Goodreads Blog

12 Things Readers Really Want Nonreaders to Know

Posted by Hayley on June 30, 2017


Every reader has friends or family members who just don't get it. "Why do you read so much?" they might ask, staring at your overflowing bookshelves or your Reading Challenge on Goodreads. "I haven't read an entire book in years."

Oh, those poor, unfortunate souls… Haven't they heard about the very real scientific benefits of reading—like stress reduction and improved sleep? We asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter to share one thing about the comfort, joy, and importance of reading they wish nonreaders could understand. Check out some of our favorite responses below!


1. "Best therapy money can buy…or borrow for free with a library card. Reading helps me sleep, helps me forget about the day, and helps me relax in general." -Sarah

2. "Opening a beer when you get home will reward you for an hour. Opening a book when you get home will reward you for life." -Douglass

3. "Reading teaches you empathy, and it really gives you a chance to examine all the grey areas of life. You get to think about and see things from other perspectives—it's awesome!" -Nyeisha

4. "I feel like I have friends all over the world, through space and time, who I can visit whenever I need a break from my own life." -Kat

5. "Books are better than the movie. There is so much going on in the minds of the characters that movies can't show. To really understand the movie characters you love, read the book." -Linda

6. "The smells of books, whether they're new and old, are enjoyable and pair well with tea or coffee. People who are loathe to read are missing out on smell-o-vision." -Ian

7. "It's one of the ultimate escapes. You can forget where you are and who you are. There have been times I've gone to Middle-earth and Hogwarts and Narnia in my head just to survive… Everyone should have that blessed escape." -Ruby

8. "The more I read the easier it is to express what I am thinking or feeling. Thanks to books, I have the words." -Melanie

9. "You will always have friends. Real life doesn't always hand you the right people. But a book is the perfect place to find your people whenever you need them." -Gillian

10. "Don't give up on reading just because you tried one or two books that didn't do it for you. Keep trying, and I'm sure you will find your niche or genre. When you do, you'll be so glad you did!" -Wes

11. "Reading to me is like unconditional love. I always feel like I'm home when I read a book." -Susan

12. "Used correctly, a book can transport the reader on an instant mental vacation with no jet lag, TSA, or dysentery!" -Todd


Tell us how you share your love of books with nonreaders in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
Readers' Favorite Books of 2017…So Far
Goodreads Hack: Your Guide to Book Giveaways
7 Great Books Hitting Shelves Today

(Top image credit: The Princess Bride)

Comments (showing 1-50 of 180) (180 new)


message 1: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Reading is dreaming with your eyes open


message 2: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Contreras Reading a book is a sensual, physical and mental journey into the heart and mind of an expressive person. The feel of a book anchors me as i venture into a journey of imagination.


message 3: by Kat (new)

Kat Jones It let's me explore times and places I'll never get to go in reality. Much like movies, it's an escape from real life, but sometimes accidentally teaches me things or gets me curious enough to do some research about a subject I didn't know I wanted to know about until then.


message 4: by Raiann (new)

Raiann #4....so true!


message 5: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Guo Reading is a better addiction than cigarettes.


message 6: by Iris (new)

Iris Reading is a good way of getting to know yourself. Dozens of characters have helped me to understand the inner workings of my own mind much more than my parents, friends or teachers ever have. I think it's because the characters's feelings are so viscerally exposed on paper.


message 7: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Oh the places you will go and the people you meet. It's an adventure.
#12 I totally agree.


message 8: by Dan (new)

Dan Reading caustic truth, is like dumping Drano through the knotted pipes of my brain. I have to endure an inconvenient walk to the store, and then put up a "temporarily unavailable" sign on the bathroom. The fumes are potentially toxic. But it's still better than letting the gunk build up in my head, one day needing to take a shower in a rush, and finding my life, flooded.


message 9: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I certainly agree with #4 and #7. People in books may not be real, but they're great friends nonetheless. Growing up, I mostly spent my free time in Narnia. It was my way of knowing I wasn't alone and helped me through so much.


message 10: by Roger (new)

Roger Bailey There have been studies of nonreaders to find out what they have in common. The number one and overwhelming commonality is that they are dyslexic. That is followed by being an immigrant and that is followed by people who had to start work at a very early age. If a particular nonreader did not meet the second and third categories I think I would advise the nonreader to be tested for dyslexia. There are alternative ways for dyslexics to read. By the way, I have a reading disability myself. I am blind. I use alternative methods of reading every day and I am a voracious reader.


