5 books to woo new readers

Which books are so special they could win over non readers and get them to  fall in love with reading?

That’s the question posed by the organisers of World Book Night 2013.

They want books that would encourage people who are not regular readers, to pick up a book.

It’s a tough question.

I’m thinking there are some must haves:

  • an absorbing storyline/plot;
  • compelling characters;
  • atmospheric setting and
  • relatable situations or issues.

The chosen books also have to be readable. That doesn’t mean they are ‘easy to read’ or ‘simple’. It does mean they have to be written in a style that is accessible. So no ultra literary or experimentational novels written in stream of consciousness or without punctuation; chapter headings and speech tags.

5 recommendations for World Book Night 

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This one would appeal to romantics. It’s gothic elements could interest those who enjoy something a little darker.
  • Station Eleven by Emily St Mantel. A sci fi novel that asks us to imagine how we would survive in a world in chaos.
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot (such a touching story)
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

World Book Night

In 2012  more than 70,000 books were delivered free to the hardest-to reach potential readers: people in 110 prisons and young offenders institutes; care homes; hospitals and homeless shelters.

Nominations are now open for titles that will be distributed as part of next year’s World Book Night. The 100 most nominated titles will be reviewed by a selection committee of journalists, authors, publishers and librarians and a final list of  25 titles chosen.

Suggestions can cover any genre of book – fiction or non-fiction, crime, thrillers, romance, sagas, sci-fi, fantasy, classics, literature, poetry, biography, young adult. The only rule is that it can’t be a title or an author that’s already featured in 2012 or 2011.  Register on the website at http://www.worldbooknight.org/ to take part.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

4 thoughts on “5 books to woo new readers

  • July 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    And if an author makes up his own quotes when writing about a famous person … should his entire book be deemed not worth reading?
    I don’t know much about the Mortenson book and since I haven’t read it, I haven’t followed the controversy that closely. I just wanted to mention it to give you an opportunity to make up your own mind. That said, I doubt that the judges who decides which books to use for World Book Night would use this book when at least parts of it are questioned.

  • July 30, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I don’t think you should nominate the Greg Mortenson book – there has been a lot of controversy about it. I haven’t read the book but as I understood it, he has embellished heavily on what he actually achieved and I think there were some issues with the money as well – I don’t think all of them went where they were supposed to…

    • July 30, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      I checked out some info on Mortenson. It seems a lot of allegations that haven’t been proven (or disproven to be fair). He was the subject of a class action in Montana but at least two of the claimants dropped out (one said she hadn’t even read the book). The Attorney General said there wasn’t any evidence of criminal action though funds had been used for the wrong reasons.
      But your comment raises an interesting question – and I wonder how far the question extends. So for example, if there are allegations (allegations not proof) that Author A used the plot of Author B and then Author A wins a prize – should we not read it or tell friends about it? Does knowing there is some doubt about authenticity of Mortenson’s book change my response to it – difficult one that. it doesn’t change how I felt about it at the time which was that it was an incredible story. Now I know there are question marks, the impact is certainly reduced. Hmm still thinking about this one

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