32 Reader-Recommended Books to Inspire Nonreaders

Posted by Marie on November 14, 2018


This post is sponsored by Simon and Schuster.

A book is a gift that keeps on giving, especially when it inspires a non-bookworm to read more. To help spread more literary joy this holiday season, we asked avid readers on Twitter and Facebook for titles that could whet the appetites of those who aren't devouring books on the daily (for now).

In addition to rounding up the most highly recommended titles from A to Z, we listed some sage advice from these avid readers as well. Nonreaders have their own tastes and inclinations, and you can use the following tips to help narrow down your choices:

  • "I try to find a book that would fit the person," says Adrienne. "What interests them the most? It's really important to encourage reading, as there are way too many people who view it as too boring or time-consuming."
  • "Ask them what they watch on TV," says Kimberly. "There’s a good chance it's based on a book series. Then buy them the first book in the series, which has characters they’re already invested in. Then buy them a book from a similar genre by a different author and keep going."
  • "Someone that is not in the habit of reading yet might find it easier to start with an audiobook," says Panos. "Understand what their interests are (perhaps through their favorite movie genre) and find a similar audiobook title."
  • "I think the subject just has to be something that speaks to them personally and they'll be hooked," says Mishka.

Want even more tips for buying books as gifts? This bookstore owner can point you in the right direction. In the meantime, tell us in the comments which books you'd recommend to hook nonreaders. And don’t forget to add your favorites to your Want to Read shelf!


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What books would you recommend to hook nonreaders? Let us know in the comments.

Check out more recent blogs:
The Art of Buying a Book for a Serious Reader
'Book Series Recaps' Helps Readers Catch Up on Their Faves
Literary-Inspired Gifts for the Most Avid Bookworms

Comments Showing 1-50 of 88 (88 new)


message 2: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I would recommend:

Memoirs of a Geisha


message 3: by Salam (new)

Salam Ch I recommend forty rules of love , thousands splendid sun, mornings in jenin 😊


message 4: by Ru (new)

Ru I would recommend:
Holes


message 5: by Xueting (new)

Xueting The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller! I very recently recommended it to my sister, who hasn’t read a full book in years, and she took a while to really get into it, but then she devoured it. And now she’s still obsessed with it!


message 6: by Christina (new)

Christina Thorn Birds


message 7: by Sophie (new)

Sophie The Book Thief


message 8: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Books that may engage and encourage reading: Secret Life of Bees or She's Come Undone (f) and Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian or Killer Angels (m)


message 9: by Indrayani (new)

Indrayani A tree grows in Brooklyn


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ I'd recommend the Harry Potter series, even though I didn't complete reading it myself. This got my two non reader kids to read.


message 11: by Salomé (new)

Salomé Harry Potter


message 12: by Pete (new)

Pete Rathburn Why would books that center around the world of books (Shadow of the Wind, Book Thief, Thirteenth Tale, or Fahrenheit 451) engage non-readers?


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura Educated


message 14: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie I would recommend The Sparrow


message 15: by Mrs V A Woodcock (new)

Mrs V A Woodcock There are no books i can find that Rd eligible for me to reac


message 16: by Helen (new)

Helen To Goodreads: Can we please start a new thread - How to Inspire a Non-Reader Teen to Read? This is so much more important, as the lifelong habits of reading (and not only reading) are starting at this age.


message 17: by Karen (new)

Karen The only one I may have liked, I watched the movie which was good and that's enough.


message 18: by Ríos (new)

Ríos Warrior Cats Series by Erin Hunter


message 19: by Alisha (new)

Alisha Mahadeo I would recommend The Boy in the Striped Pajamas


message 20: by Louve (new)

Louve Oaken thorne by robin jarvis


message 21: by Dusty (new)

Dusty I would recommend Loot by Jude Watson. It's great for people who love to read about mystery and crime. Loot (Loot #1) by Jude Watson


message 22: by Dhanashree (new)

Dhanashree Recommending the book

The Reader


message 23: by Ajay (new)

Ajay Singh Salam wrote: "I recommend forty rules of love , thousands splendid sun, mornings in jenin 😊"
READ ALL THREE :)


message 24: by Nissa (new)

Nissa Reads i would recommend harry potter


message 25: by Muiiiiimuiiiii (new)

Muiiiiimuiiiii Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier


message 26: by Elaine (new)

Elaine cripe the search Sandra brown


message 27: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Miller Horror: The Store by Bentley Little or 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King.

Fantasy: Cinder by Marissa Meyer or A Game of Thrones by GRRM OR A Monster Calls for all the feels

Sci-Fi: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card; nice way to ease into sci-fi; or The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.

Fiction/Lit: Cane River or Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: A Story from Different Seasons, as a standalone.


message 28: by Jess (new)

Jess I frequently recommend comic books/graphic novels to the reluctant teen readers I work with, but I think this tactic would work well with adults too ;)

Also short stories work well, because they are quick and low commitment.


message 29: by Marie (UK) (new)

Marie (UK) Jess wrote: "I frequently recommend comic books/graphic novels to the reluctant teen readers I work with, but I think this tactic would work well with adults too ;)

Also short stories work well, because they a..."


