How to Encourage Others to Read

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

I have been wanting to write more discussion posts, and I thought that participating in Let’s Talk Bookish would be the perfect way to get in the habit of doing so. I love reading everyone’s opinions each week!

This week’s topic is an interesting one, and it is about how to encourage others to read. I have some thoughts!

I am someone who believes that no one should be forced to read. Many people I am close would not consider themselves readers, and I would never pressure them to read or think of them differently because they don’t. We all have different hobbies and interests- that is what makes us unique!

If I knew that someone wanted to start reading but didn’t know where to start, then that is a different story! I have a few books that I universally recommend to anyone (I will write a post on this in the future!), so I would probably start there. If I had a better understanding of their interests outside of reading, I would try to find a book recommendation that was better tailored to them. I also find myself recommending thrillers/mysteries quite often, as they are usually page-turners and keep the reader guessing.

I honestly believe that being required to read Shakespeare and books like Catcher in the Rye in schools has turned many people off from reading. In their mind, reading is boring and something that they are being forced to do. I myself struggled with this and took a couple years off from reading after high school. I think when you are required to dissect a book to death, the joy of simply reading for fun can be lost. It only takes one really amazing book to change your entire perspective on reading.

I also think that my passion for reading and the fact that I run this blog and talk about books all the time gets some people in my life excited about the idea of reading and can change their perception of it. My best friend is not a big reader, but if I find a book I think he will love, he will read it! He trusts my recommendations and the fact that I know his tastes. We even buddy read a book together this summer (The One by John Marrs), and he cannot stop talking about it. He even bought a copy for his mom and another friend of his. It is all about making sure someone is reading the right book for them!

Another interesting development is that my mom is starting to fall in love with reading. Growing up, I remember her reading a lot more but now she spends more time on her tablet. I think the pandemic has her mind spinning and she is looking for new outlets. She sees how much comfort I get from reading, so I suggested that she give it a chance. I know my mother very well and knew that she would be very picky, so I started with a pretty safe bet and put Where the Crawdads Sing in her hands. She absolutely loved it and is now reading all the historical fiction focused on women that she can get her hands on. I am constantly on the hunt for books that she will love, which is so fun for me!

As you can see, I never go out of my way to encourage others to read. Sometimes my passion for it rubs off on them, and other times I read a book that I know someone will love and I cannot stop myself from telling them about it. Recommending books to others is one of my favourite things to do, but I never want to feel like I’m pressuring a nonreader into becoming a reader. If someone tells me they hate reading, I believe them! As I said, we all have different passions!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! What do you think about encouraging others to read? What is a book that you would recommend to someone who says they hate reading?

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29 thoughts on “How to Encourage Others to Read

  1. I’ve found with a lot of people in my life, especially my parents, they are often so tired at the end of the day, they could never focus on reading a book and I get that. Whenever my job became more demanding, I, too, didn’t read as much as before. I feel like a lot of people require more energy to read and if they don’t have it and loose track of the story, because they barely get through 2 pages a day, it makes no sense to keep pushing books at them.
    Like you, I never go out of my way to recommend stuff, unless I think it really fits their interest, but even then, I am hesitant to say, give someone a book as a gift, when I know they don’t have the time and/or interest in reading. It all really depends so much on the person.

  2. I completely agree with everything you said here, Kristin! I’m generally pretty active in encouraging others to read, but as you said, no one should ever feel like they’re being forced to pick up a book! I can also relate about required reading taking the fun out of reading for pleasure. Analysis, analysis, and more analysis can get exhausting, and it’s sad to see people think that all books are boring just because their required reading books were boring.

    It’s always so amazing when your recommendation ends up becoming someone’s new favorite book. It simply makes me want to burst from excitement! I love this discussion, Kristin! ❤️

  3. It’s not easy thing to encourage someone who hates reading. Book we think everybody will like is not exactly a book that person will like. Getting in love with reading is subjective matter. One need to find a book that make them fall in love and it surely won’t be the first book they get their hands on. I need to know what kind of story they like or maybe I will ask what movies they like and based on it I will recommend the book because I fell in love with reading that way. I liked watching Harry Potter and LOTR, Narnia and from those movie I picked books and I loved them more than movies and I never stopped reading after that. Great post!

