3 Story-Driven Books that Reignited My Burning Desire to Read

“People are moved by emotion, not fact” — Barack Obama


Jordan Gross

3 years ago | 3 min read

When something feels more like a chore than a privilege, it’s time to take a step back and reflect. Especially when something you once really enjoyed has become something you dread, then you must reevaluate when and why this happened.

For me, this happened with reading.

When I was really little, I loved reading. Matt Christopher books, Goosebumps, the Little Miss and Mr. series, Captain Underpants. But as I got older and the books got more serious, I dreaded picking up a book. And even more so, when I got to college, reading a 10-page article filled with academic jargon, graphs, stats, and studies felt as scary as a clown popping out of my bedroom closet.

So, when I realized how much I hated reading, and I tried to figure out how to enjoy reading again, I asked myself a simple question: Why?

And the answer was that whatever I was reading lacked the emotional component. I was no longer reading stories with characters I believed in. There was no plot I could dive into.

So, I picked up some story-driven books and reignited my burning desire to read.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

The story:
Mitch Albom is one of the best storytellers to ever live. He writes both fiction and non-fiction, and in this true account of his rekindling of a relationship with a terminally ill college professor, Mitch details caring for somebody slowly fading away from ALS.

While Mitch is physically helping his old professor (Morrie Schwartz), Morrie is mentally training Mitch to live a happier life. In their final class together, Mitch learns what life is all about through the lens of someone so close to death’s door.

How this book will make you feel:
Whenever my mom and I finish watching a movie, we always ask each other if we “felt all the feels.” Did we laugh? Cry? Beg for more time with each character?

Tuesdays with Morrie is all about the feels. There won’t be a dry page when you’re finished with it.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The story:
Paul Kalanithi wants to teach you how to cherish your life. But instead of giving you some 5-step acronym, he gives you the true account of his last days on this earth. As Paul battles stage IV metastatic lung cancer, he fulfills his lifelong dream of becoming a writer — and he gifts us with When Breath Becomes Air in the process.

How this book will make you feel:
You will become instantly attached to Paul and his story. A doctor himself, he plays the role of both clinician and patient.

You’ll sob. You’ll be devastated. You’ll want to throw the book on the ground and never pick it back up, only to find your hand inching toward it like a magnet. It’s a read you’ll never forget, and it’s a story that will help you realize what’s most important in this world.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The story:
This book plays a unique role on the list, because it’s the first book I ever re-read. My 8th grade English teacher helped me fall in love with this book because of the character development and the unique way it teaches people about the Russian Revolution, communism, and other principles.

The book is pretty straightforward. Orwell uses anthropomorphism to create an allegory in which some animals on a farm overthrow their human leaders and then attempt to set up a society where everything is fair and equal. But some animals crave more power than others. Chaos ensues. Ultimately, the farm returns back to a state that was even worse than it was before.

How this book will make you feel:
This book gives you the opportunity to create your own opinion of right and wrong, fair and just. More than anything, this book will make you think.

And this is the exact reason why stories are so powerful. They provide us with a way of learning that’s based on our own understanding. Our own perceptions. Our own experiences.

They’re not prescriptive, authoritative, or research-driven, but rather, they’re made for interpretation. Stories never try to dictate how you should feel, but rather, they provide you with a guide to emotionally react, reflect and come to your own conclusion.

Stories give us something that other means of learning rarely can: freedom of thought.

Stories liberate our minds.

So, the next time you find yourself reluctant to pick up another data-driven, research-based book, try a novel instead. A fable, an allegory, a tall tale. Let the story suck you in, and be amazed by how it shapes your thoughts and actions going forward.


Created by

Jordan Gross

Sharing personal development through creative storytelling







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