13 Books To Give Friends Who Say They Hate To Read

Get them hooked with one of these compelling titles.

by Lila Nordstrom and K.W. Colyard
Originally Published: 
Books for people who don't like to read, including 'Fuzz,' 'Opal & Nev,' and more.

If you’re a book nerd, you probably have plenty of smart, articulate, interesting friends who... haven’t picked up a book in years. Maybe it’s because their love of television and film is just that deep. Maybe they prefer Dungeons & Dragons or video games to reading. Or maybe they’re just having a little trouble focusing these days. Whatever the case, you can help remedy the situation. Your friends have probably given you a laundry list of movie, TV, and music recommendations, so why not return the favor by recommending a few books for people who don’t like to read?

To get your non-reading friends to crack a book, you’ve got to play to their interests, not yours — as this unfortunate Redditor found out at their Secret Santa party. Thankfully, there’s a title that will appeal to everyone, from movie buffs to TikTokers and everyone in-between. This list takes out the guesswork, explaining exactly why each book is perfect for your book-averse friends, and which type of friend is best suited to each pick.

Below, check out the best books for people who don’t like to read.

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For the Marathon-Watcher: Welcome to Dunder-Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office

From The Office actor Brian Baumgartner and executive producer Ben Silverman comes Welcome to Dunder-Mifflin, a comprehensive history of the beloved sitcom, told from the perspectives of those who worked to bring your favorite characters to life. (Read a sneak peek, about the making of Jim and Pam’s wedding episode, here.)

For the TikToker: A Touch of Jen

With the ascendance of TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter has come the rise of the parasocial relationship: the one-way bond between a fan and the object of their obsession. In Beth Morgan’s 2021 debut, A Touch of Jen, those relationships play out to great effect.

For the Activist: Unbound: The Story of My Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement

It’s difficult to overstate the effect #MeToo — a movement begun by activist Tarana Burke — has had on American culture. Although the day when victims are sure to receive justice is still, unfortunately, far away, Burke’s work has forever changed the way we talk about sexual harassment and assault. She tells her story in Unbound.

For the One Who’s Always Redecorating: Modern Americana

With many Americans fully embracing hygge in the age of social distancing, your interior design-loving friend will very much appreciate a copy of Modern Americana: a new title celebrating all the home decor trends that inspire feelings of nostalgia and comfort.

For the Audiophile: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

Perfect for music lovers, this novel will also delight fans of Daisy Jones and The Six. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev follows the eponymous duo from the height of their musical careers to their fraught reunion, years down the line.

For the Royal Watcher: The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters

As the daughters of Winston Churchill, Diana, Sarah, and Mary Churchill were never out of the spotlight. Surrounded by some of the UK’s most influential social and political figures, the three siblings were able to forge their own paths in prewar Europe. This group biography from Before Wallis author Rachel Trethewey is sure to delight the Anglophile in your life.

For the Horror Fan: Night Rooms

Horror fans will find Gina Nutt’s essay collection, Night Rooms, highly thought-provoking. Here, Nutt examines her real-life experiences through the lens of horror tropes.

For the One Who Loves a Good Docu-Series: Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

In Cultish, Amanda Montell takes a wide view of what qualifies as a “cult,” examining the troubling behavioral patterns seen in everything from multi-level marketing companies (hello, LuLaRoe) to beloved fitness franchises to start-ups.

For the History Geek: On Juneteenth

From the author of The Hemingses of Monticello comes On Juneteenth, an in-depth look at the titular holiday. Spanning more than 150 years of American history, the book traces Juneteenth from its origins in Galveston, Texas to its place in contemporary culture.

For the Outdoorsy One: In the Eye of the Wild

In her book In the Eye of the Wild, French anthropologist Nastassja Martin recounts her confrontation with a bear in the Russian wilderness, connecting her experience to larger questions about the relationship between humans and animals.

For the Plant Parent: Wild Creations: Inspiring Projects to Create, Plus Plant Care Tips & Styling Ideas for Your Own Wild Interior

Wild at Home author Hilton Carter also penned this tome for plant parents, which offers readers 25 DIY projects that promise to bring the “wild” indoors, as well as handy how-to guides for plant management.

For the Theater Nerd: A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance

Taking its title from Josephine Baker’s powerful speech at the 1963 March on Washington, Hanif Abdurraqib’s A Little Devil in America examines the ways in which Black performance has evolved, often in lock-step, with American culture. The scope of Abdurraqib’s thoughtful history goes far beyond theater, but your dramaturgy-loving friend will enjoy it nonetheless.

For the Animal-Lover: Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

Acclaimed author Mary Roach’s latest is Fuzz, a look at how humans have historically wrestled with animals whose antics endanger (or at least peeve) society. Humorous and informative, it’s the ideal pick for your animal-loving friends — promise.

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