Recommend books to non/new readers

Friday, December 3, 2010

I know a couple of people who don't read for fun or for leisure. I'm sure you do too. However, there are always instances when they would suddenly ask to recommend them books to read. Before, I would be at a loss, letting my brain think too much about it. I would try to think of the kind of genre, topic, issue, story, character, etc that they might enjoy, and after a couple of hits and misses, I think I've come up with my "go-to list of book recommendations for non or new readers." I have also come to find that usually, non or new readers' concerns are, but not limited to, these simple things: 1) how entertaining the story is, 2) how long it will take them to finish it, 3) the pace, 4) ease, 5) and how boring or interesting it is. Well, so far, these are the books that I noticed have never failed; books that I find myself always recommending to others and the books that I find others seem to always end up liking.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- If you have been a reader of my blog for a while now, then this one won't be a surprise to you at all. I always, always recommend this YA novel, for the simple reason that it's good. It's something different, and something unique. It's beautiful, sweet, old-fashioned yet painfully heartbreaking at the same time, if that makes any sense at all.

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks - Again, with the whole "beautiful, sweet, old-fashioned yet painfully heartbreaking." I love this book! It is such a simply written story of young, yet real and genuine love.

The Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella- This series is the girliest series out there, in my opinion. So if you like that, and if you like fun, light, and entertaining books, then this one's for you. It's cute, and just so funny. It's a fast-paced and easy to read "beach read." Just imagine basking under the sun.. or something.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - This is probably one of my favorite books this 2010! It is fast-paced, well-written, and wonderfully told. I think it'd be a great Christmas gift as well. It's just good!

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown- Yeah, I hate The Lost Symbol by the same author, but I actually thought Angels and Demons was good. I mean sure, it is a crazy, out-there, impossible story, but it sure is entertaining! It's adventurous, exciting, and... yes, crazy, out there, and impossible. Maybe that's what I liked about it so much. So far, 3 of my friends liked this too after I recommended this to them.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - Uh, need I say more?


What are some of the books that you always, somehow, end up recommending?


  1. I sometimes recommand Georgia Nicolson's diary for girls, it's really funny.And HP of course.

  2. I get nervous recommending to non-readers. I fear I will put them off reading.

    I tend to go for a subject they are interested in and find something light in that category.

    enjoy ur weekend!


  3. I always recommend my favourite author, Virginia Andrews... Preferably to start with either the Casteel or Dollanganger series (

    I love the intricate and detailed family drama, because there is always some small element of the story that the reader can personally relate to in their family situation, but there's also controversy and mystery to keep you wanting to read more, and for a new/non reader, the desire to finish these stories is a good way to ignite a passion for reading.

  4. Cool list and bravo on the super cool photo!

  5. Great topic! My go-to for male non-readers is anything by Jonathan Tropper, especially This Is Where I Leave You. It definitely meets all of the criteria you spelled out - and which I agree with.

  6. Awesome photo & list! I'm having a similar issue with recommending a book for my grandma, who doesn't usually read beyond Danielle Steel. Hmm...

  7. Touloulou - I have never heard of that book before! I should go check that out.. :)

    Dizzy C - No, I know what you mean. I am scared as well to recommend books only for it to turn out as a bad book for them! I have had experiences like that, but fortunately, most of the time, it turns out good. It also definitely depends on who the person is; a friend, a parent, a guy, a girl.. so many things to consider!

    Anonymous - I have not heard of those books, but the description you just put makes it seem like they really are great stories. I might have to check that one out too, thank you for the suggestion!

    Juju - thank you!

    Greg - I guess I forgot to add in this post that it really depends on who the person is at the end of the day. I feel like there are so many things to consider! Like you said, this list that I created might not even fit for parents, for male readers, etc. Great suggestion though! If a guy friend asks for a rec, I might recommend that one!

    Teacher/Learner - Hmm.. I have a similar issue with my mom. She likes any genre, but is very picky when it comes to the pace of the book, as she is a busy working woman. She used to read a lot of Danielle Steel's novels, but got tired of it. She started reading mystery novels. Maybe she would like to try that? Hehe.

  8. It's a british book, so I can guess that's why it's less famous in the US. But it's hilarious!

  9. The Sky is everywhere, Matched, PS i love you,vampire academy series oh and Thirteen reasons why!

  10. It's particular always to the individual, but one that has worked with several male non-readers is High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, especially if they're into music at all.

  11. Touloulou- I love the Georgia Nicolson books too. They are like a teenage version of Bridget Jones and never fail to make me laugh.

    Jillian - I love your list! I've read everything on it except Before I Fall. I've recommended The Book Thief to everyone I know and a few of the others as well. It's hard to find books for nonreaders. When they ask for suggestions I always try to find the one book that I think will turn them into a reader.

  12. Thank you for your list! Avid Reader is my very own sister, and she is wonderful at recommending the perfect book- especially to me... the self-proclaimed "non-reader". (I'll tell you, I am intimidated by avid readers, and hesitated leaving a comment on such a blog! I'm very grateful that no one can see me through the screen!) :)
    If you are someone who cannot comprehend befriending a person who would have the gall to say, "Oh, that movie came from a BOOK?!?" ;) (me.) Then on behalf of the ADD, non-reader population, I thank you for taking the time to recommend books to us, knowing full well that your favorite books may never reach our bedside.
    My only suggestion: Believe us when we say that we want to read. Your well thought out recommendation may not turn us into readers, but being the recipient of your heartfelt passion for books and for us may just win us over though! (at least for me!)

    Until then, you may catch me at the video store trying to remember what Avid Reader told me was a "really great book"... ;)