Monday, August 5, 2013

'Hey, You Read a Lot, Right? What's a Good Book I Should Read?...' Discussion Post: Recs to Non-Bookish Friends

We all know that we have “book” friends and “non-book” friends. All my friends know I read like a boss and am the go-to person for all book recommendations. I find I both love and hate when my friends ask me, “Hey, what’s a good book I should read?”…Um…how much time ya got? Seriously. How much of an open-ended question is that? So I always follow-up with, “What kind of books do you like?” Because, what the hell, I read over 100 books a year and I’m supposed to pick out ONE from my repertoire to recommend you? I need you to narrow down for me a bit, bro.

The step after that is they actually read the book I tell them to...this doesn't always happen. Now, let's fast-forward 6 months when they finally get around to actually reading the damn book and we get this...“OMG KELLY I JUST STARTED *insert said book here* AND IT IS SO GOOD!!”….Yeah, no shit. I KNOW it’s good that’s why I told you to read it a year ago. Ok, sorry, all profanities aside I LOVE when my friends FINALLY tell me they read a book I rec’d to them. Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. It also asserts my book dominance status to my non-book friends. And then I get the question—I loved that book, what should I read now? This recently happened to me with my friend Erin who read Divergent. She loved it—duh—and she is all, what do I read now?...

This got me thinking and thus the purpose for this post—What books do you find yourself always recommending to your non-book friends?

Can I name the top 20 books I’ve ever read right off the top of my head when people ask me for a book rec? OF COURSE. However, I find myself not always recommending some of my favorites. I know that people that don’t read won’t appreciate certain books, or they won’t get them. That isn’t meant to make me sound like a snob, it is just fact. Non-bookish people who aren’t used to reading a lot of different genres or authors might not fully appreciate the magic and beauty of the realm of the chimera and warrior angels. They might not “get” the Shadowhunter world. Because of this, I find myself always recommending certain books because of general appeal factor. This brought me to thinking what books do I always seem to recommend to people that aren’t as bookish as me. I compiled my list below of the books I have recommended to people that they have loved so I was wondering…

What books you find yourself always recommending to your non-bookish friends?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins—This is an obvious choice. I legit started my own Katniss-style revolution at work and at home with these books. Almost my entire floor at work has read these books after me OBSESSING over them and I got my entire immediate family (minus my dad), 2 uncles and 3 cousins to also read them. You can’t go wrong with this rec. Who doesn’t love the Hunger Games?! Fast paced, visually engaging, and a plot that keeps you on your toes. May the odds be ever in your favorite when recommending this book.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner—Again, I come from a family of selective readers. They read when they want to and when they FINALLY listen to me, they are all I LOVE THIS BOOK! Yeah…I know what I’m talking about here. Mom, 2 sisters, 1 uncle, 1 cousin, and 1 friend have fallen in love with the Gladers. The quick pace and short chapters kept them turning the pages. Also good for boys.

Divergent by Veronica Roth—Another sister and 2 friends have gotten in on this action…and I’m regretting it because now I’ve gotta fight over Four with 3 other bitches. Kidding…kinda…like The Hunger Games and the Maze Runner the fast pace always sucks my friends and family in. The romance is more pronounced so I think this appeals to girls more than boys because all the ladies love the Four.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver—This one I’ve definitely told my girlfriends about. The science aspect of love being a disease has my nurse friends loving this…oh yeah, Alex doesn’t hurt either. I think this is great for friends who want a dystopia with a lot of romance because I don’t think the dystopia aspect is too heavy or confusing to comprehend. I’ve had friends struggle at the beginning of Divergent because they ‘don’t get what’s going on.’ Stick with it girls, it’ll click soon. But Delirium is a better dystopia to ease into. My 2 friends LOVED the love aspect. They swooned hard for the romance. So much so my friend Lindsay refuses to read Pandemonium because she is so heartbroken over the ending of Delirium. Poor girl.

Juliet by Anne Fortier—I got one friend to read this book after reading it on vacation with her and she LOVED it. The back and forth between present and past with the Romeo and Juliet foundation had her constantly turning the pages. I would def rec this to people that want a good love story with a plot that twists, that isn’t young adult.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett—Not an easy read because of how horrible humans are to each other and how ugly this period of our history is, but all my female relatives have read this book because I forced them to! I think it is a great book for your family or friends to discuss at a gathering because it brings to light so many topics. A little heavy but it gave me a lot of fantastic conversations with my mom, grandma and aunts. We still talk about it at family functions.

Those are my go-to books I’ve had lots of success with my non-bookish friends, so I ask you…

What do you recommend to your non-bookish friends?

To Be Continued—In addition to not recommending certain books due to the general appeal rule, I also find myself keeping some books secret from my non-bookish friends. Am I alone? Next time I discuss what books I keep to myself…


  1. I always recommend We Need to Talk About Kevin, which is dark but just had me gripped. Everyone I've recommended it to who has read it has loved it.

    I also like to tell people to read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (dark and depressing again!), and now that I've finally read Gone Girl I'll be shouting about how good that is too.


  2. I'm ALWAYS recommending The Hunger Games! And now that I've FINALLY read Divergent, I'm adding it to the list, because it is AWESOME! Another one I try to push onto other people is Graceling.
    But it's so hard to recommend books to non-bookish people, because like you said, I may think this book is amazing, but sometimes you have to have read some more books to get it. Or to get into this amazing new paranormal being.
    Oh and I'm always recommending Before I Go To Sleep to people as well, it's a thriller with mass appeal in my opinion.

  3. You know, I tried reading Juliet a long time ago. I bought it on the mere fact that the cover fascinated me (no one told me it was good and I had read no reviews prior to buying it). But for some reason I couldn't get past the first quarter of the book. I've heard great things about it now, though, so I know I'll be reading it again one day.

  4. LOVE this post! YES YES!! I feel exactly like this. Especially about recommendations. I know that many of my casual reader friends wouldn't love my favorites like I do, so I'm very careful to tailor recommendations to the specific person. It's also hard when an acquaintance discovers how much I read and wants an instant book recommend. I ALWAYS ask what they've read and liked recently first. Especially because many do not read YA, and I don't want to always deal with people's misunderstanding of what it's all about. However, books like Divergent and The Hunger Games have made the genre way more mainstream - I also talk those two books up a lot. JULIET is one that I've told people about a lot also. I actually promote SLAMMED by Colleen Hoover a LOT and most of my friends have loved it. And I have a new favorite that I'm going to be pimping out: NOWHERE BUT HOME by Liza Palmer. My mom, sisters and I all thought it was fantastic.

  5. I'm totally on the advocate for The Hunger Games bandwagon. I don't know anybody who's read the Flavia de Luce series, but I've decided that would be my next series. Fortunately their quick listens on audio.
    Great list though :)
    - Krys

  6. Yeah, I always try to tailor to recommendations around a person's interests, previous reading history, etc. I don't want to tell them to read something I loved - I want them to read something THEY will love. And while yes, the two often coincide, they don'y always. I've read books I liked (not loved) but know that I'll have friends who will adore them.

    Two of my most recommended recently are NOWHERE BUT HOME by Liza Palmer and ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell. Those are ones that were also favorites of mine that work really well as recommendations :)

  7. I actually dislike that question because people are always like, what do YOU think is a good book? They usually have no idea what kind of books they like. Um. That makes answering infinitely harder, yo! I also ALWAYS recommend The Hunger Games (you'd be surprised how few people I know have actually read it), and if they HAVE read it I say Divergent. Other auto recs are Anna and the French Kiss (if they like romance), The Fault in Our Stars and If You Find Me. And that's it. It's so hard!!


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