Don’t Like to Read? Read These Books!

After a brief hiatus, I am back to linking up with The Broke and the Bookish, the hosts of Top Ten Tuesday.  After you read my list, click on over to see theirs (and find links to many other great book bloggers).

This week’s list: “Top Ten Books I’d Hand to People Who Say They Don’t Like to Read.”

My confirmation class says this all the time, and it breaks my heart a little.  You are missing out on many worlds of wonder, non-readers.  Who, probably, are not reading this blog.  But in case you are, or in case you, too, have some non-readers in your life, here’s a top ten list!

I had a hard time putting this list together.  I thought of great non-fiction books that might appeal to people interested in a particular topic, funny memoirs by famous people that you might like if you are interested in that particular famous person, and books that are fast reads that might appeal to people who don’t have time to read.  Surely there are as many kinds of non-readers as there are kinds of readers, right?

But, let’s be honest.  I just don’t understand people who say they don’t have time to read.  I understand people who say they don’t enjoy reading even less.  I have always loved books, and I have loved reading them ever since I learned how.  So, I am probably not the ideal person to come up with a list like this, but I did my best.

And the top ten books I’d hand a non-reader are, in no particular order . . .

I like this cover because it reminds me of a Nancy Drew mystery.

Anything by David Sedaris: I thought of David Sedaris right away because his audio books are great, so if it’s the physical act of reading you avoid, this could be the way to go.  His rendition of his adolescent self singing commercial jingles in the style of Billie Holiday is amazing and hilarious.

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie: Even by Dame Agatha’s standards, this is a pretty silly book, but it is a very fast read (for those who say they just don’t have time) and a good old-fashioned romp.  A fictional Balkan country called Herzoslovakia.  Diamonds.  Pinkertons.  A Herzoslovakian who talks exactly like Yoda.  Come on, non-readers.  You know you want some.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: Speaking of books that don’t take long to read, why not try a children’s book?  Or is this a young adult book?  (I’m sure a kind librarian will tell me.)  Whatever it is, it’s funny, engaging, fast-paced, and filled with great characters you won’t want to leave behind.  (And you don’t have to–there are two more books in the series!)

Found: the Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World by Davy Rothbart: The creators of Found magazine have a book (in fact, they have two)!  Now you can enjoy missing pet signs, discarded love letters, and other lost and tossed gems in the form of a beautiful book.  I gave this to Mike a few Christmases ago, and it’s a great one to enjoy together.

The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson: It’s a book of comic strips–hardly a book at all, non-readers!  You can read a page or a strip at a time, enjoying the humor and the wisdom of Calvin and his stuffed tiger.

Passive Aggressive Notes: Painfully Polite and Hilariously Hostile Writings by Kerry Miller: If you enjoy the website Passive Aggressive Notes, you are bound to enjoy a book of them!  (Another Christmas present for Mike; another afternoon of shared book enjoyment.)

amy sedaris i like you cover

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris: It’s funny and weird, with some surprisingly practical party tips for both hosts and guests.  And it has fabulous pictures.  And, it is also an audio book read by the author!  Listen to a sample here!

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: Probably everyone has this book already, or has had it recommended to them already, but you know what?  It is fascinating, gripping, and inspiring.  Just read it already!

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler: The first of Chandler’s gritty, hardboiled thrillers featuring veteran PI Philip Marlowe.  Extortion, kidnapping, murder, seduction, millionaires.  This book has it all.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein: This book fascinated, enthralled, delighted, and terrified me as a child.  I haven’t read it in ages, but it’s one of the first books I remember reading on my own and loving.  And I felt very sophisticated for doing so, because it was poetry.  

What books would you recommend (or have you recommended) to people who say they don’t like to read?  Or, if you are one of those people, what is your deal?



Filed under Book Report

12 responses to “Don’t Like to Read? Read These Books!

  1. Haha yes, anything David Sedaris! He made my list today too 🙂


    • Honestly, it’s as much because I can’t really remember which book is which as anything! I listened to a whole bunch of them when I commuted between Milwaukee and Chicago–perfect for hours in traffic!


  2. I picked an Agatha Christie and David Sedaris book too! Great list!!!


    • Fun! I love Murder at the Vicarage. I picked The Secret of Chimneys because I recently finished it and juswt wanted an excuse to mention it. I almost put The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which I also just read (I am reading them all in order this year–very fun), but I went with the sillier choice. Thanks for stopping!


  3. OK, this is a children’s book but Tom by Tomie de Paola is a quick read and makes me laugh everytime. Just thinking about the chicken feet makes me smile.


  4. The thing is, they do read. They just don’t realize that what they’re doing is reading. Magazines? Video Game Magazines/X-Games magazines/Celebrity Gossip Magazines? Internet articles? Even text messages are READING. You first need to convince them that they are readers already, to take off the stigma attached to being one of “them”, one fo the readers. First you need to help them figure out that they already are readers. (t was so cute when my pedicurist says that her friend tease her for not just looking at the pictures in the celebrity gossip magazines, and how she was so proud to find out that this made her a “reader.”)

    Then you get to help them find the book that meets their needs. Humor, Graphic formats, and Nonfiction are often the best bets. Some people don’t hate reading, they just hate “made up stuff.”

    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart is Children’s. YA is usually thought of as 8th or 9th grade and up, though trending downward with motivated readers.


    • Well, that is definitely true, Emma! I love the story about your pedicurist. And my goodness, the confirmation kids do read text messages.

      I knew a librarian would help! I guess when I hear “children’s”, I think more of picture books or easy readers, but it makes sense that YA is 8th grade and up. I am happy to read books in all of those categories!


  5. I didn’t even think about Raymond Chandler. Good stuff! It also doesn’t seem fair that the Sedaris family is so darned talented!


    • I love him! It might be time to do some rereading, since when I looked at the titles on Amazon I had a hard time remembering which was which, except for The Big Sleep. I know it–those Sedarises are hogging the zany talent, aren’t they?


  6. Katie Streit

    Great list! I’ve started noting books that could help hook kids on reading


    • Oh, you should definitely peruse the other bloggers’ lists for this one, then! I didn’t read them all, but there were a few that were geared toward teens, and maybe some younger kids’ books, too.


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