“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”

-Mortimer J. Adler

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass are available together in one volume perfect for any fan or newcomer to this modern fantasy classic series.

These thrilling adventures tell the story of Lyra and Will—two ordinary children on a perilous journey through shimmering haunted otherworlds. They will meet witches and armored bears, fallen angels and soul-eating specters. And in the end, the fate of both the living—and the dead—will rely on them.

Recommended by: Tanisha Mantilla Cordero

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore

It’s a tale of books and technology, cryptography and conspiracy, friendship and love. It begins in a mysterious San Francisco bookstore, but quickly reaches out into the wider world and the shadowed past.

Recommended by: Isabel Padilla

The Lunatic, The Lover and The Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes

Laced with quotes, references, and in-jokes, cross-dressing, bed-tricks, mistaken identity, and a bisexual love-triangle, the novel too self-consciously repurposes elements from Shakespeare’s tragedy, rendering this a colorful if incidental prologue to the tragic events at Elsinore Castle.

Recommended by: Isabel Padilla

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel for adults about a young man practicing magic in the real world. At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.

Recommended by: Tanisha Mantilla Cordero

The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee

F. C. Yee’s The Rise of Kyoshi delves into the story of Kyoshi, the Earth Kingdom–born Avatar. The longest-living Avatar in this beloved world’s history, Kyoshi established the brave and respected Kyoshi Warriors, but also founded the secretive Dai Li, which led to the corruption, decline, and fall of her own nation. The first of two novels based on Kyoshi, The Rise of Kyoshi maps her journey from a girl of humble origins to the merciless pursuer of justice who is still feared and admired centuries after she became the Avatar.

Recommended by: Tanisha Mantilla Cordero

Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino

In twelve-year-old Giacomo’s Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. Every artist possesses a Genius, a birdlike creature that is the living embodiment of an artist’s creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punishment akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he’s in serious trouble.

Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools–objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path–Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him.

Recommended by: Tanisha Mantilla Cordero

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Borrowers are introduced as story told to a child called Kate by Mrs May, whose brother had met them as a child. The Borrowers are tiny people who live underneath or behind different pieces of furniture in the house, living by “borrowing” different small items that they use for everyday furniture. The Borrowers in this story are called the Clock family – Pod, Homily and their daughter Arietty, whom they have shielded from the practicalities of borrowing. For her part Arietty would like to experience borrowing and pressures Pod to take her.

Recommended by: Gustavo Adolfo González

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

This is a story about Harry Potter, an orphan brought up by his aunt and uncle because his parents were killed when he was a baby. Harry is unloved by his uncle and aunt but everything changes when he is invited to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and he finds out he’s a wizard. At Hogwarts Harry realizes he’s special and his adventures begin when he and his new friends Ron and Hermione attempt to unravel the mystery of the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Meet Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, four siblings in World War II-era England who have been sent away to the countryside in order to avoid getting blown to smithereens during an air raid. It’s a sensible solution to an awful problem…but these kids are stuck in a large, dusty house owned by an old, fusty professor. They’re bored to tears. Some time later, all four children are forced to hide in the wardrobe to escape from the housekeeper, Mrs. Macready, and a group of sightseers touring the country house. All four children find themselves—surprise, suprise—in Narnia. Lucy takes them to visit her friend Mr. Tumnus, but they find that he’s been arrested by the White Witch’s secret police.

Recommended by Gustavo Adolfo González

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury

When it comes time for the three little wolves to go out into the world and build themselves a house, their mother warns them to beware the big bad pig. But the little wolves’ increasingly sturdy dwellings are no match for the persistent porker, who has more up his sleeve than huffing and puffing. It takes a chance encounter with a flamingo pushing a wheelbarrow full of flowers to provide a surprising and satisfying solution to the little wolves’ housing crisis.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carol

A young girl named Alice falls through a rabbit hole into a subterranean fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Recommended by: Michelle Nieves

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Anzaldua, a Chicana native of Texas, explores in prose and poetry the murky, precarious existence of those living on the frontier between cultures and languages. Writing in a lyrical mixture of Spanish and English that is her unique heritage, she meditates on the condition of Chicanos in Anglo culture, women in Hispanic culture, and lesbians in the straight world. Her essays and poems range over broad territory, moving from the plight of undocumented migrant workers to memories of her grandmother, from Aztec religion to the agony of writing. Anzaldua is a rebellious and willful talent who recognizes that life on the border, “life in the shadows,” is vital territory for both literature and civilization.

Recommended by: Gabrielle Armstrong

Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel José Older

Carlos Delacruz straddles the line between the living and the not-so alive. As an agent for the Council of the Dead, he eliminates New York’s ghostlier problems. This time it’s a string of gruesome paranormal accidents in Brooklyn’s Von King Park that has already taken the lives of several locals—and is bound to take more.  The incidents in the park have put Kia on edge. When she first met Carlos, he was the weird guy who came to Baba Eddie’s botánica, where she worked. But the closer they’ve gotten, the more she’s seeing the world from Carlos’s point of view. In fact, she’s starting to see ghosts. And the situation is far more sinister than that—because whatever is bringing out the dead, it’s only just getting started.

Recommended by: Michelle Nieves

More Than Happy by Adam Silvera

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He’s slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it’s his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future.

As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is?

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Sierra discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

Recommended by: Michelle Nieves

The Youngest Doll by Rosario Ferré

The story deals with elements of the fantasy genre, magical realism and tendencies of feminism that are very characteristic in the writer’s essays. She the voice of the speaker in this story presents us with a woman condemned to isolation from society for having lost her beauty.

