Monday, February 6, 2012

Top Ten Books I'd Hand to a Non-Reader



This week's top 10 Tuesday theme from the Broke & The Bookish is "Top 10 Books I'd Hand to Someone Who Doesn't Like to Read." I come from a family of readers, and I tend to surround myself with other readers. However, in my students, I run into non-readers frequently. And frankly, after all these years, non-readers still baffle me. I think someone becomes a reader as a child, by being read to or by having teachers and librarians place the right book in their hands at critical moments. I believe strongly that people tend to become readers when they are surrounded by others who read for pleasure, so I always try to mention my reading to others. When I recommend fiction to people who don't read many novels, I always consider:

  • What movies/TV they watch--this is key for me as since I read a lot of genres, I can help target my recommendations better. 
  • The reason I'm recommending--I'll suggest way different titles for a long plane ride versus pregnancy bed rest versus long wait in a hospital waiting room. 
  • Length of the book. I want to encourage people to read MORE fiction, so I like to choose manageable books to recommend. No 500 page tomes or lengthy description slowing things down.
  • Format available. Again, I want to encourage more reading, so I tend to recommend books that are available in E-book, paperback, hardback, used, and library versions. In other words, very accessible for a non-reader.
  • If it's on my keeper shelf. Being able to hand someone a book on the spot is powerful. 
  • If it's a series. There's a number of series starters on my list, because again, I want to trick people into reading more. 
  • If it has good audio versions. I always tell non-readers about audio books and try to recomend really, really well done series because if you hook them by ear . . . 
My Top 10 Books for Non-Readers 
  1. The Thief by Megan Whalen-Turner. I recommend this to those who loved the movies based on Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings. It's a stand-alone book that starts an addictive series. A slim, gem of a book, this is my top pick for non-readers of all ages. 
  2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I recommend this to those who loved Coraline and those who love Tim Burton's work. Perfect for non-readers of all ages, I have used this book in an academic setting to win over die-hard non-readers. 
  3. Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald--This is for all the sweet chick flick lovers. So readable, no premarital sex, beautiful love story with deeper social issues. I buy this book as gifts, and I've used in class. This tends to surprise a lot of male non-readers who find themselves swept up in the first person voice. My discussion of her books here
  4. Warrior by Zoe Archer--I have yet to recommend this series to someone who doesn't go onto read the other four books. Guys, especially ones who love the new Sherlock Holmes fast-packed smart style, love this. Fans of period pieces love the unusual setting. Indiana Jones fans adore this. And the red-hot romance has everyone happy.
  5. Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton--I give this one to Indiana Jones fans too. The heat level is a bit less than Warrior (still hot!), so I give this one out even more often. A treasure hunt, a fast pace, and a smart heroine. I'm on my fifth personal copy of it b/c I keep giving it away. 
  6. Spirit of the Mountain by Paty Jager--I recommend this to all the Western lovers who wanted Dances with Wolves to lose Kevin Costner.  My review of it here
  7. The Painted House by John Grisham--I like to recommend this deceptively complex 1930s tale to those whose last good book was Steinbeck in High School, those who like movies set in this time period, and those who aren't a good fit for my romance picks.
  8. In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming--This is my pick for all the Castle fans, all the Law & Order die hards, the Inspector Lewis fans. What makes this pick special is that the audio of it is also so excellent. I recommend this to busy non-readers who need to discover the world of audio books. I wax poetic about her series here (SPOILER WARNING)
  9. The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann. Another author with fabulous audio books for an addictive series. Fast paced with rich characters, this is natural for military fans, but also the historical subplots give this series broad appeals. 
  10. Artemis Fowl--This is my other big recommendation for non-readers who loved Harry Potter. I have the first three books in the series on almost constant loan. The audio books are perfect for a family drive. 
What books do you hand to non-readers? Do you encourage them to try audio books? E-books? What do you consider when recommending to non-readers?

12 comments:

  1. The Painted House is an interesting choice. I have that on my TBR shelf but was never really sure what to expect. It actually sounds like something I'll really like! Thanks for reminding me :)

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    1. I am not usually a Grisham fan, but this is a truly special book. It's a quick read, so give it a shot! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  2. I like that you take so many different factors into account. I think it's important that a book recommendation be personalized.

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    1. Thank you! I try to personalize my reviews too--I think it's very important to remember that not all readers are created equal :P

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  3. Intriguing list! I really struggled with this one. I haven't read most of yours, but I just read In the Bleak Midwinter and enjoyed it--thanks for the reminder to get the next book from the library!

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    1. Oh book 2 is so good. So good. And if you are short on time, most public libraries have the audio too.

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  4. Thanks for the recommend. Made me laugh! I have a fan who said she'd never read a full book in her life until my dad handed her one of my books. Now she's read everything I've had published and pushes me to get another book written.

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    1. I think there are so many closet Western fans out there who would read more if they could satisfy that deep Western vibe. Thank goodness for e-Pubs and Indie authors like you bringing us Westerns!

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  5. I've never heard of "Warrior" but it sounds awesome! And I have GOT to read "The Graveyard Book" this year, I still haven't!

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    1. Graveyard book is a single-night read. So quick. So awesome. So addictive. And you will love Warrior. You can get all four books in a great deal if you read e-Books. But she hooks you from the first chapter--download a sample--you will know very quickly if her voice works for you.

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  6. I love this concept. I like the idea of a series, since it does tend to draw non-readers (and readers) in for longer. Once someone goes through a 10-book series, they’re more likely to have gotten used to the concept of always having a book in progress, which is the end-goal, I think. So I would recommend a popular, mainstream, easy to enjoy series. Which one depends on the person. Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games are all great choices for YA fans. The Anita Blake series or the Rachel Morgan series are wonderfully fun for adults. Another thought would be to give them an author who’s consistent and has been around for a long time, like Stephen King, so that they know there’s more where that came from. Cool topic!

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    1. Fabulous suggestions! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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