Go look at this list and before you go I’ll give you my opinion: this list is mostly BS. It always strikes me as strange how it seems always to be women giving advice on ‘reading-reluctant boys’ or ‘how to be a gentleman’ I sometimes wonder if this isn’t because men don’t care; but rather because a lot of women are nosey-parkers who don’t feel right unless they are giving advice to males… Whew! that wasn’t very nice of me, was it…
Let me continue complaining for a bit: ‘reading reluctant boys’ is actually fairly offensive. To make up a euphemism for someone who doesn’t like to read, and then talk about it only for boys is, well, forgetting that girls don’t read anything either. (…and thrill-loving girls, says the sub-title.) It is also a bit dumb to imply that boys need anything other than a well written, interesting story which is the exact same thing that a girl who doesn’t read needs. How about instead: books for children who haven’t learned to like reading? Or, books for anyone who doesn’t like to read but might want to give it a whirl… I guarantee that a large number of adults don’t read either.
As for books recommended for those who don’t like to read, The Woman in White is NOT one of them. The Woman in White made me almost want to give up reading as a pastime it was so boring and irritating. Also, the Horatio Hornblower books are formulaic and badly written. The only winner in the bunch is Dracula by Bram Stoker, and perhaps A Princess of Mars, which was entertaining, though perhaps neither are what I would recommend for someone who doesn’t really like reading yet.
So I will make two lists, one more tailored to young-ish audiences and one for adults who say ‘Oh, I don’t read…’ The criteria are very simple. In fact they are so simple that I have the same criteria for both lists.
1: Interesting 2: Well-written 3: Worth the time
#5 Farmer Giles of Ham
Dragons, common folk doing uncommon things… an intelligent horse… and a dog that talks vernacular (while the people talk Latin… :) )
#4 Sure, let’s leave Dracula on the list
The original bloodsucker. Who 1) tolerates sunlight just fine and 2) is indisputably evil. None of the anti-hero BS.
#3 Ender’s Game
The movie misses the book entirely in pacing. I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but the movie should have been less accurate to the book. The pacing and the moving around works for the book, but the movie is mostly a jumble.
#2 Nightmare City
Perhaps one of the best YA fiction. I read it without knowing for sure that is what it was intended for.
#1 A Journey to the Center of the Earth (Or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)
Jules Verne is the best. After this one, and 20,00 Leagues Under the Sea, you should definitely pick up The Mysterious Island…
‘Oh, I don’t read-ers’
Well, maybe sometime, when you wonder what do do with a tad bit of leisure, pick up one of these and try reading again: not for school, not because someone told you to read it, but because it will actually be fun. and worth the time. (As opposed to TV which may be fun, and is almost never worth the time.)
#5 Hey let’s put Dracula here too!
#4 The Scarlet Letter
I included this one because so many people think they know the story. So many people think its about sin and unjust societal retribution. In fact, it is about forgiveness and the human condition. And it is well written, and it is interesting… and obviously worth the time :) This is, in fact, the first book I ever sacrificed sleep to read. I read the entire book starting just before bedtime, and (not wanting to sleep) I read it after bedtime until around 2 am to finish it. I think I was 12(ish).
#3 Just after sunset
A collection of short stories/ novellas that are fast paced, interesting. I especially recommend ‘N’.
#2 A Killer in the Wind
This book is also a fast paced thriller (duh, read the title) but it is also perceptive and philosophically deep without ever losing the thriller pacing. quite an accomplishment.
#1 Out of the Silent Planet
C.S. Lewis has to make every list at some point… (perhaps we can leave him off the ‘brilliant physicist list… :) ) Read this one, then read Perelandra, then you will be ready for That Hideous Strength.