I hate short stories - ok that is a personal view but i think they rarely have the hook that brings a reader in. For me, in so many cases, they try to be too clever and they fail to have a real narrative. I am often left thinking WHAT???


message 30: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta Pete wrote: "Why would books that center around the world of books (Shadow of the Wind, Book Thief, Thirteenth Tale, or Fahrenheit 451) engage non-readers?"

Agreed. I read Thirteenth Tale recently and it is great, but there's so many allusions to classic literature - really, the whole plot is a Jane Eyre homage - that I imagine a reader who isn't familiar with those books would be put off, if anything.


message 31: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn I would recommend The Book Thief


message 32: by Jennie (new)

Jennie Melissa wrote: "I would recommend:

Memoirs of a Geisha"


Me too! Even though I'm an avid reader (not the non-reader target audience of this post) that is still one of my favorite books.


message 33: by Jennie (new)

Jennie Maybe the Hunger Games trilogy?


message 34: by Baishali (new)

Baishali Anything by Agatha Christie ( and then there were none, death comes as the end)... also Jodie picoult ( my sisters keeper, small great things )


message 35: by LiteraryxLisa (new)

LiteraryxLisa I would recommend The Alchemist.


message 36: by Robert (new)

Robert Irish The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a great book for a non-reader because it invokes comic books, messes with history, and has playful characterization.


message 37: by Julija (new)

Julija One good thing, Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine


message 38: by Ksenia (new)

Ksenia Baishali wrote: "Anything by Agatha Christie ( and then there were none, death comes as the end)... also Jodie picoult ( my sisters keeper, small great things )"

As a kid and teen, I was far from a "reader" but I loved Agatha Christie mysteries! They are super quick and keep your curious. I haven't loved them as much in adulthood, but I'm grateful that they kept me reading back then.


message 39: by Isa (new)

Isa The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared K Jonas Jonasson


message 40: by Yasmeena (new)

Yasmeena I recommend these:

Story Thieves (Story Thieves, #1) by James Riley

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1) by Chris Colfer

The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1) by Kevin Sands


message 41: by Ellen (new)

Ellen I would recommend The Alchemist.


message 42: by Shivantika (new)

Shivantika I would reccommend The Land of Stories series, Story Thieves series, and countless others that would take a long time to list. (it's on my profile)


message 43: by LuAnn (new)

LuAnn Adams Peace Like a River


message 44: by SG (new)

SG I’ll try to keep this family friendly:
Eff the crap on this list!
Honestly I’m SHOCKED Harry Potter and Game of Thrones aren’t on it because they’re on every single list on this bloody site. Now you’re saying, I should give one of these books to a person who hasn’t finished a real book since the 9th grade?? Not a damn chance. I can’t even get through over half of these without passing out, and I read every day! Honestly a person is supposed to be excited to read after one of these bore fest? Hell no.

Okay, I apologize for my too strong opinion in advance. I don’t actually really give a shit at all. I don’t even know why I’m commenting. I hardly read the list I just glanced at the titles. I’m bored. It’s one of those nights when I rant on random comment sections, send boredom help. Okay, sorry, I’ll be on my way now. Good day lads.


message 45: by Ljkreger (new)

Ljkreger River of Doubt by Candice Millard. Story of Teddy Roosevelt's exploration of an uncharted river in the Amazon basin. A harrowing story, brilliantly told.


message 46: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Croft The Shadow of the Wind, and Crazy Rich Asians are too long to suggest for non-readers (I found the first dull, and the second I DNFd). Animal Farm, and Fahrenheit 451 are too literary - I dont think they are that interesting as stories in and of themselves. 1984 would be a better choice.

I would try match with their personality and what they care about. Are they analytical? A deep thinker? Deeply compassionate? etc.. and try to pick an easy, likeable read that will really speak to them.

The Martian, A Man called Ove, The Book Thief, A fault in our Stars, a Celeste Eng and Big little Lies are in general great recommendations for this. I would still consider LOTR or HP, as there is so much spark behind each of these stories that I think anyone could love them.


message 47: by Zane (new)

Zane Mothwing wrote: "Oaken thorne by robin jarvis"

The only problem I would have with recommending just that is that it is technically the second book in a trilogy that is the sequel to another trilogy. While I personally owned and have enjoyed the book, I think it would be much more practical (and make more sense for anyone unfamiliar with the series) to start at the beginning with 'The Dark Portal'.


message 48: by Helen (new)

Helen Petra Bottom line: go audio.... x


message 49: by Laura (new)

Laura Rebecca as it is the book that started me on my life long love affair with reading.Also To Kill a Mockingbird.


message 50: by Manu (new)

Manu Adaa Kite Runner


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