Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Would Hand to Someone Who Claims to Not Like Reading

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

Welcome, friends to what is definitely autumn now: we have passed Hallowe’en, the clocks have gone back, the leaves are turning, the river has broken its banks and the rain flooded our road and house this weekend!

This week’s topic – as a teacher – is rather on-the-nose. So many students claim not to like reading! Often, the claim is a mask to hide the fact that they find the process of reading a genuine challenge. Now don’t get me wrong, I would never judge someone because they are a non-reader – the world is big enough and wide enough to accommodate every type of person – but as someone who has loved reading since as long as I can remember I grieve that non-readers are depriving themselves of the joy and pleasure I take from reading….

So let’s consider this putative character who dislikes reading for this week. Let’s call them Sam, which is suitably ungendered, and assume that they have no issues with the process of reading: they are unhampered by dyslexia nor have a phonological, orthographic processing or comprehension deficit. Sam may have had supportive parents and effective teaching, but rarely saw reading modelled perhaps and never acquired the habit of reading. What books might appeal to a person such as Sam?

I would probably choose something fairly heavily plot driven with a cracking pace to it, or something with a strong element of comedy…

Right Ho Jeeves, P. G. Wodehouse

Charming, ridiculous, hilarious… who doesn’t love the eternally capable Jeeves and the useless Wooster?

Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I adored this book – hilarious and irreverent… and for non readers like our Sam, the TV tie in might be an appeal.

The Appeal, Janice Hallett

This was a page turner of a novel – and an unusual format, letting you follow the narrative through email trails and messages within the village community. Murder. Deception. Betrayal…

If Sam is turned of by a ‘traditional’ novel, this might break those expectations – and it also contained some genuinely hilarious awkward set pieces.

Slow Horses, Mick Herron

This might depend on Sam’s ability to overlook (or even appreciate) fart jokes – but again it is an irreverent, funny, gripping and at times genuinely moving spy series. It is focussed not on the glamour of James Bond but on the washed up and disgruntled members of Slough House, exiled from the front lines of espionage and desperate to return.

The Martian, Andy Weir

Keeping with the fast paced plotting, The Martian certainly has that! Will Mark Watney survive abandoned on Mars? Will NASA realise and manage to rescue him? I mean, almost every chapter ends on a life threatening cliff hanger, doesnt it?

And alongside that with a tense adventure and rescue and a great sense of humour.

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

A sweet and tender romance, with plenty of gentle humour, with a neurodivergent protagonist and his search for love, having devised the ideal scientifically valid questionnaire…

And Rosie, who fails every aspect of it, waltzes into his life…

This is perhaps the best of the three books in the series.

Pine, Francine Toon

Moving to some more tense reads – many people, perhaps Sam included, feel that books are boring. Well, Pine was far from that, gripping and tense and genuinely creepy from the opening pages… ghost mothers, witchy children, strange happenings in the pine forests…

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

And equally tense, the claustrophobic setting of the island – an island on which a serial killer is murdering everyone trapped there, who all have their own secrets! – in And Then There Were None cannot be topped – this is by far my favourite Christie novel and I challenge anyone to guess the murderer!

Snap, Belinda Bauer

Another taut and tense thriller, this is the only Bauer novel I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it: fast paced and thrilling, and again with a good dose of humour.

A family bereft by a mother’s disappearance, a spate of burglaries and a disgruntled rusticated DCI resentful of being transferred out of London.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley

Finally, just in case Sam is in the mood for something gently fantastical, THe Watchmaker of Filigree Street will introduce them to a Victorian London, a mechanical octopus, and synaesthetic civil servant and a clairvoyant watchmaker cum samurai who ‘remembers’ every possible future until it becomes impossible…


So, hopefully Sam will find something here that will not be too intimidating, but also be incredibly fun to read because, after all, is that not the reason that we all became readers in the first place?

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

  • November 9: Memorable Things Characters Have Said (quotes from book characters that have stuck with you)
  • November 16: Books to Read If You Love/Loved X (X can be a genre, specific book, author, movie/TV show, etc.)
  • November 23: Characters I’d Love An Update On (Where are they now that the book is over?)
  • November 30: Bookish Memories (Share stories of your reading life as a child, events you’ve gone to, books that made an impression on you, noteworthy experiences with books, authors you’ve met, etc. Reminisce with me!)

24 comments

  1. This is a great, well-thought-out list. I loved _The Rosie Project_ and __The Martian_ made my own list.

    My post—https://fiftytwo.blog/2021/11/02/ttt-books-to-recommend-to-non-readers/

    Happy TTT!
    Lori

    Like

  2. Great list. I have read “Right ho, Jeeves”, “The Martian” and “And Then there were none”. I liked them all and have read several Jeeves books afterwards. And watch the brilliant series with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Fantastic.

    I might have to try some of your other suggestions.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT which has a lot of my favourite shorter books.

    Liked by 1 person

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