Written by Toni Salcedo
#1. The “Harry Potter Series” by JK Rowling
JK Rowling’s masterpiece was a series that influenced most of my teen years, especially my love for books. Growing up with the three main characters, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, helped me understand that life is not all about magic and fairytales. As a person, we’ll encounter problems that may seem too big for us to fix, wanting us to crawl back into our beds and sleep the pain away. I first read the book back when I was in 5th grade, a time when family problems started popping out of nowhere – at least, that was how I saw it. By understanding Harry’s situation with his deceased parents and constant dates with the enemy, I was able to face my problems in my own home as a stronger and inspired person. Even now, as an adult, with all the books I have read so far, nothing has come at par with this series. This is still the best book bundle that I have ever read.
#2. “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
The LOTR trio was the first historical fantasy book that I finished. These three books were by far the most difficult for me to understand, especially when I first read them as a sixth grader. I had to reread the Fellowship of the Ring, and after the second time, I fell in love with it. This trilogy is the reason why I love reading books like “A Song of Fire and Ice (A Game of Thrones),” and is also why other books seem so much easier to understand.
#3. “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher
This contemporary Young Adult page-turner focuses on death through suicide, its causes, and its effect on the people left behind. Finishing the book left me completely brokenhearted and confused with how I’ve lived life towards other people. One of the characters in the book, Hannah Baker, committed suicide but mailed a cassette tape addressed to 13 people she claimed were the reasons why she killed herself. Some of the recipients of the tape were her bullies. This got me thinking how my words and actions may have affected people’s day-to-day living. Did I make them feel bad about themselves? I remembered when I picked fights with schoolmates because I felt like hating them for no good reason. I realize now what I should have done and how I should have tried to be a good friend.
#4. “The Rainmaker” by John Grisham
Given by my father after I graduated from high school, this was my very first mystery thriller. I used to think the genre was boring and creepy, especially the ones with a psycho killer antagonist. However, reading the book inspired me so much that I became dead set on becoming a lawyer just like the book’s leading figure. Although my lawyer dream did not happen, I still think that I can be one someday when I decide to be more than an engineer.
#5. “The Shack” by William P. Young
This book is about a man and his faith in God’s love for him. It did not focus on forcing the reader to believe in God. Rather, it helped the reader believe in himself and, consequently, in God’s love for him. The man in the story hated God for letting his daughter die in the hands of a serial killer, but with God’s divine intervention, the man was able to go back to the scene of the crime where he met the Holy Trinity. ‘Papa God’, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit showed him that they did not, not even for a second, leave his daughter, or anyone of us for that matter, to suffer. They helped the man accept his daughter’s fate, and forgive himself for leaving his daughter and not saving her from the killer. “The Shack”, though a fictional book, helped solidify my love and belief in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and Their love for every one of us by showing how all of God’s plans will eventually lead us to Him and not towards harm.
How about you? What are your top 5 fiction novels?