Excluding the Harry Potter series and A Series of Unfortunate Events... Series
  1. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
    Just a breathtaking, mind blowingly bizarre book. I named my first single (Exploration No. 5) after a HoL reference
  2. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
    Sharp as a knife, madly entertaining, raunchy but smart... It pains me to think that it only has one book
  3. One More Thing by BJ Novak @bjnovak
    Unexpected in every single way, the element of surprise in each story is always present. I've found myself chuckling and shaking my head one too many times at the closing lines. The specificity in subject matter and the sheer ABSURDITY of the premises kill me. Simply put, this book GETS me. One of my favorite anthologies
  4. Roald Dahl Omnibus
    Roald Dahl is a genius, and it sucks he doesn't get as much credit for his adult stories as he does with his children's books. I bought it at the New Zealand airport after collecting all the children's books & short compilations of his adult ones (Switch Bitch, The Umbrella Man, Henry Sugar, etc) and IT CHANGED MY LIFE.
  5. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
    At the time I read this, never had I identified with a character as much as I identified with Lee Fiora. Her thoughts, her decisions, the battles she has with herself were all very reflective of me. The story was a perfect coming-of-age book for me and I'd love to reread it someday
  6. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
    Amy writes with so much color and vibrance. Her tales of Asian culture inculcated with Western influences resonate with me very well as a Filipino. I was bawling at the end of this book. Her language is beautiful and she seems like such a wise woman (I MET HER TOO!)
  7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    I don't think I've ever highlighted a book more than I did this... which makes me regret I read half of it in ebook form. This book is BEAUTIFUL in every sense of the word. You can almost feel its heart. It is so filled with compassion and love, yet with realities of growing up like rejection and insecurity, and all the anxieties that come when approaching maturity. This book teaches me how to become not just a proper woman, but a person of the world. Reading this should be mandated by law.
  8. Emerald City by Jennifer Egan
    The stories here were all powerful and moving but one really stuck with me - the brother and sister one hit close to home. The story starts off when the brother accidentally kills their mother by running her over their car when he was playing in the seat. Painfully powerful. Jennifer Egan narrates with such shining tenderness...
  9. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
    A graphic novel with endearing, almost Zinelike illustrations. The story is about two teenaged lesbians in a super conservative campsite and it's about insecurities and self doubt and first crushes and standing up for yourself and being brave and being hurt. I read this on the plane on my way back to PH from Japan and I was crying so hard when I finished. Cannot recommend enough.
  10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
    This is the book that permanently etched The Monty Hall problem in my head. The beautiful mix of intellectual discussions supported by diagrams and the difficult quirks of a special teenager give humanity to this book.
  11. McSweeney's Issue 17 and 19
    Literary gems aside, these two issues I saw sticking out of my local bookstore were my best kept secrets as a high school student. Their formats fascinated me & I delved into them like my life depended on it. I perused through the envelopes, mail catalogues, pamphlets, ancient photographs and derived a secret history that only I understood. These two issues made me obsessed with print and its tangible aspects, eventually leading to my senior thesis & an on going love affair for print & ephemera.
  12. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
    Although there is nothing particularly remarkable about the writing, this story just really stuck with me. I can imagine everything so vividly, and even though unbelievably gruesome and horrifying, reading it (or even thinking about reading it) excites me? The characters are strong and unforgettable. The circumstances unique and intense. The premise is gripping and original. It's been a few years since I finished but I still can't stop thinking about it.
  13. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
    The first Murakami I actually finished (and it's a hefty one too). The imagery here = unforgettable. The two moons, the little people, even the names Aomame (peas?) and Tengo and Komatsu and Akebono and Sakigaki - are all memorable. I regret not writing about my feelings after having finished the book. Now I struggle to remember some parts, but all I know is this book left me enchanted, and has left me searching the skies, perhaps for another moon.