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Random Book Banter > Recommendations Needed!!

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message 1: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 100 comments Ok, So I'm trying to get my partner to start reading a little bit. He was never really encouraged to do so when he was growing up and he struggled too much with school to become interested in it there. Whilst I am an avid reader, often he just looks at me like I'm a bit weird.

He absolutely loves dragons and magic etc. So I'm thinking something in the fantasy genre might be perfect for him. But as I don't really read it myself I don't know where to start making suggestions for him. He absolutely loved the film Eragon, but I think for a non-reader the book might be a bit too lengthy.

So.... Please help!

message 2: by Mary, Quiet Observer (new)

Mary (Fruity) | 127 comments Mod
When I first met knowledgelost he wasn't much of a reader either. I would keep buying him books which he read halfheartedly or maybe even lied about reading. Then he read a book that linked current bands to the romantic poets which led him to Frankenstein and that was it. He hasn't stopped reading since. I guess it's about finding that link that will interest them and open up the world of reading.
Of course, I don't actually have anything to recommend, as it's not really my genre either. Sometimes I find reading a book after seeing the movie isn't as good as the major plot twists are already revealed so there is no real suspense like there would be if reading it first. So maybe not eragon but something similar to it. How would the game of thrones series go with a beginner? Someone else might have a better idea
Anyway, keep encouraging your partner. I'm sure it will happen eventually

message 3: by The Pirate Ghost (last edited Nov 01, 2011 07:15AM) (new)

The Pirate Ghost (PirateGhost) How old are we talking? If we're talking about a 20 something gentleman, I'd sugguest something short, and active that is similar to Tv shows he may have watched. I'd go with something along the Houndedneck of the woods. If he's older, maybe a 30 something. I might try suggesting something a little unlike what most people are reading ... yet, also tried and true. The Drawing of the Dark for example.

If he's 40 or older, maybe some Sci-fi like Conquerors' Pridewith a lot of action and some fun characters.

I wouldn't recommend he try Lord of the Rings. With the movie, the early chapters aren't likely to hold a non-readers interest.

He might like something like Ice Station which is not fantasy at all, but trust me, this book starts fast and never stops.

And probably a good try for all ages, there's even a mediocer run at a TV series from the books, that involves magic and lots of really fun stuff.

Storm Front(the Dresden Files).

I think one of the problems people have who do not read, that people who do don't "get" is that they have not developed the skill of converting written text into three dimensional sets in your mind as you read. (or however you convert the words in the book so you can see what's happening.) This doesn't take long to develop, but it's likely why people who don't read, have trouble getting started (IMO).

I wouldn't rule out graphic novels like Watchmeneither which might help get things started. Sure, it's a glorified comic book, but it's also a good story, with a good movie made from it, that is definately for adults not children.

If he's a Table Top Role Player (often the antithisis of reading). You might try Joel Rosenberg's "Keeper of the Flame Series."

You could also get him to stand by listening to you talk aobut a book that you loved. To quote Father Martin "Sure you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I understand that. But you can lead him to water and make him thirsty."

All my opinion of course, arguable and I am by no means an expert.

message 4: by Marlene (last edited Oct 31, 2011 02:31PM) (new)

Marlene (Marlene1001) | 289 comments The same goes for me. I´m everything but an expert but a plus is, that I got my sister to read. After 13 years of trying, by the way, but with all the books I have there simply HAD to be something there for her.

The problem is, I don´t know how old your partner is (same problem as up there too) so I´ll just list some books I have enjoyed.

Eragon, by the way, didn´t do the job for me. I thought it was a little bit dry sometimes so I wouldn´t recommend it as a first-read.

Did he try The Chronicles of Narnia? Or maybe The Golden Compass?

Then there are two books I really liked to read, though I don´t know if they would be interesting for people a bit older than me (I´m 17, so... well...):

Beautiful Creatures, which mixes magic as old as the world and southern-USA-habits in a really catching way - though it´s a bit loger too, so it may be not that perfect for a hopefully-to-be reader. ;)

If he likes witty texts which are fun to read, he might be interested in The Amulet of Samarkand which is set in a parallel world in which magic has always been known. The protagonist is a djinni, who comments on his, often hopeless but inevitable, situation with footnotes - I coulnd´t stop laughing.