message 11: by Mei (new)

Mei With a book you're always in good company!
With a book you're never alone!
The book is your best friend!


message 12: by Zachary (new)

Zachary Sell I'm a quiet person who prefers alone time over having friends. Outside of family, books have always been my best friends.


message 13: by Iffath (new)

Iffath Reading is an escapism that may not always be possible to attain in reality


message 14: by Creta (new)

Creta I read to know that I'm not alone.


message 15: by Mary (new)

Mary I just want a non reader to know that books comfort me in a way people never could, so yeah I bring a book wherever I go.


message 16: by Seregìel (new)

Seregìel Reading is like music. You can't convey the effect it has on you when the person hasn't read the book. It's a way to express yourself implicitly. I couldn't live without books.


message 17: by Sumeet (new)

Sumeet Mahendra Every single response is so true!


message 18: by Seregìel (new)

Seregìel Roger wrote: "There have been studies of nonreaders to find out what they have in common. The number one and overwhelming commonality is that they are dyslexic. That is followed by being an immigrant and that is..."

You should read Not If I See You First; I think you'd like it.


message 19: by Laura (last edited Jun 30, 2017 08:08AM) (new)

Laura Guilbault Yes! Well said, about everything!
Reading helps me forget about reality and explore the different subcategories of life! Reading makes me feel wise, confident and alive.
Every time I finish a book, I like to spend some time wandering the house, just thinking about it. I also love to dream with all those new ideas in my head. Readers have the best dreams.


message 20: by Tiara (new)

Tiara Great list. Numbers 3, 10, 12 sum it up for me!


message 21: by Carolina (last edited Jun 30, 2017 08:19AM) (new)

Carolina Gonzalez Be able to get into the world of words and see the scenarios that other person imagined, put your brain to work like no other activity.


message 22: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Not only does reading make you a well-rounded speaker, you're able to express your thoughts and speak the words clearly.

Reading not only improves your vocabulary, it also surmounts one's intelligence.


message 23: by Booklover925 (new)

Booklover925 Reading is a way to live in another world.


message 24: by (_.- Jared -._) (last edited Jun 30, 2017 09:21AM) (new)

(_.- Jared -._) ₪ Book Nerd ₪ Books..? Hell yeah, I have a lot to say about these book people!

Readers, yeah I have a lot to say about these reading, err -readers, thing too!

But first there's something we need to clarify.....

Who's this book and what's this thing called reader..?

Why is a reader like a reading desk...? <--- Wait that wasn't in the book Disney!

I'm so confused!

I'm lost... I thought this was the "How the movie was better than the book" section. The picture was very misleading and open to interpretation and I therefore move that this should be heretofore referred to as "Click Bait".

Will anyone care to second that motion? Do we have quorum yet?


message 25: by Chantelle (new)

Chantelle Patricia wrote: "Reading is dreaming with your eyes open"


Yes! I love this! It is so true <3


message 26: by (_.- Jared -._) (new)

(_.- Jared -._) ₪ Book Nerd ₪ Jared wrote: "Books..? Hell yeah, I have a lot to say about these book people!

Readers, yeah I have a lot to say about these reading, err -readers, thing too!

But first there's something we need to clarify......"


I'm flagging your comment as inappropriate.

You should be ashamed of yourself! I know I am.


message 27: by Brian (new)

Brian Walker Reading gives me options. Ideas transfer from page to life. The stories and situations from my reading help me when I don't know what else to do or say. Robert Frost knew which path to take..."Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I chose the one less traveled by."


message 28: by Antonio (new)

Antonio Gallo "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe ..."

If you can read Lewis Carroll's poem, "Jabberwocky," you will know what is reading ...


message 29: by Kristen (new)

Kristen I love this.


message 30: by (_.- Jared -._) (new)

(_.- Jared -._) ₪ Book Nerd ₪ A good book generally provides a dimension that no other (current) form of entertainment can. It allows the reader the chance to enter into the minds and perspectives of the characters. It provides the reader the opportunity to experience all the senses and sensations of the characters. A good books stimulates thought and stirs emotions that impressions last a lifetime. Show me movie that can do all of these...


message 31: by (_.- Jared -._) (last edited Jun 30, 2017 10:05AM) (new)

(_.- Jared -._) ₪ Book Nerd ₪ The practice of reading regularly will give the reader a better understanding of the language and provide them with better skills for communication. Little gems of knowledge and vicarious experiences will be gained by the reader and the reader will find themselves suddenly more relatable and knowledgeable than ever before. The avid reader of several genres will be able to strike up conversations with just about anyone on almost any topic.

