When someone wants to begin learning about Islam, I recommend them to start with the Quran and a biography of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). And if they can, try to visit their local mosque. Some resources to consider:
[Book] Quran - Abdel Haleem, Quran in book form, this one is written in extremely clear modern English that makes it easy and pleasurable to read.
[Web] English Tafsir -Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, English commentary of each chapter of the Quran in clear English. Extra link
[Book] The Message of the Qur'an - Muhammad Asad, if you're looking for the Quran in book form, this has helpful commentary to provide a thorough understanding.
[Book] In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad - Tariq Ramadan, presents the main events of the Prophet's life in a way that highlights his spiritual and ethical teachings.
[Book] Muhammad Man and Prophet - Adil Salahi, a Complete Study of the Life of the Prophet, from birth in the Arabian desert to the triumph of Islam and its gaining a permanent hold on Arabia.
[Video] How the Bible Led Me to Islam - Joshua Evans, former Christian youth minister conveys his journey to Islam.
Check what you like from this List
Here are some resources that you can consider:
[Web] Quran - The Noble Quran in various translations.
[Book] Quran - Abdel Harlem, Quran in book form, this one is written in extremely clear modern English that makes it easy and pleasurable to read.
[Web] English Tafsir -Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, free English commentary of each chapter of the Quran in clear English. Extra link
[Book] The Message of the Qur'an - Muhammad Asad, if you're looking for the Quran in book form, this has helpful commentary to provide a thorough understanding. (Has a few mistakes).
[Audio] Bayyinah Quran Commentary Podcast -Nouman Ali Khan, highly recommended audio commentary of the last 37 chapters of the Quran. Entire Quran commentary with BayyinahTV purchase.
_________________LIFE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD________________
[Book] Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources - Martin Lings, very detailed and thorough biography based on the earliest sources. Recommended by many, (but relies on a few unauthentic sources).
[Video] Biography of Muhammad (pbuh) Video Series - Yasir Qadhi, detailed, very lengthy biography video series. Condensed video series here, Mufti Menk
[Audio] The Life of the Prophet Muhammad - Hamza Yusuf, brilliant narration that was originally presented in a twelve week course based on the above book by Martin Lings.
[Book] Muhammad (Critical Lives) - Yahiya Emerick, a simple concise, informative biography.
[Web] The Sealed Nectar - Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Popular and accurate account of the life of Muhammad (pbuh). Alternative link.
_____________________________ATHEISM AND ISLAM_____________________________
[Video] The Purpose of Life - Jeffrey Lang explains how he came to Islam after being an Atheist.
[Book] The Divine Reality: God, Islam & The Mirage Of Atheism - Hamza Tzortzis, Islamic arguments for God's existence, oneness and worship, while thoroughly addressing popular and academic objections.
[Book] Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America - Jeffery Lang, a former atheist takes the reader along the path by discussing conflicts between faith and reason.
[Book] Struggling To Surrender : Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam - Former atheist, Jeffery Lang, gives a personal account of his search for God when he found out that his inherited religious beliefs could no longer answer his questions.
[Video] From Strong Atheist To Islam - Tim, a former atheist used to debate religious people and tried to convince them that there is no God, until he met a Muslim.
[Video] Does God Exist? - Ali Ataie discusses the trend of Atheism and some arguments for Theism.
(Oxford World’s Classics)
(The Clear Quran - English Only Translation: A Thematic English Translation of the Message of the final revelation https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0747XY67R/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_wywzCbFRN3C98)
No translation is perfect, and they generally have their pros and cons. Whatever translation you choose, if you start reading and a particular verse stands out to you for one reason or another, you can always jump online and compare with different translations (http://quran.com has at least 10 translations available, including Saheeh International, Muhsin Khan, and Yusuf Ali, which were mentioned in other replies to you).
I mainly use the Abdel Haleem (Oxford World's Classics) translation, which you can pick up in print for about $7 US if you live in the US. It also has a great introduction which contextualizes the Qur'an, briefly summarizes the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family), and gives a short history of past English translations of the Qur'an. To the best of my knowledge, this is the standard English translation used in Western academia these days (it's also available on http://quran.com).
What is a reliable translation in many of yours opinion? This is the one that I refer to usually https://www.amazon.com/Quran-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199535957/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1550139302&sr=8-1&keywords=oxford+quran
I'd start by reading the Qur'an. I recommend this one:
Some phrases and concepts/words do not exist in English and they would be difficult to translate. For example, the phrase "alif lam mim" is uniquely part of the Quran and Arabic. There is no translation for this in any other langue in the world. So to remedy this problem, I would recommend reading narrations instead of the word for word translation. You can try this book:
This book gives the translation and fills in the contextual gaps between the languages as well as the time period.
Oh, my bad, I thought you were making an obvious joke.
What's literally true, is that "radical Islam" is the exact same thing as "moderate Islam".
Take it from the actual source.
Totally feel you on the mistrust of religion, I'm not spiritual tho ive jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon.
I'm reading this right now, the introduction is super interesting, you should totally get this. The Quran is all about reaffirming what happened before with all the prophets n shizz. Jews and Christians are called 'people of the book' as they came before and the quaran is all about them.
Edit: I should note I'm only 7 pages in
What you're looking for is a clear English translation or a (tafsir) commentary of the Quran. Check the following sources:
[Book] Quran - Abdel Haleem, if you're looking for the Quran in book form, this one is written in extremely clear modern English that makes it easy and pleasurable to read.
[Web] English Tafsir -Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, Online English commentary of each chapter of the Quran in clear English.
[Web] Quran - The Noble Quran in various translations conveniently Online.
[Book] The Message of the Qur'an - Muhammad Asad, another Quran in book form. This also has helpful commentary to provide a more thorough understanding of each chapter. (Has commentary and translation)
[Web] Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Ibn Kathir, classic commentary written by 14th-century scholar. (Might be archaic but still a good backup online resource)
If you are someone who is searching for the Truth, then you should sincerely ask God to guide you to the straight path. (First chapter of the Quran has this kind of prayer).
Warning: Nerdery incoming. Religious studies is my minor, so prepare for a lecture. =P
You really ought to read the whole thing -- I'm biased there, not because of my religious views (I'm an atheist) but because it's one of the world's great religious texts and not enough Westerners expose themselves to other cultures. The whole thing is freely available in English on this website (superior poetic format) or Abdel-Haleem's translation (arguably the best prose form out there).
The best suras to read if you just want to borrow some apocalyptic imagery are probably suras 69, 70, 81, 82, 84, 85, 88, and 101 (don't worry, all of those are really short, some are less than a page). While reading, bear in mind that the Qur'an was inspired by and responded to Christian and Jewish ideas about the end of the world, too. It's fun to spot the changes.