TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten books for reluctant readers

Top Ten Tuesday header

(Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish!)

Top Ten Tuesday is back and I am SO HAPPY! Sure, it’s been fun trying to come up with my own topics, but it’s also been hard. I had to have a week off last week, because I was completely out of ideas.

For their returning topic, the folks at The Broke and the Bookish wanted us to choose a group to recommend books to. I’ve chosen to recommend to all of the reluctant readers out there. I’m a huge fan of reading, but I know some people find it daunting/boring/difficult. These books will appeal to ANYONE, whether they’re an avid reader or hardly pick up a book a decade.

Remember: if you want to read more about the book on Goodreads, click on their cover. If you’re interested in purchasing the book via my Amazon Affiliate link, please click their title! 

10) ‘Crongton Knights‘ by Alex Wheatle

Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle

‘Crongton Knights’ is the second book in a trilogy, but if you don’t mind having a couple of gaps in your knowledge it works perfectly as a standalone. Taking the traditional quest plot and modernizing it, Alex Wheatle writes realistic characters who you’ll definitely have met in real life. The first book, ‘Liccle Bit’, is a liccle bit more difficult, so if you decide to read the series chronologically you might encounter some teething issues.

9) ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars‘ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ is amazing. Targeted at a middle-grade audience, it could also appeal to younger children, teenagers or adults. Kiran crafts world stuffed with magical realism, so this book feels as though you’re reading a classic fairytale despite the fact that it’s only been out for a couple of years!

8) ‘The Bad Beginning‘ by Lemony Snicket

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

If you haven’t read A Series of Unfortunate Events, what are you doing with your life?! Admittedly, later on in the series they get repetitive and bland, but the first book in particular is perfect for reluctant readers. Lemony sneaks the definitions of difficult words into the narrative, meaning that you learn as you read – no need for a dictionary here!

7) ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas‘ anthology

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Short stories are perfect for reluctant readers. They’re brief, so you can read them in one sitting, and it means that you can dip in and out of the book without losing the thread of the story. As well as being a great anthology, ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ helped a good cause, with £1 of every purchase going to the charity Shelter.

6) ‘Entangled‘ by Cat Clarke

Entangled by Cat Clarke

Once upon a time, I hardly read anything. That changed with ‘Entangled’, which I sat and devoured in one sitting. There’s something about Cat Clarke’s writing that pulls you in and refuses to let you go. Not only is the story compelling, the characters are easy to relate to as well.

5) ‘Kindred Spirits‘ by Rainbow Rowell

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

All of Rainbow Rowell’s books are fun, but some of them are a little long. For a reluctant reader, a book the size of ‘Fangirl’ is an intimidating prospect! ‘Kindred Spirits’ was a short story released for teenagers for World Book Day, and it’s delightful. Telling the story of two Star Wars fans queuing for the midnight premiere of ‘The Force Awakens’, it’s filled with references to nerd culture and media that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

4) Jessica Jones: Alias Volume 1 by Brian Michael Bendis

Jessica Jones Alias

Whenever I have to think of books for reluctant readers, graphic novels always pop into my head. Featuring complex language and difficult topics, being surrounded by images makes them easier to digest. Brian Michael Bendis’ run of Jessica Jones is one of my favourite graphic novel series of all time. They’re perfect for beginners to comics and for those who don’t read very frequently.

3) ‘Doing It!‘ by Hannah Witton

Doing It by Hannah Witton

‘Doing It!’, Hannah Witton’s sexual education guide, is perfect for reluctant readers (and learners!). If you feel embarrassed during PSHE class at school, you can learn about sex, relationships and everything in between in your own time. It helps that Hannah is absolutely hilarious, and there are funny illustrations throughout the book.

2) ‘Malala’s Magic Pencil‘ by Malala Yousafzai

Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

Malala’s first foray into the world of picture books is a magical experience. Not only are the illustrations gorgeous, it tells the story of Malala’s life in a very simple form. This is perfect for younger readers and reluctant readers alike. If you’ve been interested in reading ‘I Am Malala’ but haven’t gotten around to it yet, read this as an introduction to the inspirational young woman.