Why do people watch so much TV?


message 32: by DANGEROUS (new)

 DANGEROUS NINA Reading is about gaining knowledge and finding your truth. It is my best friend and greatest weapon.


message 33: by Anisya (new)

Anisya Malinovskaya Reading gives me an opportunity to live so many lives other than my own. The characters living in the covers of every book pull me in to other places, other troubles and adventures, and I can travel while I'm staying in one place.


message 34: by Chris (new)

Chris Know what makes books so great? They're cheaper to make than movies or TV, so writers are far more willing to take risks. You don't have to dig far to find something you've never seen in a movie.


message 35: by Garv (new)

Garv Taneja No other means of communication has lasted or will ever last as long as books have.

For me reading is about gaining a new perspective and feeling exactly how a person in question must have felt so long ago.


message 36: by Jen (new)

Jen Reading for me takes me away from our harsh reality, it opens my mind as if studying for a test. Just with sometimes amazing characters and a truly good plot.


Olivia "Don't Blame Me I Voted for Hillary" Jen wrote: "Reading for me takes me away from our harsh reality, it opens my mind as if studying for a test. Just with sometimes amazing characters and a truly good plot."

I find reading a good novel to be a great escape as well.


message 38: by Ariel (new)

Ariel Reading is a vacation/adventure/romance/thriller/mystery all from the comfort of a cozy chair.


message 39: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Konecsni People have thought that, because we're a family of readers, we have no lives. Allow me this argument: who needs one life, when you can have many, through BOOKS???


message 40: by MRNJ (new)

MRNJ Agree with everything. You also learn a LOT about the world, even if you only read fiction. I noticed that I know a lot of things about things just from this, even if I haven't lived these things or places myself, I have some understanding.

An added plus is that people that read generally have very good spelling and grammar and literacy in general.


message 41: by Taylor (new)

Taylor There is nothing like being able to escape from the your problems while reading a book. Being transported to a whole different place without even going anywhere is great therapy and it helps me escape for awhile so when I come back to my problems I have a fresh mind.


message 42: by Aditi (last edited Jun 30, 2017 11:49AM) (new)

Aditi It's my third year since i started reading. With every present read, my vocabulary expands and my diction and speech, polishing. Reading is such a pleasure. Such an adventure!


message 43: by Jade (last edited Jun 30, 2017 12:01PM) (new)

Jade Karter I struggled with a mild dyslexia since I was little and there were many times I nearly gave up. But it was my fascination and love for creative writing that got me through. I pushed and pushed and have improved with my dyslexic condition. I've always had a vast imagination and just too many stories in me to give up. I have a few online friends who help me and don't give me crap when I make common or easy mistakes. They know my condition, but focus on my ability to tell a story. Reading and books aren't about perfect, it's important to strive for clarity for readers, but it's the journey and adventure that counts! We all read or create to escape our own reality as well as discover who we are.


message 44: by LucyQueen (last edited Jun 30, 2017 06:19PM) (new)

LucyQueen It does not matter how difficult your day was, when you open a book, everything else is forgotten.


message 45: by Amira (new)

Amira Ali Reading broadens your horizons and opens your mind to a lot.


message 46: by Sydney (new)

Sydney Faith Anyone else click on this because of the picture? The Princess Bride Love The Princess Bride!


Latanya (CraftyScribbles) Mental release and exercise.


message 48: by Alicia (new)

Alicia I remember growing up my Grandmama would explain that it was her way of free travel. She could go anywhere she wanted, see anything she liked, and be who she wished to be along with the characters or even with nonfiction books. I soon began to understand exactly what she loved when growing up. Reading is the perfect escape while simultaneously educating yourself in various ways you initially didn't think possible.


message 49: by Becka (new)

Becka Grieco Reading allows me to "escape" my world and takes me somewhere that I feel more at home in with people I feel at home with.


message 50: by Reading Faerie (new)

Reading Faerie I really love this list, but #2 made me laugh. There are some people I like to tell that to. :)
#6 is very me.

I hate it when I'm reading, and someone says, "I don't read books" like they just one-upped me. How are you one-upping me by telling me you don't like to use your mind?
When people say they don't read, I feel like Anne Shirley, "Oh, Marilla, how much you miss."

I like a quote by Charlaine Harris, "Here's to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy."


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