappy vampire novel or anything, but a real book. To this day, it’s still my favorite.” – Female, 20
8. Stephen Chbosky
“He made me believe that I deserve love and my feelings matter.” – Female, 20
9. Nicola Yoon
“Nicole Yoon has been one of my favorite authors because she has diverse characters. Each character is unique and untraditionally and I really admire that.” – Female, 19
10. Ernest Hemingway
“Because he taught me how to be myself and learn life the interesting way.” – Male, 21
11. John Green
“His books got me back into reading when I was in high school, and they taught me how to love little quirks about other people!” – Female, 19
Fun fact: I used this as my quote for my high school graduation ceremony (we all had to choose one quote or phrase we wanted to be read as we walked to get our diploma).
12. Alan Bradley
“His mystery novels never fail to put me at a peace of mind. I could re-read his books a dozen times and not got bored of the same story.” – Female, 18
13. Toni Morrison
“I think Toni Morrison changed my life immensely, especially after transferring schools. I was able to see the world from a different perspective other than my own. I was also able to see that as a black woman, I need to understand what my role is in this world and how I can make a difference for my community.” – Female, 19
And as for me? I’d say JKR and Rick Riordan – both writers of series that turned me into the massive nerdy fangirl I tend to be nowadays. Both created whole worlds within the pages of their series, something I had never truly experienced before – at least, certainly not on the level I did with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.
I’d also say John Green. “The Fault In Our Stars” is really his only seriously cheesy book. “Turtles All the Way Down” really got into what it’s like to live with anxiety and OCD in an almost visceral way, and that meant a lot to me. As someone who has lived with anxiety from a young age, to see a writer use their wide readership for something so big meant a lot.