Monday, June 11, 2012

When reluctant readers grow up

I've just returned from a family wedding that also served as a long-overdue reunion. As always, there were connections over books; one person at my far-from-Brookline table remembered when my place of employment was known as Paperback Booksmith.

But the literary connections didn't start there. On the first leg of the trip, the passenger behind me noticed that I was reading - not so much what I was reading (a middle-grade novel I'm reviewing), but just the fact that I'd gotten somewhere in a book in the time we'd been sitting there. I explained in response to his questions that I was reviewing the book in hand, that I work in the kids' section of a bookstore, and that books are a pretty huge part of my life. He seemed both interested in hearing about engaging with books and eager to talk about how he rarely has, how he used to write book reports based on the flap copy and how a book really has to hook him to make him keep reading. I threw out a few suggestions and compared the fun of caring too much about whether a movie will get the book right to rooting for a sports team.

Not everyone has to enjoy reading, but he seemed interested, at least in the idea of reading. I don't often get to make suggestions for reluctant or hesitant adult readers (the whys and wheres of who chooses books for whom being a subject for another post), but I found myself going down paths similar to those I take for kids and teens who haven't found the right book. What kinds of movies does the person like? He or she might like books in the same genre. In fact, if a movie the reader likes came from a book, that might make it easier to visualize the story. And speaking of visualizing, have you thought about graphic novels?...


  1. He might be more into nonfiction than fiction. You rarely, if ever, have to read nonfiction in school, aside from textbooks.

  2. :nod: That occurred to me after I got off the bus. NF is also great because it comes in so many different formats, and many of them are easy to dip into without necessarily having to read cover to cover.