I used to hate history. I realize in hindsight that I never experienced anyone who told the story of history well. H.W. Brands does that better than most. T.R: The Last Romantic, his biography about Teddy Roosevelt, is one of my favorite books by far. If you want to learn and love American history, Brands is a must read.
Rushdie is often categorized as a "magical realist." Read ten pages and try in two words to better describe his captivating style of storytelling.
The Chronicles of Narnia are still classics whether you're old or young. I read through them in their entirety for the first time when I was in my mid-twenties. I will be reading them to my kids very soon.
These two are in their own category entirely. This improv duo is widely considered to be the most prolific improvisational duo on the planet. No joke. You can see a show for ten dollars downtown Chicago at iO if you're willing to book your visit about three weeks in advance and don't mind going to a show that starts at 10:30PM. Their style builds an hour long play out of nothing. It's the most mesmerizing live show of any sort that I've ever witnessed.
Hardy is an English novelist writes some heartbreaking tales about some heartbreaking people. The Return of the Native is one of the few books that I have ever read more than twice. To clarify, this is not the Oscar nominated actor from The Revenant, though he is pretty good too.
I've never read a book faster than I read The Shining. I think in a very sound theological way, Stephen King understands evil better than many Christians. There is a lot to learn there, though he'll keep you up at night. Reader beware.
I've never laughed out loud reading a book before. I've found books funny. I've even smirked. I sat in an office and cried laughing reading A Walk in the Woods. He could tell a story about the history of a fuse box and make it interesting. I know because he has (See At Home: A short history of private life, by Bill Bryson).
Yes, I know, The Catcher in the Rye guy. But you can keep that in your high school english classes for all I'm concerned. His short stories are fantastic. Pick up Nine Stories and you won't regret it.
The first time I ever saw the play Our Town, I saw it because David Schwimmer was going to be playing the role of George Gibbs. I still cry every time I read or watch it.