We all have at least one person in our lives who has never picked up a book for enjoyment and swears they’re not missing out on anything and can happily go the rest of their lives without reading and all you want to do is tuck them into bed so tightly they can barely breathe and can’t get out and then promptly read them every story ever.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the person people go to for book recommendations and I’ve been referred to as ‘the library’ by more than a few people. And I don’t say this to brag because as a young and shy reader, it was really difficult for me to say no to people or to tell someone that I didn’t like how they were treating my books. I say it because through careful analysis, I have successfully learned the art of converting non-readers into readers and if that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.
The key to converting a mere mortal into a book goddess or god, is to find a book that isn’t dauntingly long or slow. You need to find a story that you truly believe will interest the person and will encourage them to want to continue reading when they finish that final page.
And I know there are many go-to books that people typically recommend and I am here today to shoot ALL OF THEM DOWN.
“What?? But Max, why? That’s ridiculous! Outright preposterous! These are classics and everyone will love them!”
FALSE! People who don’t read have seen the classics remade into film countless times. They’ve watched Game of Thrones and they’ve seen Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Narnia. The bait that you need to look for to catch a non-reader has to be new and fresh to their minds, something they haven’t thought of before.
To be completely honest here, the books I found to be the most unoriginal have often been the best ones to give to someone as a trial run. Lighthearted, funny, short, and gripping. That is what you need to find for your unenlightened friends and family. Give them something that will quickly get stuck in their heads, something that they don’t have to keep putting down every five minutes to go do something else. The first book someone finishes has the most impact on whether they ever read again, so you need to find something that will rip their chest open, crawl inside and curl up for the remaining chapters or potentially the rest of their lives.
I know that can sound like a lot of pressure and it can be, but believe in yourself and your book choosing abilities and you can’t go wrong. It may take a few tries, but you can pull non-readers into the realm of imagination very easily. All you need to do is trust your instincts. And by the way, there is nothing-nothing– more satisfying than watching a friend turn the pages of a book you gave them at lightning speed with their fingers gripping the edges and their eyes fixed on words that take them to an entirely new world. But don’t take my word for it. Go try it yourself!
LET’S CONVERT THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!