When I was in high school, I used to volunteer in the school library as a student library aid. Oftentimes we had students come in looking for books they didn’t necessarily want to read but had to. They didn’t enjoy reading recreationally and definitely weren’t looking forward to a new book report-type project.
As any reader knows, it’s a lot more difficult to offer recommendations to someone who is looking for “a book” rather than someone looking for a fantasy title, something like “American Gods” by Brandon Sanderson. Luckily, there are other ways to find a potential match between prospective reader and future favorite:
Reading Taste by Music Taste – What does your reluctant reader like to listen to? Are there any particular albums or artists that they love? Many of us have grown up surrounded by music, whether it be in the form of radio, live performances, or playing instruments.
I love coming up with playlists to listen to while I’m working on my own writing. It’s just as easy to create a reading list of books with similar vibes to the songs on an album!
Book-to-Movie/Television Adaptations – This is one of the easiest places to start. The Hunger Games started as a novel. So did The Book Thief, Divergent, and a thousand other popular films. Did your reluctant reader enjoy any of them? If so, it’s worth recommending they take a gander at the original source material.
Based on Hobby/Interest – My high school’s library is pretty small. No matter where you are in the main room, you can usually hear a plethora of different conversations. One overheard conversation that I remember happened between one of my classmates and another library assistant.
The student said that he hated books because, “He was just reading lies. None of the story actually happened in real life.” I had always assumed that was the point; to escape reality for a little while. That comment made me rethink the reasons I read. The two of them eventually realized that he didn’t necessarily hate reading itself, just fiction.
If you come across a reluctant reader with a similar problem, try asking about their hobbies and interests. Are they fascinated by astrology? Do they love mountain climbing or learning about historical events? Wherever their interest lies, chances are there’s a nonfiction book out there that will suit them perfectly.
I think any dislike of reading can be cured with the right book. It’s just a matter of matching one to a reader. There are plenty of other ways to make recommendations, but here are a few simple ones to get started. 😊