Lifestyle & Culture

Literature for the Lacking

Can’t seem to read a book for the life of you? Charlotte Lloyd’s got you covered with some tips, tricks, and recommendations for every (non) reader out there.

For many of us, opening up a book is an escape into another world; an escape from what we should be doing – uni work. And recently, with all the happenings around us, I have had more time for reading than I thought possible. This is a big win on my behalf.

However, despite this, it is understandable that people do find it difficult to read a chapter, let alone an entire book. Seeing the first page and the fear of a 300-or-so page commitment can be an overwhelming concept. Alternatively, books are tucked away until we are on holidays, or when the time ‘seems right’. All too often I have heard the phrase: ‘I just can’t read.’ And while this might be all well and true for some people – those that, no matter what type of book they end up with, cannot for the life of them read it – there are those who have never given it a chance.

Books can give us downtime from everything happening, whether it be work or study – anything really. They can also offer a much more in-depth version of a movie you’ve always wanted to see. (This being one of the many reasons I read books). By reading a book before the movie, you get so much more detail on the storyline than a movie can offer. Books are also a really great way of learning something new, such as a skill – even delving into some self-help can be extremely eye-opening for a lot of people. The guide below gives you some tips and tricks on how to pick and start a good book. I’ve also included some recommendations of books that I have found to be great reads from a variety of different genres. So take the leap. Turn the page!

  1. Not everything you read has to be fiction!

The idea that all I am talking about is novels can be highly stigmatised in today’s society. Sometimes the best books are those that are non-fiction and actually tell you something ‘real’ about the world. One of the best ways to read non-fiction is to go for a genre that will appeal to you for certain. Some of my favourite non-fiction genres are memoirs or autobiographies, self-help and fashion/arts. Of course, this expands beyond these four categories, but it should be known that it doesn’t have to be a fiction book to make you a reader.

2.  Look for recommendations

One way that I find a new book to read is to go off recommendations. If someone recommends reading a certain book, write it down then and there so you don’t forget it. By knowing that someone else has read it, it can help you understand a little bit more of what you’re in for than just reading a blurb online or in a store. Similar to this, bookshops, like Dymocks, always have a Top 101 list of the best books. These are a mix of fiction and non-fiction and are based on both their top-sellers and staff recommendations. By just looking through that, already I can see that they are enthralling books that get you from the first page, and are books which I have already heard so much about. In saying this though, take recommendations with a grain of salt as, just because someone enjoys a book, does not mean that everyone does. A lot of the time people read a book because it’s a ‘classic’, not because they’d actually enjoy it. You have to look at things you’re interested in, in order for you to successfully maintain interest and enjoyment while reading.

3. Give the book a chance

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover?’ Well, in this instance, I mean it literally. If you see a book that looks horrific and terrifying and just completely opposite of what you think you’d like, read the blurb as a way to gauge what you’re in for. As a child, my grandmother and I would go to the local library and pick out books. One way that we would do this would be to read the first paragraph or so, or even the first page. And I still do this today! It is an easy way to know if you’re engaged from the very start. If this doesn’t make you want to read the book then there is no point forcing yourself to like it if you just simply don’t. During high-school reading can be seen as a chore and the fact that you have read ‘this’ particular book makes people feel like they have no choice with reading or have the ability to choose what they like. But, sometimes, reading something that doesn’t entirely interest you from the start, ends up being a really good book once you’ve turned the last page. An example of this for me would be ‘The Lord of the Flies,’ by William Golding. This book was an extremely slow read and for the most part, I would struggle, not knowing if I would be able to finish it. But once I did finish, I found it not only eye-opening but deemed it a classic!

4. Read books that you’ve seen the movie to (or a movie you want to see)

If you have seen a movie and you absolutely enjoyed it and thought it was amazing, the chances are pretty high and almost certain that you’ll love the book. By reading a book before you watch the movie, or even after you’ve seen the movie, you all get so much more detail than you would get had you not read the book. Some of the best movies I have seen, have all been adapted from the book for the big screen and are so much more satisfying to watch once you’ve read it. Reading a book before seeing the movie means you get this idea in your head of how you think the characters look like, and the setting, and when you see this come to life, it allows you to say things like, ‘Ok, that is that character,’ and ‘Oh, that’s where this happened’ etc! Of course, books were written before we were offered this luxury, however, by having the pleasure of seeing a book being brought to life, we get a sense of satisfaction and joy from comparing what we’ve read to what we see.

Book Recommendations:

Young Adult (YA):

  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  • Tomorrow When the War Began – John Marsden


  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  • The Handmaid’s Tale  – Margaret Atwood


  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k – Mark Manson
  • Minimalism – Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists)
  • The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin


  • The Light Between Oceans – M. L. Stedman
  • The Nowhere Child – Christian White
  • The Dry – Jane Harper 

Book made Movie:

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • The Woman in the Window – A J Finn


All books above are available to purchase via Dymocks (excluding ‘Minimalism’).

Feature Image by Phoebe Metcalfe Photography

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