Hi all! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I was in London for a friend’s birthday last weekend, we played mini golf, and I was actually not as terrible as I thought I was going to be (I mean I was still pretty bad, but I managed to get a couple of the holes in 2 or 3 shots so I was fairly pleased with that).
Anyway, it’s Tuesday, and so I have another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books I Would Hand To Someone Who Claims Not To Like Reading, and honestly, it’s a tricky one to do generalisations for, because the books that draw people into reading are very specific to them and the things that interest them. However, as a way of narrowing it down, I thought I’d go for some short, fast-paced, engaging and easy to read books, as I feel like length & density can often be off-putting to non-readers. These will mostly fall into the category of engaging children and teenage reluctant readers, as I found it hard to come up with adult books that I thought would engage reluctant adult readers (as I read a lot of dense, epic fantasy!) but since adults can enjoy MG and YA as well, there’s probably books that would appeal to reluctant adult readers on here too:
- The Lightning Thief-Rick Riordan
I feel like Rick Riordan’s books are perfect for reluctant readers, because the whole reason that he came up with Percy Jackson in the first place was because his son had dyslexia and ADHD and was a reluctant reader. The Percy Jackson series is super easy to read, fast paced, funny and exciting and Percy is a great character for other kids who have dyslexia and ADHD to see themselves as the hero in a story.
2. The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games obviously isn’t an easy read in terms of content, it’s very brutal, but I feel like it’s perfect to engage non-readers because it’s such a pacy book and so hard to put down. Every chapter ends on a mini-cliffhanger so you have to keep reading, I remember it being one of those books that I didn’t want to go to bed because I was so excited to see where things went. I’d definitely give this one to anyone who thought that reading was boring!
3. Heist Society-Ally Carter
This one is just really fun, it’s under 300 pages so it’s not daunting for a non-reader, and it’s not a super complicated mystery that might be off-putting to someone who doesn’t read much. It’s got great snappy dialogue, there’s plenty of action to keep you engaged, and the cast of characters are very loveable. This would definitely be a good one for someone who likes heist films but isn’t a big reader.
4. A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder-Holly Jackson
Another mystery, I feel like mystery is a good genre for non-readers to get started with, they’re usually quite short and there’s always lots of twists and turns to keep you engaged. A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder I think is a particularly good one, because the writing style is very accessible, and I think the multi-media aspects would suit non-readers well, as it’s not just dense walls of prose, the multi-media aspects add a kind of interactivity to the book as you’re able to work out the murder alongside Pip. The chapters are also fairly short, so it’s the kind of book that you can read in short bursts if you don’t have the attention span to sit and read for hours.
5. Artemis Fowl-Eoin Colfer
Fantasy can be a really daunting one for non-readers to get into, because so many fantasy books are huge and complex. This is where middle grade fantasy like Artemis Fowl can be a really great place to start. It’s funny, it’s easy to read, it’s got a lot of mythological creatures that readers will already be familiar with, and has a great anti-hero at the centre.
6. Skulduggery Pleasant-Derek Landy
Another fantasy that I think would be a good one for reluctant readers, it’s based in the real world, so you don’t have to learn a whole new one, and the magic system is straightforward, it’s not a massive amount to get your head around. It’s funny, the writing is easy to read, it’s fairly short book and there’s lots of action, all of which make it a good one to engage non-readers. It also has one of the most memorable protagonists of a book ever: a magical skeleton detective!
7. Daughter of The Pirate King-Tricia Levenseller
This is technically YA, but it veers towards the lower end, and I don’t think there’s anything in there that would make it unsuitable for middle grade readers (correct me if I’m wrong!), so it might be good for 12+ reluctant readers. It’s another one that is fairly light fantasy, so it’s a good place to start if you’re not massively familiar with the genre, and are daunted by the more dense fantasy tomes. It’s a really short read, at just over 300 pages, it’s a fast and funny pirate romp which I think would be great to engage people who don’t think reading is really their thing.
8. The Princess Diaries-Meg Cabot
I think the format of these books would be great for non-readers, it’s not a whole lot of dense prose, it’s done in the form of diary entries which I feel like if you struggle with reading might be easier to read than big blocks of dense text. It’s also a very light read, Mia has a good sense of humour which makes it a fun read, and Mia is certainly relatable if you’re also an awkward teenager! It’s also very short, so not too daunting, clocking in at under 300 pages.
9. The Medusa Project: The Set-Up-Sophie McKenzie
This was the book series that got me into Sophie McKenzie, and I think it would be a perfect introduction to reading for non-readers. It’s very short (again under 300 pages), it’s fast paced with a lot of action sequences, and it’s got quite a cool premise of kids with psychic abilities: it would be a really good one for people who like superhero movies but aren’t that into books as a starter, as it definitely has the whole ordinary people with extraordinary powers kind of thing going on.
10. The Thieves of Ostia-Caroline Lawrence
I loved The Roman Mysteries when I was a kid, I used to go the library every week to pick up the next one! Again, these books are fairly short, there’s lots of action and adventure, the writing is easy to read and the mystery is not overly complicated (given that these mysteries are being solved by 9/10 year olds, so I feel like it would definitely engage a reluctant reader.
So there we go, those are some books I would recommend to non-readers! Like I said at the start though, you have to find your own way into reading and it’s very subjective, so my suggestions may not work for everyone. I feel like the key is unlocking the thing you’re passionate about, find a book about that, and that usually ends up leading to more and more. Have you read any of these? What books were on your list this week? Let me know in the comments!
Next week topic is Memorable Things Characters Have Said, and this one is right up my alley because dialogue is my absolute favourite part of books, so I’m sure I’m going to have a ball with this one.