Hope I could help. :)

message 5: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1209 comments Mod
I would recommend A Game of Thrones but I think that may be a bit lengthy too.

I do think the Chronicles of Narnia might work, or even The Hobbit.

The Pirate Ghost (PirateGhost) I might also add, some times it might be humor that helps.

Bubba and the Dead Womanby C.L. Bevill is a wonderfully funny murder mystery. It's a self pub and this one (Bubba Snoddy #1) is free and availble on kindle and all kinds of other formats for computer and e-reader.

It's also short and funny.

message 7: by Melki (last edited Nov 01, 2011 03:11AM) (new)

Melki | 205 comments I was going to recommend Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight. It was astonishingly popular years ago when I worked in a bookstore, though I see it's gotten some negative reviews on GRs.

My son, the one that can't really be mine because he hates to read, has read J.R. Tolkein's trilogy and The Hobbit, and loved them.

My husband came from a family of nonreaders, and barely touched a book until he met me. He started out reading the same books I was reading and now he reads about 52 books a year. When books are a big part of your life, it is nice to have someone who shares your interest in reading.

Good luck with this.

message 8: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 100 comments Hello all, thanks for all your suggestions! He is in his mid/late 20s. If that helps make it easier for you!

Mary - thanks for the encouragement! I am determined to make some progress and if I do achieve a breakthrough I will let you know. I know I have to pick the first few books I try for him carefully, though. If they all turn out to be complete duds to begin with he'll probably lose intrest in the others quickly.

Hugh - thanks for all the different suggestions. They sound good. I'm going to have a look through later and a look at Amazon and see what I can come up with from them. I think you might be right about the difficulty with non-readers to begin with though. It's an interesting point too - I hadn't really thought of it before.

Marlene - thanks for all the different suggestions also. In some ways I think YA fiction may be a good place to start - as it does tend to be a bit more fast paced and action based. At least I find that.

KL - I quite like the idea of The Hobbit. My own experience with it was bad but I know it's very popular and definately the right type of book. Although I remember it as being very long? But then I was forced to read in a priamry school reading circle where we read appoximately 7 pages a week so perhaps that's why I think that!

message 9: by Kim, In Absentia (new)

Kim | 589 comments Mod
The Hobbit would be a good start. It's only around 300 or so pages. It was one of the first books that hooked me on fantasy when I was young.

I would also recommend Pawn of Prophecy an easy book and a great series; Magician one of the best fantasy books; The Harry Potter books and for fantasy/humour/weirdness the Discworld books can't be beat.

message 10: by Philippa (last edited Nov 01, 2011 04:06AM) (new)

Philippa | 100 comments Melki wrote: "I was going to recommend Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight. It was astonishingly popular years ago when I worked in a bookstore, though I see it's gotten some negative reviews..."

Melki - Thank you! I quite like the idea of Dragonflight. Especially as it's a series if he likes the first one it might encourage him to keep going? Maybe? I'll have a look in to why it's getting negative reviews though. If it's because it's too complicated or something like that it might lose him. But if it's because she goes on and on about how amazing the dragons are he'd enjoy that I think.

High praise indeed for the Hobbit if it appealed to your non-reading son!

Kim - Again The Hobbit. I think I might have to get him that one. I'll have to check out the other recommendations. Although they look good and as I mentioned ^ a think a series could be a good start because as opposed to getting him hooked on just one book I might get him hooked on a few as he's following a story. Thank you!

message 11: by The Pirate Ghost (last edited Nov 01, 2011 07:17AM) (new)

The Pirate Ghost (PirateGhost) Philippa wrote: "Hugh - thanks for all the different suggestions. They sound good. I'm going to have a look through later and a look at Amazon and see what I can come up with from them. I think you might be right about the difficulty with non-readers to begin with though. It's an interesting point too - I hadn't really thought of it before.


Your welcome. I'd like to add a couple of points that may need clarifacation.

