Book Talk: I Don’t Know What to Read

February 19, 2013

I Love to Read
If you are a person who has thought, “I know I need to read more. I just don’t know what to read. Plus, I don’t have the time,” then this post is for you. In the past few months, I’ve been thinking about reaching out to my non-reading friends more as a way to welcome them into the fold.

You can trust me, non-readers. 

My husband used to be one of you, plus, both of my best friends are non-readers, and we get along just fine.

I still urge my friends to find good books (I’m a friend, but I’m also on a mission).

What’s the big deal? Why is reading so important? 

Reading improves your mind. Reading builds vocabulary, improves writing and speaking skills. Reading builds empathy. Reading reminds you that other people have valid opinions. And overall, reading is a great activity for enjoying life.

Okay. I get it. I need to read more, so what do I need to do next?

1. Get Recommendations. Ask reading friends what they like to read. As I mentioned before, my husband was not a reader before we married. I recommended books to him, even going so far as to check them out at the library and putting them by his bedside table. Eventually, he started finding books on his own to read. Reading is an infectious habit. Once you get jazzed on a book, you start hunting for more. (I would also recommend this post.)

2. Find the time. Start with 15 minutes to 30 minutes a day. Stop watching television thirty minutes or an hour before you normally do, and read a book instead. You can knock out a few chapters a night by doing this. It builds the habit in small bites. I would also recommend finding a shorter book to read in the beginning.

3. Don’t Worry about Book Snobs. I used to get embarrassed about taking books out into the public, worried what people thought about what I was reading (I was really paranoid in my twenties. Also a little self-absorbed.) My advice? WHO CARES! Find books that interest you and read them. Don’t worry so much about reading the “right” books. We can work on expanding your interests later. Remember? I’m here to help.

Thanks for the tips, Kelly. You’re awesome. Do you have any go-to recommendations?

Why thank you. I’m deeply touched. I do, in fact, have a list of favorite recommendations. I actually used to stink at this. I would get this question, and then fall into a blank stare with nothing to offer.

Here you go. A Few Recommendations:

1. The Harry Potter Series: This will always be my go-to recommendation. The books are imaginative, well-written, and they center on deep, universal and fundamental themes. They live up to the hype. Honestly.

2. Other Young Adult Fiction: For the most part, Young Adult fiction has a strong crossover appeal to adults and for good reason. There are some incredible authors in this market who just want to offer a great story. I highly recommend The Book Thief, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, and Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

3. Science-Related/Journalism: I would recommend Quiet by Susan Cain, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

4. Memoir/Biography: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne, and Bossypants by Tina Fey

Photo Credit: Carlos Porto via Compfight cc

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Kelly Wiggains

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Kelly Wiggains, a high school English teacher turned homeschooling mom, likes to surround herself with good literature, beautiful things, and big ideas, and she wants her home to reflect those things, too. Here at she talks about everything From Literature to Living., 5 eBooks for $7.40!

5 responses to Book Talk: I Don’t Know What to Read

  1. Speaking of YA with crossover appeal, you need to read Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Mentioning The Book Thief reminded me, but really, BSoG is my current “recommend to everyone” book. Beautifully written historical fiction on a subject I’ve never seen anyone else tackle (Baltic deportations during WWII).

    Also, may I add to the list, The Princess Bride by William Goldman (humor! true love! pirates!), just because I can’t let any book recommendation post slide by without bringing up that book.

    I’m like you, I used to be bad at book recs. Now I feel like I’m overflowing with them and probably scare people. Great post :-)

  2. You might also recommend some accessible non-fiction to folks who are fiction-averse (they’re out there, and they look just like the rest of us!). Anything by Malcolm Gladwell would fit the bill: Tipping Point, Outliers, etc. Thoughful and challenging, yet also entertaining and quick reads.

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