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On LifeTalk about books

How to start reading books

Most of my acquaintances know that I love reading. So, every once in a while someone comes to me telling me they would like to start reading books. And asking for beginner recommendations.

That’s honestly one of the most difficult questions I’ve been asked.

What do you recommend to someone who has no previous experience with books? What if they don’t like the book you chose and decide to quit reading forever because of that? 

I know, whenever the question comes, that the future of the person who asked lies in my hands. And I know there are people out there asking o being asked this same question.

That’s why I’m sharing my most helpful tips on how to start reading books. From the beginning.

1) Don’t feel overwhelmed.

I know it’s difficult to pick a starting point. There are billions of book choices out there, how do you even pick one? Well, try to relax and think about it for a moment… You have been through this already: Long ago you watched a movie for the very first time. Probably you can’t remember, but there was definitely a starting point. Then you watched more movies. And you kept doing it, over and over again, until you learned what your tastes were; then you started picking your own movies. And even recommending movies to others. With books you’ll go through a very similar process (only slower, since most books can’t be read in 2 hours). It’s just a matter of getting used to books.

2) Pick a book about a movie, series or videogame you like.

This is the easiest way to find a book you will probably like. I think a BIG percentage of modern movies are based on books, so just pick your favorite and read it. Don’t worry too much about it being repetitive, books offer a lot more information than a movie. You will find complete scenes that weren’t in the movie so it’ll be like watching an extended version.

For a quick, easy read based on a popular movie I recommend The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or you know, any movie you liked…

Many TV series and videogames have novels and novelizations, which is other great way to break the ice with books. A familiar universe will be inviting to you and you’ll get to know more about your favorite fandom. Some popular choices are the Doctor Who Fairytales, Star Trek novelizations, and novels in the Halo universe.

3) Once you find 1 book you like, look for similar books.

There are useful searching tools on the internet for that. You can visit What should I read next? or Your Next Read, simply type the name of the book you liked and you’ll find some recommendations. You can also join Goodreads to find more recommendations.

4) Try to read for free.

I imagine it would be discouraging if you bought a book for the first time and didn’t like it. That’s why I recommend not buying until you feel comfortable with your choices. You can go to a public library and get a couple of free books; if you don’t like one, you can discard it and start the other one immediately.

You can also read book samples on the Kindle app. If you have an Amazon account, download the free Kindle app and look on Amazon for the book you think you’ll like. For example, I looked for The Martian, since I really liked the movie. Most popular books will have a button to send a free sample to your Kindle device, that could be your computer, tablet or phone.

free book sample

The good thing about samples is that you can read a couple of chapters without buying anything. It’s honestly a great way to decide if a book is worth buying.

5) Just read Harry Potter.

Okay, I’m –mostly- kidding. Even though I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Harry Potter after reading the first book…

What I mean with this point is: pick a really popular book that everyone and their dog is reading. Just make sure the genre could be for you, and go for it. If you don’t like Fantasy don’t go with Harry Potter. If you don’t like Science Fiction don’t pick Ender’s game… Of course, best sellers are not exactly known for being the most rich and enlightening books, but they are easy to read. Go with something popular at first. Once you find your niche you can look into the classics, the heavy books and the non-fiction categories.


I hope these tips were useful, either if you want to start reading or if you have been asked for advice. If you have more tips to start reading books, please share them in the comments! 🙂

This article has 2 comments

  1. Jessica | OhHeyJess.com

    “Just read Harry Potter” haha that’s funny, but so true. I think reading Harry Potter is a great way to get people to start reading. It’s such a good series! I love reading books that were turned into movies… for some reason those are the kinds of books that really grab my attention. I finished reading “Me Before You” last month and I am excited for the movie to be released on DVD so I can rent it from the Redbox and watch it, and I loved the movie “The Martian” so I am reading that book right now!

    • Celeste

      I’m with you on reading books after watching the movie! I want to get The Martian too, because the movie was really fun and entertaining 🙂

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