Prescription for a non-reader

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“But, I am not much of a reader”, these are the staple lines everybody throws my way whenever they see me with a book. My reply to the non-reading species is directly correlated to my level of acquaintance with them. Friends get, “You should try it sometime”. Acquaintances get a nod accompanied with a sympathetic smile and family usually gets a smart remark. I am not one of those who thinks reading would save the world and without reading we all are doomed to destruction. But, I am a strong believer in- a book maketh a man.
Yes, you are undoubtedly man and woman without reading, but reading makes you a man and woman of element. It adds more character to you and opens up windows to the way you look at the world. But then, I have come across way too many people than I dare count who say, “But, it is a task”. Yes, reading like any other activity is a task. It needs concentration and self-discipline (in the beginning). One cannot pick up Haruki Murakami on a random day and decide to read through his entire book. You need to warm up a little before you can get down to the main exercises.
Non-fiction has never been my forte, so you would find me stressing more on fiction. And if you are a novice reader non-fiction might not (might not, I never did say would not) interest you much. Here is a condensed list of books that beginner readers should give a shot at. (And yes, no Chetan Bhagat and E.L James).
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Pick up the Great Illustrated Classics’ version as it would be easier to understand. A German professor and his belief about the way to and the constituent of the center of the Earth leads to an epic and unforgettable journey. Penned decades ago, the book still manages to captivate the audience.
Great Illustrated Classics
Jules Verne
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Pick up the Penguin Classics’ version as the original work is lengthy (read, two volumes) and difficult (for a novice). Love, passion, drama, revenge, reunions- this is a story of a man’s determination and the tests he is put through. A classic good over evil story, but your heart would have run a mile and mind would be all over the place once you put down the book.
Penguin Classics
Alexandre Dumas
You must promote yourself now and read something which is simple yet complicated, which makes you smile right through your tears and the man who can do just about that is R.K Narayan. Read anything with his name on it- may it be Mr. Sampath-the printer of Malgudi or The World of Nagaraj or My Days, the man has a way with words (no wonder he could convince the world about the existence of Malgudi)
R.K Narayan and his works
R.K Narayan
a novel of Malgudi
R.K Narayan
For a beginner, reading all the works of R.K Narayan at a go can be difficult. So, I would recommend a dose of detective works in between.  You mean Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle? Yes, that and something with which you can relate to- read the Feluda series by Satyajit Ray (while moor may seem foreign, ghaats would seem closer home).
Ray and his works
Satyajit Ray and his works
And, once you are done chomping down on the works of these spectacular Indian authors, let’s relocate west for a while.
Jeffrey Archer
I recommend this guy for a very specific reason- he writes variety. You seem to know it all before you read his work, but the end would always leave you surprised. He writes love, life, hate, and gangster, everything rolled into one. Start with Cat O’ Nine Tales, To Cut a Long Story, A Quiver Full of Arrows- these and then some are a compilation of short stories, meaning- quick and easy.
reading is beleiving
Jeffrey Archer
Best of Jeffrey Archer
Jeffrey Archer
The Mystic Masseur by V.S Naipaul
For some, understanding an English book is as difficult as scaling a mountain. The brain forces them to look up every word which comes their way in the due course of which they either lose track of the plot or are delayed and eventually grow bored of reading the book. The Mystic Masseur is the book for you. Read it, live it and understand it-it’s a breeze which would incite a sense of belongingness within you. This book is a living example of-you can take a man out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the man.
people who make you wanna read
V.S Naipaul
And once you find your way back home from the laugh fair, pick up The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. The book would put you in a trance where you would wander around in endless expanses of a scorching hot golden desert. Philosophy and storytelling at its best.
You would need a breather after you put this one down as it would leave you dazed and confused. You would need a dose serenity and peace. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss is the book which would bring you back to Earth. Cute (yes, cute), simple and influential- this is a book which would not take your emotions for a spin.
a non-reader's guide to read
Steve Toltz
If classics are not so your thing, skip it and climb up the ladders to read books like One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (I promise this classic won’t bore you) or A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz or Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton. We all have crazy families and in this crazy world reading about crazy families can never be no fun.
But then, these are my recommendations, you can anytime explore and come up with your very own spanking new list.