TTT: Books to Recommend to Non-Readers

So, you meet someone, and tell you they don’t read.

I know. Why are you still talking to them? But let’s pretend that they are otherwise charming, and they say “what book would you recommend??”

Now, you have a narrow window here. Something too fussy, too intellectual…you will turn them right off. Recommend Anna Karenina and they will not only never read a book again, they might get arrested for arson, when they try to set fire to the damn thing.

Go ahead. Ask me how I know? I’ll just say that my relationship with Oprah was never the same.

No, you want something on the lighter side, wickedly entertaining, accessible. These are not the ten best books I ever read, but that isn’t really the point.

The FirmOne of the greatest thrill rides, ever. Everyone I have recommend this book to has come back to me, sort of wild-eyed, and said “are there other books like this?” Heh. First hit’s free.

The House in the Cerulean SeaSuch a gentle, lovely story. Plus the anti-Christ is adorable. Which you might have to trust me on…but when have I lied to you?

A Man Called OveI do not want to ever make light of anyone’s mental health struggles. But this book features a suicide scene worthy of vintage Mel Brooks. Worth the entire book, and that’s saying something, cause it’s a really good book.

Ready Player OneEspecially for someone who might have been a nerdy teen in the 80s, this book is so chock-full of pop-culture references that you barely notice you’re reading.

Gone Girl—I hated every character in this book..but the plot was so propulsive that I finished it anyway, and look back fondly. I really think that this is one of those books that you really can’t put down.

The Princess DiaristCarrie Fisher was a goddamn national treasure, and this book reads like you are getting to have coffee with her.

This is Where I Leave You—Charming, funny family comedy that reads like the best mashup of Modern Family, Arrested Development and Seinfeld.

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes

Your brain seems to work. Use it. Where are you? 

A rocky beach. Cold. He could taste the salt on his lips, knew this was an ocean. Which one? The question was crazy, but he worked it anyway. Let one thing lead to the next. The dashboard clock read 7:42. The sun was just a brighter shade of gray above the waves, but it was higher than before. Which made it morning, which made that east, which made this the Atlantic.

Assuming he was still in the United States. Yes. The road atlas. Okay. The Atlantic. And cold and rocky and sparsely inhabited. Maine, maybe? Why not. Roll with that. “This is Maine.”

His voice cracked. He coughed, then continued. “I’m in a BMW. It’s morning.” Nothing. A bank envelope was curled in the cup holder. Inside was a stack of twenties, several hundred dollars. Under the envelope there was something silver that turned out to be a stainless steel Rolex Daytona. Nice watch. Very nice watch. What else?

He leaned over to open the glove box. There was an owner’s manual, a key ring with a BMW clicker, three pens, a pack of Altoids, a sealed box of ephedrine, and a large black gun.

He stared.

An owner’s manual, a key ring with a BMW clicker, three pens, a pack of Altoids, a sealed box of ephedrine, and a large black gun. A semiautomatic, he noticed, then wondered how he could know that and not remember where he had been before he woke up on the beach. Or worse, even his own— Stop. Don’t go there. If you don’t face it, maybe it’s not true.

Now, keep going. You know you want to know.

The MartianLiterally every single person I gave this book to LOVED it. It’s got enough Tom Hanks/Apollo 13 swagger, and a bunch of absurdist comedy, and a propulsive plot. So good.

Choose Your Own AutobiographyI’ll be honest—I listened to this book read by the incomparable NPH himself. I laughed, and even might have cried a little. It’s amazing…and it’s a choose your own adventure book, which is fun even for non-readers.

So, those are my ten sure-fire hits even for non-readers. What books do you use to convert the non-believers? I’ll take your testimony in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

42 thoughts on “TTT: Books to Recommend to Non-Readers

  1. I definitely agree with The House in the Cerulean Sea and Gone Girl – both are such awesome stores that just suck you in! I haven’t read the others, but I’m definitely going to be checking out a lot of the others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, This is Where I Leave You and Gone Girl are both great choices I didn’t think about. And we both chose The Martian to recommend. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I desperately need to get to The House on the Cerulean Sea at some point. I hadn’t heard of most of these books, though Ready Player One is something that’s been lurking on my TBR) for… probably six years now. I’ll get to it someday, probably.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG! I burst out laughing at your “if you recommend a reluctant reader Anna Karenina” scenario. Haven’t read any of these myself, but huh…that bit from Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes DOES intrigue me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve rescued your comment from a VERY naughty spam filter. Sorry about that.

      If you do give Daniel Hayes a shot, let me know what you think. I thought it was fantastic. 🙂


  5. Love your list. A Man Called Ove is on my wish list. Neil Patrick Harris is fabulous. I would love to listen to something read by him.

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog today.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your introduction. Yes, why would I even carry on talking to them. LOL

    Would you recommend any of these books to someone who loves “Anna Karenina”? I also have read “A Man Called Ove” and “The Martian” and liked them both. A lot of my blogger friends have read “The House in the Cerulean Sea” and I am contemplating reading them even though the cover seems a little too bright for my liking. Sorry. But you might convince me otherwise?

    Thanks for visiting my TTT which has a lot of my favourite shorter books.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful list! I love Carrie Fisher’s book. It was fun. I should have put a Frederik Backman book on my list! GAH! I’m sad I didn’t even think to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Awesome choices. I agree with bunches of these, but especially Carrie Fisher and The House in the Cerulean Sea (and yes, the Anti-Christ is amazing!). I gave my daughter a copy of the NPH book a few years, and have been meaning to steal it back so I can read it too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great list! I read The Princess Diary and loved it! Cerulean Sea and Ready Player One are both on my TBR so hopefully I can read them soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’d have to be for the right person, but the WWII OSS officer’s memoir “You’re Stepping on my Cloak and Dagger” I remember being very approachable, of unintimidating length, and hilarious.

    But I just have a hard time guessing what a non-reader might enjoy; the mind-set is just too alien – so I’m having trouble picking any more books, even ones I love, that I think reasonably likely to be enjoyed by someone who doesn’t already read for pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. These are all great recommendations. My husband is not a reader. He doesn’t have a lot of free time and the time he does, well books are to far down on his list of to do’s. But he likes the fast paced, gritty books by Karin Slaughter and will try to read them. He may not read them as fast as me but that is one author he will try with. Finding that author is sometimes to key. He did read Gone Girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Never read any of these, but I’ve heard of many of them. I think anyone recommending War and Peace (or something like it) to me (even as a reader) would scare me off. Books like that or Les Mis terrify me! They’re so LONG! 😉 Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland.

    Liked by 1 person

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