I used to be a big reader. I remember when I was a kid, I would stay up late reading under the covers with a flashlight instead of going to sleep. I couldn’t wait to find out what next adventure “The Trumpet of The Swan” or “The Chronicles of Narnia” would take me on. I would retell stories from my favorite books to anyone who would listen.

Then college, jobs, and socializing happened and sadly, my reading habit dwindled down to online articles and social media posts. Recently I listened quietly while a few friends passionately discussed a book they all read. I had nothing to contribute and I realized I was missing out. I am ready to get back to reading. But where do I start?

After a very long hiatus, how do you pick a single book out of the thousands of must-reads you’ve missed in the last decade and a half?

Start with your friends. I’m grateful to my friends who not only read but have favorite books ready to share. Here’s a list of books they recommended to me for my Quest® to read more. If you’re stuck on where to start too, this list can help! 


Wool by Hugh Howey
Recommended by Liz M.
From the start, Wool is a page-turner. A society is forced to live in a giant underground silo due to dangerous environmental changes. What happens when people break the rules – or even think of breaking rules – in such a claustrophobic place? Your heart will be pounding until the last page!


Sphinx by Anne Garréta
Recommended by Kevin R.
A genderless love story – it’s really interesting because you never learn the names or genders of the main characters. You’re forced to see how much the narrative of a relationship is really about the individual and less about the assumed gender structure.


Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Recommended by Christine T.
Nine short stories that speak to the shared, bittersweet immigrant experience of Indian Americans and the love, loss and success they face when dealing with their new surroundings. Lahiri’s writing style is similar to the feeling when you finally lay down to sleep – quiet, measured relief.


“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara
Recommended by Kevin R.
This is the most intense, emotionally draining, but full-feeling book I’ve ever read. It traces the lives of four friends and reminds us of both the full presence and ephemerality of our own lives.


The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Recommended by Mark O.
We have the power to unlock our healthiest and happiest lives in the present. Whether you’re looking to explore a more mindful way of living or you’ve just experienced something life shattering, this book articulates how we view our reality. It focuses on our obsession with past and future and encourages us to live in the moment. I read this almost 2 years ago and still come back to it and recommend it to everyone I encounter.


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Recommended by Christine T.
The characters alone have been inspiring the names of babies and bands for decades. But, the Pulitzer Prize-winning story is a riveting mixture of a courtroom drama, tales of courage and a coming-of-age story in a racially-charged Southern town.


The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Recommended by Kevin R.
I love the narrative as well as the concept which is about being in the present and focused on the moment. I’m reminded how the lightness of not being too bogged down with the before or future is incredibly freeing.


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
Recommended by Kevin R.
This story intertwines two narratives: one about a comic book creator duo and the other the stories they write. Adventuresome with innovative storytelling, it’s not surprising it won a Pulitzer Prize.


On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Recommended by Stefanie S.
On the Road evoked a nearly lost love of reading for me. The essence of the novel is a longing for freedom told through the protagonist’s cross-country journey. Kerouac’s book has inspired a generation of artists and thinkers of the Beat generation.


Do you have a must-read you always suggest to friends? Share it in the comments below!