Top 5 Books for People Who Don’t Read

Some may know the phrase “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” to guide Christmas gift buyers, instructing them to purchase something their recipient wants, something they need, clothes for them to wear, and a book for them to read. While this rhyme serves as inspiration for the unimaginative gift buyer, unfortunately, some people may not be excited to open their “something to read” this holiday season. The truth is, some people just do not enjoy reading, and I’m sure we all have someone in our lives who denounce reading as “boring,” “nerdy,” and “just not their thing.”

Avoiding purchasing them a book as a holiday gift may seem like the obvious solution. However, what if I told you that there are numerous resources out there that list books for people who don’t like to read? That’s right, many writers and bloggers (including this one) have taken this conundrum to heart and dredged up the best books for the non-readers in our lives.

They’ll probably still be taken aback when they unwrap their something to read, but when you gift a book to someone, they receive so much more than the physical object. Give the gift of reading this holiday season by finding just the right book for the reading un-enthusiast in your life, and introduce them to the multitude of cognitive and emotional benefits of sitting back with a good book.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day is my #1 recommendation for people who do not like to read. This essay collection takes the pressure off finishing the book. Each essay—which hilariously details some event or experience from Sedaris’ life—can easily be completed in one sitting, which means that your reading indifferent friend doesn’t have to commit to hours of reading to finish the story; they can read a 10-minute essay whenever they have time. Sedaris has a unique look on the world and his life, and he has a real knack for inserting humor into his storytelling. I have read, and even reread, some of the essays from Me Talk Pretty One Day, and I can contest that this is probably one of the funniest books ever written, and it is, therefore, more engaging than a dryer or more matter-of-fact novel. In the earlier parts of my relationship, I used to read this book to my partner to help them sleep, specifically because of this book’s universally amusing writing style and content. My partner probably hasn’t read a book since high school, and if they liked it, surely the book un-enthusiasts in your life will too!

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

For those who really groan at words on a page, Fun Home, a graphic novel, may be a welcomed surprise. I still remember reading this book as a teenager, and, like David Sedaris, Bechdel’s unique and comical worldview shows in her writing. Fun Home, dubbed a “tragicomedy” for its simultaneous tragic and comedic elements, is an autobiographical account of Bechdel’s life growing up as a queer female and the challenges she faced as such. Anyone who has heard of the Bechdel test—a “test” to determine the amount of female representation in a film—is familiar with some of Alison Bechdel’s work and should not hesitate to check out Fun Home or gift it to a friend. Graphic novels in general take the strain off reading large blocks of monotonous text and are more engaging for nonreaders or people who prefer visual media, such as movie lovers.

Lies My History Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen

While I’m sure all the history buffs in your life have a healthy respect for the written word (what better way is there to learn about history?), you do not have to be a history buff to find Loewen’s book fascinating. You don’t even have to enjoy reading either! The content works for itself, pointing out all the enthralling inaccuracies from the history textbooks many of us learned from in school. This book teaches about the forgotten pieces of our collective past and is, therefore, relevant to anyone who picks it up and inarguably important, as it preserves history’s fragile relics. Lies My History Teacher Told Me is interesting enough to make even the most reading-adverse person dare to open its cover. I mean, aren’t you curious about what parts of history your teacher left out?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Your non-reader may be more familiar with the movie series than the books that preceded it. Regardless, The Hunger Games is undoubted one of the most beloved young adult series. If it captured the hearts of people across the world, it could capture the heart of your nonreader, right? The Hunger Games takes place in a futuristic dystopian world where a selected number of teenagers are pitted against each other in a yearly televised battle to the death. The series’ charismatic protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, keeps her audiences enthralled as she tries to survive the Hunger Games and its aftermath while resisting the cruel government that relishes in the bloody event. Since The Hunger Games is a young adult series, it is relatively short, easy to read, fast-paced, and full of action, enough to keep even the most apathetic readers turning pages until the end.

The Books of Stephen King

Stephen King wrote 63 novels across his decades-long career as one of the most well-known horror writers of all time. He is often denounced in English classes as “not true literature” due to the lack of depth in his books, but Stephen King is not meant to be deep. He designs his stories for the average reader, who crave not literary masterwork but fun, enthralling, heart-stopping horror, and Stephen King delivers just that! His books are incredibly engaging with fast-paced, action-packed and, sometimes, truly terrifying plots and characters so realistic, they could be any random person from off the street, which only makes their experiences more frightening. You do not have to like reading in any capacity to find yourself white knuckling a Stephen King novel, and his books truly are the most engaging I’ve read; they are so hard to put down. Some Stephen King books I would recommend include Carrie, Pet Semetary, Salem’s Lot, and Cujo, but there are so many more, and you can certainly find the perfect one to gift the reading adverse people in your life!

With these recommendations, you are now equipped to think a little deeper when deciding your “something to read” this holiday season. Don’t just get your giftee a coffee table book. Buy them something they’ll truly love to read again and again…or at least once. Fingers crossed they at least pick it up.


  1. Williams, Melyssa. “I Hate Reading: 10 Books for Book Haters.” All Gifts Considered. 31 July 2020.
  2. Nordstrom, Lila. “11 Books to Give Friends Who Say That Hate to Read.” Bustle. 16 June 2015

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