1) I called converting text to images in the mind's eye a "Skill." To me this is a very important distinction. Anyone can have any skill they want, but to get a skill it takes practice. To keep (maintain) a skill takes practice. Once someone starts reading they get better and better at this. ANYONE who stops reading for a long enough period of time will start to loose this skill. (Of course those who had it once, get it back remarkably quickly.

2) When I said, talk about books when he's around, I meant you with another person who is excited about books. If he can see the joy it brings you (and another person) that's ten times more powerful to inspire motivation than reading because you want him to. He'll "want" to enjoy books like you do. (IMHO Goodreads is built on that principle.)

And thrird (which is knew I guess). I'd be careful recommending books that you enjoyed "when you were a kid" or in high school etc. If he's 26 o 28 years old, reading like a teenager is (for lack of a better way to say it) beneath him. Such things affect all of us. I'd try things that are more on par with what you are reading (if not in the same genre). Once he gets going, it will be nothing for him to read the Hobbit or Narnia and he'll enjoy them.

It's not about the book. It's about you and him, and if "you" recommend a book that "you" loved when "you" were in High School to someone it doesn't matter how mature or complex a read it is, "you" are asking him to go back to High School. That's kind of 'relationship 101' more than it has anything to do with good or bad books. Relationships are about emotional connections, therefor, what works and what doesn't and why may defy reasonable thought. Emotions by nature are not based on reason and logic and everybody has them...even Spok (as Star Trek went out of their way to show us every now and then).

For a start, I'd also focus on books with lots of action and tension building. The kind of things that keep you on the edge of your seat. (I mean things like Matthew Rielly's Scare Crow Books, or Temple. maybe James Rollins, Amazonia, or Subteranean.) These things are easier to process than some of the more subtle points about humanity in other works.

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight may be a good recomendation there. Pawn of Prophecy would work. humor and action and compelling characters.

Again, all just me and MHO, and I can't clame a lot of experese in these things. I have done a little low level counseling now and then, unrelated to reading.

My point in writing this post is, "I think it is great your encouraging him to read, since I think reading can enrich anyone's life if they just give it a chance...but...wouldn't it be great if that's what he wanted?"

message 12: by Flash Beagle (last edited Nov 01, 2011 05:55PM) (new)

Flash Beagle | 286 comments Philippa wrote: "Ok, So I'm trying to get my partner to start reading a little bit. He was never really encouraged to do so when he was growing up and he struggled too much with school to become interested in it th..."

If he really liked the movie Eragon, you still might try the book Eragon - it's really got 2 stories running parallel - Eragon's and his cousin Roran - they each battle huge odds and have romantic interests. Starts out with a bang too - the evil shade murdering elves as he tries to steal a dragon's egg. It is though a 4 book series - the last one coming out next week which I'll be reading.

If he enjoys humor and charm (along with a dragon of course) The Hobbit.

The Eye of the World - is another good one, but it's still not finished (book 13 I think, lost track) - but dramatic, ultimate good and evil struggle - loved it.

Fantasy out of the ordinary - he might like Orson Scott Card - Red Prophet - very different take and great writing (as is Ender's Game, SF).

Good luck!

message 13: by Kim, In Absentia (new)

Kim | 589 comments Mod
I got bored of the Wheel of Time series around book 10. Was just getting so slow I couldn't continue.

I wouldn't recommend a series like Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones or Sword of Truth to anyone trying to get started. They are really long, detailed and complex series. Anyone new to reading would be likely to get overwhelmed and may not want to try again.

message 14: by Flash Beagle (new)

Flash Beagle | 286 comments Kim wrote: "I got bored of the Wheel of Time series around book 10. Was just getting so slow I couldn't continue.

I wouldn't recommend a series like Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones or Sword of Truth to anyo..."

You lasted longer than I did! :) But - I still remember the dust motes, the earth heaving, something catastrophic has just happened . . . so what if he doesn't finish all 13? :)

message 15: by Kim, In Absentia (new)

Kim | 589 comments Mod
Each book is also pretty hefty which none in the series (apart from the prequel) being under 600 pages. The first book is over 750. I just think for a beginner it's a rather daunting series to try.

message 16: by Flash Beagle (new)

Flash Beagle | 286 comments Oh, I suppose that's true . . .

