10 Books that Changed my Life

I still remember the moment I discovered the magic of reading. It was my junior year of high school. Up until that point, I wasn’t the biggest fan of reading anything outside of the statistics from the Madden game I just played. I took pride in not reading. I thought it was a waste of time. I can recall older people saying, “Well maybe you just haven’t found the genre of books you like.” I adamantly assured them that that wasn’t the case. Any personal reading I had done over the years was sporadic at best. All of that changed when Dan Brown released his magnum opus, The Da Vinci Code. I heard so many glowing reviews from teachers, classmates, and random strangers that my curiosity got the best of me. I needed to read it. I had to find out for myself what all of the fuss was about. My sister (being an avid reader since as far back as I could remember) let me borrow her copy of it.

Initially, I was apprehensive to even touch it. I approached the book with caution as if it were some toxic hazardous material that required a hazmat suit. But eventually I pried the book open and began the process that would change my life forever. The story started off a little slow, I had trouble following along with the plot. I found myself rereading paragraphs because my mind was easily distracted. And then it happened. I found myself completely engulfed by the story. I spent hours reading that book. I read a couple pages in the morning while getting ready for the day. I brought it to class with me. I read after school.  Any given moment that I had was dedicated to reading it. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I can’t believe reading could be this fun.” It was a bittersweet moment when I finished the book. I was both invigorated by reading it but also sad that it was done. I felt like an addict that needed another fix.

The Da Vinci Code, single handedly changed my perception of reading. It transformed me into a book worm. It introduced to me that beauty of being lost in a good book. Over the years, my reading preferences evolved from fiction to non-fiction. Rather than reading for entertainment, I’ve become focused more so on the knowledge I can retrieve from the source. Nonetheless, reading is an incredibly important part of my existence.

Many people on multiple occasions have asked me for book recommendations. Usually, I give them the same three. Only problem is then after the fact, I remember all of these other books I could have suggested for them. So I’ve decided to assemble a list below of books that I’ve read that have been influential in my development as a person. Each a picture has a link to amazon if you’re interested in getting a copy for your own personal collection.

If you put a gun to my head and told me that I had to choose one book and one book only, I would choose this every time. It’s one of the rare books that I actually went back and read again. For folks wanted to develop their social justice lens this book is highly recommended.

I use to go to Barnes and Noble and read books for free. I treated that place like my own personal library. This book in particular was so good that I read it in about 2 days. It’s an inspiring story that will motivate you to follow your dreams.

As cliche as it sounds, it doesn’t make it any less true, but this book is ten times better than the movie. Hands down.

This was my entry point of exploring alternative concepts to spirituality. It all started with my girlfriend at the time dumping me and I was heartbroken. I found this book on my mom’s nightstand. In my gloomy state, I decided to pick it up and boom. My mind was opened to a whole new way of viewing God and spirituality.

Solid analysis of the African presence in the Americas far before Columbus arrived in the Caribbean. Dr. Van Sertima is a great scholar.

This is another great book, written by Dr. John Henrik Clarke. It’s a short read but filled with a lot of content. Definitely a lot of gems on each page.

This book gave me more context to the Filipino American experience in the U.S. It’s a griping and poetic narrative that transported me to the 1930’s when Filipino immigration to America started really picking up.

It’s a good story with some of the most beautifully crafted sentences I’ve read.

This was another book I read at Barnes and Noble. It was a fun read all the way through.

This was probably one of the funnest books I’ve read ever. It’s a different take on the story of Jesus. I actually laughed out loud multiple times.

What were the books that had a huge impact on your life?

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