5 books for the person who hasn’t read a book in years


This is going to be one of the hardest topics I’ve covered yet. As a bookseller I often get customers in who haven’t read a book in years, but who want to begin reading again. They ask for recommendations and this is probably the hardest request a bookseller has to fulfill, so I’m sharing my go-to books for such a situation.

This week’s topic: 5 books for the person who hasn’t read a book in years (but suddenly wants to start reading again)

  1. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – This is a great book for the person who likes a good adventure with some humour in it. It jumps time lines, from a humourous story of an old man just trying to get away from all the excitement surrounding his 100th birthday and randomly stealing some important luggage from a young thug who made him angry, then back to his past where he has randomly influences major events in world history just by being his pragmatic self.
  2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – I recommend this book to the person who tells me they like lighter romance that still has some depth to it. Don is a really smart guy who just doesn’t connect with others that well. In his attempt to find a life partner he makes the mistake of assuming that the woman his best friend and colleague sent to his office is actually a candidate for “The Wife Project”. This book is cute, funny, and Don will likely remind people of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.
  3. The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks – These are for the person who likes epic fantasy but hasn’t been able to find a new series that captures their interest. I’m honestly surprised at how many people don’t know about these books. It has orphans, assassins, damsels in distress (and others who kick butt), magic swords, and sorcery. The characters are interesting and the story is fast-paced and engaging. Everyone that I have sold these books to has come back to let me know how much they enjoyed reading them.
  4. The Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper – This is a book for the person who read The DaVinci Code and hasn’t read anything since. It’s actually a series, but I think the first book is the best and can be read on its own. A nearly retired FBI agent is assigned a case that no one else can seem to solve. Random people have been receiving postcards with the date and time of their death written on it, but each death is different and totally unexplainable.
  5. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – I recommend this book for the adult who read Twilight when it was hot but now needs something more grown up. This series still has all the pretty vampires and other cool paranormal creatures that we have come to know and love, but the relationships are more mature, the setting jumps around in the past and present, and there are some interesting historical figures that show up to keep the more academically inclined readers interested.

What are your go-to books when people ask for recommendations? Tell me about them in the comments!


12 thoughts on “5 books for the person who hasn’t read a book in years

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  1. Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Everything, Everything, and The Bridges of Madison County


    1. Great list! The Art of Racing in the Rain is another one of my go-to books, even though I actually haven’t read it. I’ve been given the rundown by one of my coworkers, so I often share it with people who have expressed their love of dogs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I find non readers are easily overwhelmed by the length of some current tomes, The Goldfinch, The Luminaries, etc. I would probably recommend some shorter works to get them started like Bonjour Tristesse or some novellas.


    1. Yeah, those big books can even intimidate me sometimes! I’m always a bit annoyed when people choose those books right after telling me that they don’t read much. I’m happy that people want to push themselves, but sometimes you have to work your way up to those giant literary bricks. I just hate knowing that it’s going to be returned the following week because they didn’t take my advice.


  3. The Night Angel Trilogy is a really great series. I have read it three times now.
    The other books I don’t know about, but I’ll check them out.
    I’d maybe recommend a book by Karin Slaughter, if they were into thrillers. The Color of magic by Terry Pratchett I have enjoyed as well and read a lot of times.


    1. Pratchett would definitely be good for someone looking for a funny fantasy series that will keep them going for a while.

      I haven’t read any of Karen Slaughter’s books yet, but they do look good. I have a lot of customers who are always looking for new thriller authors, so I’ll have to keep her in mind.


      1. If they’re looking for new thriller authors maybe they would like the books by Sebastian Fitzek. I’ve read all but the latest two (don’t own them yet) more than once.


  4. The Rosie Project is a great one! I would also add One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. A bit more of a serious topic, but still an easy read with a bit of a substance to it.


  5. It depends on what kind of reader the person is and what they usually prefer but I recommend these often: “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, “The Book of Night Women” by Marlon James (LOVED this book), “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz, “Linden Hills” by Gloria Naylor, and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by JK Rowling. I love fantasy but surprisingly the majority of books I recommend aren’t.


    1. Haha, I know what you mean, I always seem to be recommending books outside of my preferred genre. I love meeting customers who have the same taste as me because then I can spend hours just walking around talking to them about our favourite books. 🙂


      1. I love it when that happens, when I run into a stranger who enjoys the same book as me. That happened a few times on the train when someone saw me reading one of the Wheel of Time books and another time when I was reading the Sparknotes for The Lord of the Rings books, which was funny because it was an older gentleman who had read it as a kid and was wondering why on earth would I read the Sparknotes instead of the actual book. I read the book before the Sparknotes, btw.


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