Another thought - back to Eragon - I didn't see the movie - but if he liked that one, it's a more ferocious world than Pern or Narnia - the main character is a 15 year old guy, struggling to exist, and guess what he ends up with & escapes with - a dragon - with deadly forces after him - all the while with a dragon growing in ferocity herself, and smart. (Obviously I'm looking forward to book 4 :)

message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather Doherty | 49 comments Kim wrote: "The Hobbit would be a good start. It's only around 300 or so pages. It was one of the first books that hooked me on fantasy when I was young.

I would also recommend Pawn of Prop..."</i>

I was going to suggest [book:Magician: Apprentice
as well. I am not a fantasy buff but my husband is and we both loved it.

message 18: by Mike (new)

Mike (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 103 comments I'm late to this thread. However, there are some wonderful suggestions here. All of them are wonderful recommendations.

One, involving dragons I've not seen mentioned, is Stephen King's "The Eyes of the Dragon." It is definitely not they typical King novel and meets the elements you mentioned your partner enjoyed. It is not a long read, and is quite good.

Also, consider Stephen Brust's "Vlad Taltos" Series, beginning with "Jhereg."

For magic, consider Piers Anthony's "Xanth" Series, beginning with "A Spell for Chameleon." Beware. Folks either love these or hate these. Further, you might find him quite chauvinistic regarding women.

Robert Lynn Asprin's Myth Adventures Series beginning with "Another Fine Myth." Magic mixed with humor.

Let me toss in one more suggestion. And that is to select something of interest to both of you and read it aloud. That may sound completely over the top. But it is something that my wife have enjoyed together for a number of years.

My wife had once been a reader, but because of her hectic schedule, she'd just fallen out of the habit. However, she mentioned she'd like to return to reading and wished that she had read more southern literature, an area she had not explored much during her education.

A quick trip to Barnes and Noble yielded a variety of different books in the genre, from the short stories of Flannery O'Connor and Robert Penn Warren to some Eudora Welty and Carson McCullers. I would pick a short story to begin with and would read it aloud. It was spring and we read outside in our flower garden. A fountain bubbled nearby and the birds contributed to the background pleasantly. A glass of wine eases the process along as well.

"A Good Man is Hard to Find" gave her the shudders, but she had me "perform" it for her brother and sister-in-law. Yes, I do get into dramatic readings. *chuckle* She loved the short stories of Truman Capote. Enchanted by "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter."

Even the thickest "chunksters" such as "East of Eden" seem to fly by when they are shared by reading aloud. While it may not be for everyone, it is definitely a shared experience. I loved Hugh's comment regarding Relationships 101. Sharing a book is definitely an emotional connection, and a special way to share time with one another.

We moved from stories to novels. Soon she was making her own selections. Her taste runs to historical fiction, particularly anything dealing with the Roman Empire and Henry and Eleanor of Acquitaine. She's also fond of anything Arthurian. She has designated me her official book shopper and I consider it a treat to surprise her with something that delights her.

Now we are both very contented readers. Yet we've never abandoned the occasional read aloud. And I can say there's something especially intimate about reading aloud, say, "The Gift of the Magi" on Christmas Eve, the room aglow with holiday lights and candles.

Best wishes and happy reading to both of you.

message 19: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 100 comments Hello All!!

Ok am a bit behind with an update to this but honestly my work has been horrendously busy lately, with so many people off ill and it being near the end of the year anyways (when my boss decides he wants to try and double the annual production thus far before we close for Christmas - lots more paperwork for me). On top of this all I've suddenly been asked to arrange a Christmas party. Which is just turning in to one big horrible never-ending nightmare. Any way, what I'm trying to say is - I've hardly had time to read a book, let alone write a post for this!

Ok - my efforts progressed the other day. I practically dragged him in to the local bookshop and told him I wanted to try and share my love of reading with him. And actually he was far less surprised and initially uninterested than I'd expected. Almost as if, he'd been expecting me to try something like this at some point.