Recommended by: Tanisha Mantilla Cordero

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz

Ordinary Girls is a fierce, beautiful, and unflinching memoir from a wildly talented debut author. While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Jaquira Díaz found herself caught between extremes: as her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was surrounded by the love of her friends; as she longed for a family and home, she found instead a life upended by violence. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz triumphantly maps a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.

Recommended by: Gabrielle Armstrong

Little Things Are Big by Jesús Colón

Jesús Colón (1901-1974) was a Puerto Rican writer of African descent who moved to Brooklyn, New York, at age 16. Colón wrote about his experiences as an immigrant and discussed how racism influences American culture. In the short story, Colón recalls one such experience on a subway car during the 1950s.

Recommended by: Gabrielle Armstrong

Obatalá’s Bugalú: A Nuyorican Book of Sights and Sounds by Jaime Humberto Flores

By using poetry to “create change with living words,” Flores shows readers that the Nuyorican aesthetic is alive and kicking among today’s Puerto Rican writers. Flores bridges the duality of his worlds—Puerto Rican and African Diaspora—with a poetry packed with word play and musical intonations. When the beat drops, people nod their heads to Flores’ raw and visceral imagery. In these poems, we can smell the Sancocho; revel in darkly humorous Senryu; tackle the boogey man (el Cuco); and witness the trials and tribulations of a Puerto Rican in Massachusetts, Harlem, and the South.

Recommended by: Dr. Rosa Roman

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This war novel tells the complex arcs of two teenagers during World War II (WWII), one a blind girl in Nazi-occupied France, the other a German orphan boy pressed into service by the Nazi army. Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

An Artist of The Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

In the face of the misery in his homeland, the artist Masuji Ono was unwilling to devote his art solely to the celebration of physical beauty. Instead, he put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II.

Now, as the mature Ono struggles through the aftermath of that war, his memories of his youth and of the “floating world”—the nocturnal world of pleasure, entertainment, and drink—offer him both escape and redemption, even as they punish him for betraying his early promise. Indicted by society for its defeat and reviled for his past aesthetics, he relives the passage through his personal history that makes him both a hero and a coward but, above all, a human being

Recommended by: Isabel Padilla

I’m an English Major- Now What? by Tim Lemire

I’m an English Major – Now What? helps English majors and graduates understand their skills and talents so they can find satisfying jobs across a diversity of fields and dispels common fears and misconceptions that English majors will never make good money.

10 Things Employers Want You To Learn In College by Bill Coplin

A handy, straightforward guide that teaches students how to acquire marketable job skills and real-world know-how before they graduate—revised and updated for today’s economic and academic landscapes.

Recommended by: Isabel Padilla

Arguing About the Mind by Brie Gertier and Lawrence Shapiro

This book is an accessible, engaging introduction to the core questions in the philosophy of mind. This collection offers a selection of thought-provoking articles that examine a broad range of issues from the mind and body relation to animal and artificial intelligence. Topics addressed include:

  • the problem of consciousness
  • the nature of the mind
  • the relationship between the mind, body and world
  • the notion of selfhood
  • pathologies and behavioral problems
  • animal, machine and extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Recommended by: Tanisha Mantilla Cordero

Leading Every Day: 124 Actions for Effective Leadership by Joyce Kaser (Editor), Susan Loucks-Horsley, Joyce S. Kaser, Susan E. Mundry, Joyce Kaser

Effective leadership exists in everyone. The authors describe how readers can tap their greatest leadership potential to meet today’s complicated challenges. This classic leadership resource provides the information needed to build trust, spark innovation, and learn what it really takes to support a community of learners and leaders.

Recommended by: Dr. Rosa Roman

On Writing : A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Stephan believes most people have at least some talent as writers and storytellers, and that those talents can be strengthened and sharpened with practice.

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right—as right as you can, anyway—it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.”

Recommended by: Gustavo Adolfo González

The Elements of Style by Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

Initially starting as a “beware of these” grammar rule set, the book moves into a more philosophical look at the composition of words and how elusive true writing style can be, and how to build your own style following some key, structural rules.

Recommended by: Gustavo Adolfo González

The Clockwork Muse by Eviatar Zerubavel

The idea of dashing off a manuscript in a fit of manic inspiration may be romantic, but it is not particularly practical. Instead, Eviatar Zerubavel describes how to set up a writing schedule and regular work habits that will take most of the anxiety and procrastination out of long-term writing, and even make it enjoyable. The dreaded ‘writer’s block’ often turns out to be simply a need for a better grasp of the temporal organization of work.

Recommended by: Dr. Rosa Roman

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

In this exuberant book, the incomparable Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experience, and excitement of a lifetime of writing. Here are practical tips on the art of writing from a master of the craft—everything from finding original ideas to developing your own voice and style—as well as the inside story of Bradbury’s own remarkable career as a prolific author of novels, stories, poems, films, and plays.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today.

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by B.J. Fogg

The world’s leading expert on habit formation shows how you can have a happier, healthier life: by starting small.

When it comes to change, tiny is mighty. Start with two pushups a day, not a two-hour workout; or five deep breaths each morning rather than an hour of meditation. In Tiny Habits, B.J. Fogg brings his experience coaching more than 40,000 people to help you lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or achieve any goal of your choice. You just need Fogg’s behavior formula: make it easy, make it fit your life, and make it rewarding. Whenever you get in your car, take one yoga breath. Smile. Whenever you get in bed, turn off your phone. Give yourself a high five.