The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us and has compelled us to stay locked in our homes. Although, by now lockdowns have been gradually lifted everywhere, people are still trying to remain in their homes as much as possible. Other than watching web/television series and films, reading books has become one of the foremost ways people are making use of this surplus time in their hands. However, not all of us are readers and some people would want to give reading a chance during this uncertain period. So, a couple of days back I went on my Instagram and asked if non-readers would like the idea of beginning to read books. Having received a positive response, I have sat down and curated a list of books (from what I have read) that can encourage non-readers to get into the habit of reading.
1- The White Tiger by Arvind Adiga- The Booker-Prize winning debut novel traces the journey of a village boy, Balram Halwai, as he makes his way from a rural village in Bihar to urban metropolitan cities like Delhi and Bangalore. It is a fantastic book that will colour your reading experience with simple language, engaging prose and a thoroughly intriguing plot. If you wish to start reading Indian writing in English, this is the book begin with. A Netflix adaptation of the book starring Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar will soon be released. Read it before it comes out!
2- Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Translated by Edith Grossman)- If you wish to read a small book that will make you enthralled by its themes of love, mysticism, and magical realism, Marquez, the Nobel Prize-winning-author is the one to get started with. It is the story of a 12-year old girl named Seirva Maria, who contracts rabies but is believed to be possessed by a demon and hence, is sent to a convent to be cured. It is a 160-page book written in a beautiful language. The book is a page-turner and before you realise, you will finish it in no time.
3- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon- If you are on the lookout for a Young Adult book and you are wondering where to start, I would suggest you to pick up Nicola Yoon’s books. Yoon has penned down the story of Natasha and Daniel in her award-winning novel ‘The Sun is Also a Star’. Natasha’s father’s wish to lead a beautiful life in America has toppled down when they get the notice of their deportation to Jamaica in the next twenty four hours. Daniel’s parents’ wishes to see their son become a doctor are worrying them as they see Daniel being reluctant to pursue the Dream. Daniel and Natasha, both under their family’s pressure, seem to have forgotten that their Home is depleting as their families push them ahead and ahead until they are lost. ‘The Sun is also a Star’ is an easy read and a perfect pick for a contemporary YA fiction that keeps your attention gripped from the beginning to the end. The film starring Charles Melton and Yara Sahhidi released last year.
4- The Color Purple by Alice Walker- If you are looking for Black writers and literature written by Black author about the Black experiences in a racist society, Walker’s ‘The Color Purple’ is the one to begin with. I have known people who have actually read this book for the first time when they tried reading a book and they have been thoroughly moved by this book. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book is a novel that focuses on the life of two sisters, Celie and Nettie. The themes and the manner in which it is written will slit your heart and leave you shaken. Just so you know, it is a sad and heartbreaking book with violent themes.
5- The Three Electroknights and other stories by Stainsław Lem (Translated by by Michael Kandel)- The 50-page, mini-penguin edition of this short story collection has four stories from a renowned Polish author. If you are looking for sci-fiction, this mini-short story collection, in my opinion, is a good choice to begin with. The four stories features crazy inventors, surreal worlds, robot kings and madcap machines. I finished reading these in less than two hours. The stories kept me thoroughly engrossed.
For now, I will leave you with these five recommendations. I have chosen books from different genres and books that I have suggested and have been liked by people who never read or don’t read habitually. I have also kept in mind the cost while curating this list. The books mentioned would not be too heavy on your pockets and you may easily find second-hand versions of the books elsewhere. If you plan to pick any one or if you have read any, do let me know. I would be glad to hear from you. If you have read anyone of these and wish to read something similar to any particular from the list, do feel free to write to me. I will try my best to suggest others as well. Happy Reading.
PS- All pictures are clicked by me.