So, we looked through the fantasy shelves and I pointed out all the things they had that people have suggested.

We looked at The Hobbit but he told me that actually it was the one book he had to read in school and if he was going to try this he wanted to start with something new to him so he didn't find it dull or repetitious.

He was very drawn to the Anne Mcaffrey books and actually admitted to me that Dragonflight (long abandoned, unread and unloved on my bookshelves at my mum’s as it was received post-fantasy phase) had actually caught his eye before and he had picked it up and read the first couple of pages in the past. He also said that it hadn’t been “too bad” which is high praise indeed from him. And in fact, the reason he’d never got much further with it and had returned it to the shelves was because it was a book and he doesn’t really read. As we are visiting next weekend he’s going to pick it up then, start on it and bring it home. I think this will actually be a good opportunity too, as my Mum’s side of the family tend to be early to bed types whilst we’re both night owls so if I sit down with a book for a couple of hours he can start on it then and hopefully make enough progress to get in to the story a bit. If he gets on well with it then I might buy him the second for Christmas and I may also try and read it myself so we can ‘share’ the experience together as I think this is a good idea.

In the bookshop he also liked the look of Magician: Apprentice and has said he will try those after Dragonflight. I also noticed him scanning the shelves himself and he spotted and flicked through a couple of other things that seemed to catch his eye and he mentioned he may return to ‘if this reading works out’. So he is actually a little keener to give this a go than I had anticipated.

Hopefully some successful news to follow soon! And in these early days recommendations are still good for ideas of where to go next!

message 20: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (PirateGhost) The Raymond Fiest "Rift War" books are a good start. There are a lot of them and they are fun. There are also some by Janny Wurtz. Terry Brooks first Shannara book is fun and has the distinction "Not Tolkien" Though those of us who have read it see the resembalance.

It's a good start.

message 21: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 100 comments He's read over 100 pages so far this weekend! Which I think is a good start. He even asked about the rest of the series briefly in passing.

My whole family know about my mission and he clams up a bit about it when they ask him how it's going. But I get the impression he is enjoying it at least a little.

Of course, the real challenge will come when we're back home and his computer is there again!

message 22: by Mike (new)

Mike (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 103 comments That's where the Kindle and Nook apps come in handy. *grin*

message 23: by Victoria (last edited Nov 21, 2011 11:27PM) (new)

Victoria Young | 107 comments Philippa, how goes the non-reader to reader conversion? I used to go out with someone who, sadly for me, drifted into reading exclusively non-fiction over the years, so I know where you're coming from!

As for science fiction/ fantasy recs, I read a scary amount of that stuff in earlier days. Honestly, Anne McCaffrey isn't what I would have first recommended to a 20-something guy, because even though the dragons and battles are prominently featured, I recall most of her books being romances...? Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

The David Eddings books are probably safer in that respect, but you know, no dragons. Just magicians. And the occassional knight in shining armour. The most well known series is The Belgariad, which starts with the Pawn of Prophecy, but I personally preferred the other series Eddings wrote called The Elenium, and which starts with The Diamond Throne.

Another short-ish fantasy novel is Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I haven't read it myself, but it comes highly recommended from my sister who is a fantasy reader, and I've liked other books by Neil Gaiman. It's about 250pgs, so shouldn't be too intimidating.

I am currently re-reading (a very rare occurence) a series of fantasy books that I read years ago because I remembered them being surprisingly good. They are by an Australian author by the name of Ian Irvine and the series is called The View from the Mirror. It begins with A Shadow on the Glass. Now they're hefty- i.e. around the 500 page mark- but they are great page turners and have quite an original take on the usual pseudo-medieval fantasy. The use of magic is also quite different from your usual run of the mill fantasy series. Perhaps keep the series in mind for when your partner gets settled in to the swing of things, rather than as a entry-level read.

message 24: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 100 comments Victoria - Some slow progress!

