Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grownups Who Hate to Read

Once again, I come to you, o wise readers, to help me.

There are a lot of nonreaders out there. Some facts found online:

"1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.

42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.

80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57 percent of new books are not read to completion.

Each day in the U.S., people spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines."

Today a friend wrote at Facebook: "Last night made me think, Maybe I will read a book.... but which one? What type of books do all of you like to read?"

I am good with children who don't like to read. Who would give a thumbs down to Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus?

But what about grownups?

I need help. I need to give her a list of surefire books.

Any ideas? Any great books for a nonreader to bring her into our world?

Photo: alwayscanadian


  1. Hmm. It would help to know the person. I would try something like The Bridges of Madison County, something short, with good readability, and a lot of ties to movies or TV culture. Maybe something by Jennifer Crusie? I wouldn't start with a book on my all-time best list, because I think those benefit from a lot of tropes that people who don't read much don't have access to.

  2. Well, you don't want to scare them off, so it shouldn't be something too long and/or dense (especially since there's a good chance they're not going to finish anything you give them anyway). It also depends on what their interests are. I agree with Beth: something that ties into pop culture would probably be best. Maybe a book that was made into a popular movie?

  3. Oh, this just occurred to me: most TV/movie/video game franchises also have tie-in fiction. (Like Star Trek, which, of course, I love.) My brother actually owns an entire trilogy of books based on the Halo video games (I kid you not). So if you can find out what their favorite TV show, movie series, etc is, there's a good chance there are books based on it.

  4. As I'm reading Agatha Christie of late, I'd recommend Agatha Christie. They're quick and they're fun, for the most part and they will get the person stuck on mysteries for life. At least, they did me.

    Also you've won an award from me, which you can pick up here:

  5. The Hunger Games is a fast exciting read. That might be a good book to get started on.

  6. Excellent ideas, o ye wonderful readers.

    Ah, an award! Happy day!

  7. I think it really depends on her personality. If she like fun, racy stories, Jackie Collins is awesome. Her books are pretty quick reads, and I find her characters surprisingly easy to connect with. Her books are all thrillers, too, so they're great for people who like crime stories.

    If she prefers more thoughtful stories, then maybe a shorter classic like J.D. Salinger's FRANNY AND ZOOEY, or a contemporary novel like THE KITE RUNNER would be better.

    And, like others have said, something that ties into an element of pop culture that she's interested in could be good. I also second the Agatha Christie recommendation.

  8. Nan, Hunger Games was my first thought too! The Number One Ladies Detective Agency is nice but maybe too slow for someone like that. Eat Pray Love was good. Sex Lives of Cannibals very funny but kind of brash.
    In the sci-fi range I really liked Old Man's War by Scalzi - I think that won a hugo or something. How about some David Sedaris, like Me Talk Pretty One Day?

  9. I'm always so reluctant to recommend books without any sense of what a person reads. Usually I am pretty decent if they can give me something to base recommendations on though.

  10. Everyone's already given so many great choices. A male coworker of mine asked me earlier in the year for recommendations. He's just finished his first book of the year and really liked it.

    Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series might be good for starters. Something light and funny, if she's into that. Or perhaps something by Harlan Coben for a bit more intensity.

  11. It is always so hard recomending something to a non reader. I kind of liked Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader; it is so short it is more of a short story than a novella, it is amusing, and it is about the process of discovering the world of books later in life, but like just about every book out there it will appeal to many but not to everyone. What ever your friend reads I hope they enjoy it.

  12. I will agree with those above who recommended a mystery. Quick. down and dirty. curious. no big commitment yet a reason and a drive to finish reading the book.

    Pop stuff? egads, I confess in reviewing my reading list that I've done my fair share of chick lit this year. Therefore, I'll shoutout Bushnell's latest: One Fifth Avenue. Or any of that ilk. I love Marian Keyes as well and her books are chatty chick lit with flair - fun and sometimes funny!

  13. Depends on what she's interested in, but I would say have her go to the library or bookstore and just browse. It's so hard if she really has no idea at all.

  14. If she loves dogs, The Art of Racing in the Rain?

  15. hmm I wouldn't know what to suggest except maybe a movie tie in? I just don't understand why people just don't read I guess it depends if they have time or not. I know a lot of people who don't like to read and it's kinda sad. They're missing out on a lot.


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