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 Firm—One 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 Sea—Such 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 Ove—I 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 One—Especially 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 Diarist—Carrie 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.
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 Martian—Literally 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 Autobiography—I’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.