So, you say you hate reading, huh? As a devoted and perhaps borderline obsessive reader myself, I am always shocked when I hear people say they don't like books, but there are plenty of excuses that people give for their lack of interest. Some claim it makes their eyes hurt and gives them a headache. Others complain they can't keep track of characters from one chapter to the next. For a lot of non-readers, there was that one English teacher in high school who sucked all the joy out of the activity, leaving them unable to look at a book the same since.If you count yourself among those who "hate" reading, I have some news for you: reading is awesome, and you probably don't dislike it as much as you think. You just haven't found the right book yet.
Reading can be a challenge, of course. It is more time-consuming than other form of storytelling entertainment like movies and television, and in today's fast-paced world, who has time to commit to a thick novel, anyway? But reading is so much more rewarding than clicking "Watch Again" on Netflix. Reading stimulates the mind, soothes the soul, and even improves vocabulary, memory, and concentration. With those kinds of benefits, isn't it time you gave reading another try?
It's easy to be intimidated by those of us who are reading-obsessed, and thus turned off to the whole activity. We carry around battered copies of Victorian classics, we debate the future of the literary canon, and we always seem to be reading more than one book at once. The truth is, though, there is plenty of room for other kinds of readers out there, yourself included. Not every book selection has to be a classic, not every novel has to be Pulitzer Prize-worthy, and there is no shame in trying out new genres. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to love Dickens, Shakespeare, and Joyce to love reading. You can love solving a mystery, or getting caught up in someone else's romance. You can enjoy fantasies and adventures rather than social critique and political criticism. To love reading, all you must do is love to be entertained, and ready to do a little work for it.
Still not convinced? Here are 9 books to try if you think you "hate" reading (but I promise, you don't):
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast
If you don't like reading, it could be due in part to the format of your reading selections. Sweeping narrations spanning 600 pages isn't for everyone, but Roz Chast's memoir just may be. A graphic novel featuring four-color illustrations, photos, and documents, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? chronicles the last years of Chast's parents' lives. If you think that sounds depressing, think again: though it does deal with loss, this book-in-illustrations is charming, heartwarming, and at times, flat-out hilarious.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Remember that reading can make you LOL? Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians , which features crazy, intrusive relatives, manipulative socialites, and an obscene amount of money, is even funnier than the title itself. An easy, enjoyable read, this rom-com of a novel will have you rethinking your distaste for books.
Damage Done by Amanda Panitch
If you don't like reading because you've constantly been given lengthy adult titles, try your hand at YA instead. Not really just for teens anymore, the young adult genre has a lot to offer: action, romance, mystery, you name it. In Amanda Panitch's Damage Done , there is plenty of heart-pounding action and suspense, not to mention a twist, to keep non-readers interested. If you're a fan of shows like Pretty Little Liars or Revenge, give this book a try, and you might find yourself more reading-inclined.
Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler
It's no secret that I love Octavia Butler's work, and I would recommend her books to readers and non-readers alike. Bloodchild and Other Stories , however, is a particularly great collection to those who "hate" reading because it offers short stories that help new readers dip their toes into the world of science fiction. Sometimes scary, sometimes gruesome, but always imaginative and thought-provoking, the stories in Bloodchild have the power to transform non-readers into sci-fi nerds at the turn of a page.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
You've seen all the movies, but if you are a reading-hater, then you might not have known the Spielberg flick was based on a novel of the same name. An action-packed, thrill-seeking page-turner, Jurassic Park is a fantastic read for non-readers because it's paced like a movie. Bonus: If you're one of those readers who suffers from memory lapse and struggles to keep plot details straight, reading a book after seeing its film-adaptation will help dismiss those worries. I promise, it's still as good even though you know what happens.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
You don't have to love Shakespeare to enjoy reading plays. Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? features some of the greatest dialogue ever written, and some of the most entertaining, outrageous characters. If you are one of those people who skip over long descriptive passages and instead scan the page looking for quotation marks, then plays could be your gateway to loving reading.
Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois
Sure, I could tell you to read Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train , both fantastic, suspenseful murder-mystery novels that readers everywhere have suggested to one another, but since you've probably gotten enough of that already, why don't you give Cartwheel a try? The "ripped from the headlines" plot is based on the real-life murder of Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox's roommate, and the trial that followed. This dark-and-twisty novel will keep even the most avid reading-haters turning the pages.
Jazz by Toni Morrison
Set in Harlem in the 1920's, Jazz tells the story of Violet Trace, her husband Joe, and Joe's murdered teenage lover, Dorcas. Told in shifting perspectives with the help of untrustworthy narrators, this book is as difficult to predict and as enjoyable to experience as jazz music itself. Once you think you've got a handle on the melody, a new tone takes over, and isn't that half the fun? A vibrant story without pretension, Jazz will invite non-readers to finally embrace the world of the literary canon, one novel at a time.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Coming in at 400 pages, The Kite Runner 's length may turn some reading-haters away, but every word on every page is worth the time investment. Hosseini's novel, set against the backdrop of a tumultuous time in Afghanistan, tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a wealthy child and his father's servant. Educational and accurate in its portrayal of a country on it's way to ruin, The Kite Runner is able to balance fantastic storytelling and cultural exploration. A multi-layered tale about friendship, family, trust, and betrayal, give this one a chance — even if you "hate" reading, you'll love this amazing story.