  4. I agree. Even I don’t push after a point. I gifted a friend P.S. I love you because she loved the movie and trust me she didn’t read a page. I recommended And There Were None to a friend who wanted to start reading and she watched the adaptations instead. 😁 then I realized reading is something not everyone would want to do and there is no point pushing someone only to make them do something they don’t want to in the first place. It totally defeats the purpose.

  5. This was the perfect post to read. My friend who wants to become a reader was asking me for recs, she just never struck lucky with “the book” that would make her fall in love with reading. She loves GOT and is looking for an escapist fantasy with a story and characters that she would really get engrossed in. If you have any recs please share!

  6. You can definitely not force people to do something they really don’t want to! But I mean it is their loss , reading is the best haha!


  7. I love to give book recs 😂 especially to people who don’t like to read because I figure they just haven’t read the right book yet! I love the challenge of finding that exact book!

  8. I think it’s super important that every bookwyrm remembers that while encouragement is lovely we have to be careful to not try and force our hobby on people. Not everyone will love reading as deeply as we do. The world has a variety of different people and that’s what makes it fun.

    I’m glad that even though you don’t try to force people your passion encourages others. Sometimes just loving something loudly can change the way people think about it. I’ve helped a few of my friends remember why they used to love reading before high school sort of beat it out of them. Sometimes the best way to encourage a love of reading is just to let people see you loving it yourself.

    1. I loved reading your perspective. Thank you. I agree with everything you said. I wouldn’t want someone else to force their hobbies onto me, so I’m careful not to do that to others.

      I do think that the best way to encourage someone else to read it by simply loving it yourself!

  9. I loved reading this! That’s awesome that your best friend and mom both found amazing books because of your recommendation! 😃
    I usually find it hard to recommend books to others who aren’t readers because sometimes I think they don’t read the same genres as I do. I always feel so nervous about recommending books because I feel like they won’t like it. I am proud that I got my mum to read The Hate You Give this year as she won’t read young adult, but she actually read and enjoyed it. 🙂

  10. I love to encourage others to read – I get so much joy out of it that I want others to, as well! My sister tells me that I’m the one who got her back into reading several years ago – I was talking about books all the time, so it inspired her. My mom has never been a big reader, but I think she wants to read at least a little bit to fill her time. I try to find books that match her interests, either memoirs by celebrities that she likes or books that have a similar feel to Downton Abbey, which she loves. Most people don’t advertise what they’re reading as much as I do, so when I see someone talking about a book on social media or posting a picture, I always make sure to comment on it, ask what they thought, etc.

  11. I think the best way to encourage others to read is to hope they follow your example. The more you read, and the more you talk or write about books, the more people will get interested in reading. At least I think that is true. Mind you, it only worked for one of my three children. The other two… one reads rarely, the other not at all.

  12. What a great discussion post!! I read a lot of obscure and weird science fiction and fantasy, so I learned very quickly that what I loved might be too weird a starting point for my friends. that’s totally ok! I’m one of those people who has the attitude of “I don’t care what you read, so long as you are reading something you like”.

    believe it or not, I’ve found non-fiction has been really helpful in inspiring people to read. I have found some short non-fiction books (often books of essays, or books about women in leadership) and then I do a “read along” or ultra-casual book club at work, were we discuss one essay or one chapter per week. I was surprised at how well this worked!

    My mom loves Greek mythology, so I’ll talk to her about short stories I’m reading that are retellings or reworkings of mythology, and sometimes she will go read them too.

    1. I love weird SciFi!!

      I think you’re right about nonfiction. It is easier to understand a person’s taste in nonfiction versus fiction!

      I love that you and your mom share a love of Greek Mythology. I bet that leads to a lot of interesting discussions!

  13. I have read 6 books this summer and I’m well into number 7! My current read is The Woman before Wallis. Kristin has actually not read this one! I am grateful ro my daughter Kristin for so many things…reigniting my love of reading is but one!💕

  14. My thoughts on this are the same as yours: I don’t believe in forcing others to read. Family members and some friends who have children have tried to make me do so (or help them do so) to force their kids to love reading. But I try to explain that doing so can be even more discouraging. No one likes to be forced to do something. I’m always willing to recommend books, comics, picture books, audio books, or magazines that someone might like. Sometimes I think people wrongly assume a person does not like to read simply because the person does not read books. They often ignore interests in comics and graphic novels or in magazines and newspapers.

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