He did start with Dragonflight as that was where his interest was. And he finished the whole thing that weekend at my Mother's! (Which really did amaze me.) What amazed me even more was his verdict that it was 'quite good' although he refused to say how good as he reasoned he had nothing to compare it to. He actually sat there and told me all about it for a few minutes and I agreed to try and read it soon-ish for him, so we could talk about properly.

On Monday when we had to face a 4 hour train trip home with multiple changes he insisted on taking the second with us (that was also languishing in a box unloved) and everytime we got on a train he was reading again straight away!

Of course, back home with his computer and games etc the real test began, but he has picked it up a couple of times and read it a little. Probably not far off the amount of reading I put in last week really and he was working 12-14 hour days last week too so nothing really had much chance of getting his attention beside dinner, tv and bed!

He asked me to get a couple of books for him to try on my kindle and when he's finished this current one and I'm reading a library book he's going to try either Pawn of Prophecy or Magician: Apprentice that way.

Early days but definite progress!!

I've not heard of the Ian Irvine books at all but they might be good when he's in the habbit so he has a bit of variety too.

I own a copy of Stardust and hadn't actually thought about it as a possibility for him so thanks for the suggestion!

message 25: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Young | 107 comments Glad to hear, Philippa! Hope he keeps it up : )

Also, on a sad but related note- I read in the paper this weekend (I think ?) that Anne McCaffrey passed away. But she left behind a huge body of novels, so he'll have plenty to read for quite a while.

message 26: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 100 comments Victoria, I spotted that too last week in the news. Very sad. Although yes, she was quite prolific!

Anyway, small breakthrough occured last night. When we went to bed he actually sat there reading in bed for a while. I turned my light off to sleep about 1am but he kept going! Apparently he read until 2 and then only stopped because he knew he had to get up for work in the morning.

message 27: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel Hmm, Naomi Novik's historical fiction fantasy books have dragons if he is into history a little bit. He might also think of Robin Hobb's serie which revolves around the world of dragons even if you don't always see one. =P

message 28: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 100 comments Gabriel wrote: "Hmm, Naomi Novik's historical fiction fantasy books have dragons if he is into history a little bit. He might also think of Robin Hobb's serie which revolves around the world of dragons even if yo..."

I spotted Robin Hobb's books and thought they might be good for him but had been a bit cautious as no-one else had mentioned them. So thanks for the suggestion!

message 29: by Gabriel (last edited Nov 30, 2011 04:46AM) (new)

Gabriel Anytime. I think I have all of her books. I think he will like the wolf companion in the first one.

message 30: by Kim, In Absentia (new)

Kim | 589 comments Mod
The Temeraire series is alright. I'm up to book 3. After my experience with The Liveship Traders I'm always hesitant to touch Robin Hobb books. They were so incredibly boring.

message 31: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 100 comments Kim wrote: "The Temeraire series is alright. I'm up to book 3. After my experience with The Liveship Traders I'm always hesitant to touch Robin Hobb books. They were so incredibly boring."

That does not sound good!! Am conflicted now whether to suggest them to him!

He's following Anne McCaffrey's books at the moment so seems to be keeping interested that way. Finished the 2nd on Saturday and then picked up the 3rd last night. He's started wanting to read for about an hour before bed which is quite nice for me too!

Not really sure if this will translate to a general interest in reading however, or just in this one thing.

message 32: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel well, since Liveship series is inbetween the Farseer series and Tawny series, you could always skip the 3 books.

message 33: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Gaiman's graphic novels.

message 34: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (PirateGhost) He might enjoy the "Lost Fleet" series by Jack Campbell for a change of pace. It's military/science fiction, but it reminds me so much of "Battlestar Galactica 2005" everytime I read it, I keep picturing Edward Olmos as the commander of the lost fleet.

It's not copying from the TV show (and miniseries), it just has that same semi-military, semi-space opera feel to it.

That and lots of things blow up.

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Books mentioned in this topic

Conquerors' Pride (other topics)
Watchmen (other topics)
Hounded (other topics)
Ice Station (other topics)
Storm Front (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

C.L. Bevill (other topics)
Anne McCaffrey (other topics)
J.R.R. Tolkien (other topics)
Orson Scott Card (other topics)
Ian Irvine (other topics)