1) ‘Unboxed‘ by Non Pratt

Unboxed by Non Pratt

Non Pratt’s collaboration with Barrington Stoke is the perfect story for reluctant readers. Barrington Stoke publish books that are accessible to dyslexic readers, and Non crafts such brilliant characters. This book is short – less than 100 pages – but all of the characters are well-rounded, and the story absorbs you. If you read one book this year, make it ‘Unboxed’.

Thank you for reading my Top Ten Tuesday post! Are there any books that you would recommend for reluctant readers? Leave your suggestions down below.

  • I have to agree with you about Cat Clarke’s writing, there’s something about it that I really love! Great list. 🙂

    • She’s a genius: every single thing she writes is captivating.

  • Great topic and great choices. I’ve only read the first 3 A Series of Unfortunate Events books, but they were such fun! And I’m sure the tv adaptions will encourage a lot more reluctant readers to pick them up too.

    • I was trying to reread them last year and I burnt out after book seven… They get kind of repetitive towards the end! Hopefully I’ll be able to make it through the last few at some point in the next couple of months.

  • Barb(Boxermommyreads)

    What a wonderful topic. I keep meaning to check out some Jessica Jones graphic novels from the library soon. I’ll be home for Christmas looks like one I should grab for my holiday reading.

    • Do it, do it! I’ve read a lot of Marvel over the last couple of years, but the Alias series is top of the list by far. Every single page is absorbing.

  • I like the variety of this list! I think Kindred Spirits is a good place to start with reluctant readers because A) it’s pretty short and B) who doesn’t love Star Wars?

    • Thank you! Star Wars is one of those things that appeals to EVERYONE – writing a story about it is genius.

  • I definitely agree with you on Rainbow Rowell, her books are great for people who don’t normally read but jumping straight into Fangirl could be a little daunting; especially with the fanfic chapters.

    • Oh yeah, the fanfic chapters did throw me to start with! I eventually got into the flow of it, but I wasn’t expecting it to be like that at all.

  • Ellie

    The Quick Reads books and those from Barrington Stoke are such a good idea. And they can be enjoyed by us much-less reluctant readers too!

    • That’s the best thing about them: they really do appeal to everybody. The language might be simpler, but that means the author’s work even harder to make a gripping plot and compelling characters. They can appreciate just how important it is to make every sentence worthwhile.

  • Jo Elliott

    The only one of these I’ve read is The Bad Beginning, but I definitely agree with that one!
    My TTT:

    • It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t at least started A Series of Unfortunate Events!

  • Will look for Kindred Spirit since I love Rainbow Rowell. Oh my, my TBR keeps getting longer.My TTT

    • You’re going to adore it! It’s very very short, so you’ll be able to get through it in one sitting, too 🙂

  • I hadn’t heard of UNBOXED, but it sounds amazing!! Also, A Series of Unfortunate Events is next up for me and my 9 year old to read together! I’m excited 🙂 Great list– I love how you added a lot of short stories and shorter books. Great idea!

    • Aww, reading them with your daughter is going to make them so much more enjoyable. You’ll have to watch the Netflix series together afterwards – it’s a great adaptation (and I don’t say that often!).

  • Greg Hill

    I’ll Be Home for christmas looks great, love the idea of that one! Kindred Spirits is one I need to read, and Entangled looks pretty good too.

    • I’m glad you’ve found a couple of titles you’re interested in: fingers crossed you’ll love them as much as I do!

  • Leslie Hauser

    Hi! I love this topic. I’m always on the lookout for books for reluctant readers since I’m a teacher and encounter reluctant readers all the time! I’ve heard such great things about The Girl of Ink and Stars. I need to read it! Great list 🙂


    • I used to work in a library, so I know that feeling. During Summer Reading Challenge we’d always get parents pushing kids to read books that weren’t right for them, so I’m glad I’ve built up a bank of books that I can recommend to anyone (especially those by David Walliams and Jeff Kinney!).

  • Jaime

    Glad to see a comic book in this list! That’s definitely an option for reluctant readers. I’ve been meaning to read that series for a while but haven’t yet.

    The Girl of Ink and Stars looks intriguing, and I love A Series of Unfortunate Events!

    Thanks for the recommendations!

    My TTT:

    • I’m such a huge comic book fan that I knew I was going to slip at least one in, but it easily could have been more!

      • Jaime

        Yessss! I agree. 🙂