Reading. It’s sexy. People will often get jealous, or even angry, at you if you mention how you just finished up a good book. It’s only because they wish they had the time, or the patience, to read a book themselves. Or maybe they just hate you. If you don’t consider yourself a reader, here’s a primer on some genres to check out, based on whatever scenario fits you best.
“I’m not a reader, but I’m still a nerd!”
Ideal Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Game of Thrones. God of War. Settlers of Catan. If all of these properties are part of your regular cultural intake, then there’s no reason you can’t flip open Ender’s Game every once in a while. Maybe you’re wanting to escape your own Kafkaesque existence by cracking open The Trial, or maybe you’ll want to escape humanity all together for The War of the Worlds. Either way, part of the proud nerd tradition involves heavy amounts of Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
“I’m not a reader, I’m a free thinker!”
Ideal Genre: Adult Coloring Book
Sure, you might have a corporate job and rent to pay, but you’re free at heart! You know your own star sign and sometimes burn incense! You might even go wild and buy yourself a new hat tomorrow. Just like the other aspects of your life, adult coloring books allow you to freely express yourself while still staying within the predetermined and unchangeable boundaries set before you. It’s creative, without being subversive!
“I’m not a reader because it’s so boring!”
Ideal Genre: Graphic Novels
If you’re less of a “word” person and more of a “bright colors” person, boy do I have good news for you. Graphic novels are more than just superhero comic books: truly touching stories like Craig Thompson’s autobiographical Blankets and the coming of age tragicomedy of Alison Bechdal’s Fun Home show the outer reaches of how graphic novels can uniquely convey narratives. But if you just want to read about Spider-Man, you can do that too.
“I’m not a reader because I’m horny all the time and books are for virgins!”
Ideal Genre: Romance Novels
Do you want your reading experience to border on pornography while still being somewhat acceptable to read in public? Then romance novels are the way to go. More than just Fifty Shades of Grey and Fabio covers, Romance Novels can be biting social satires, heart wrenching dramas, and highly emotional experiences all at the same time. But if you just want something trashy and erotic… ueah go for the ones with Fabio on the cover.
“I’m not a reader because I’m a people person!”
Ideal Genre: Memoirs
This is actually my ideal genre. Conan O’Brien once said that he has trouble reading fiction because he’s just too preoccupied with finding out what happened in real life. I’m the same way, but less about more noble topics like history and science and more just music memoirs. Books written by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, music producer Glyn Johns, The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and the gigantic Beastie Boys Book currently line the shelves of my apartment, but I always need more to add to the collection. If you want to hear fascinating stories straight from the horse’s mouth, just about every interesting person has written a memoir for you to find.
“I’m not a reader because I hated all the books I was assigned in school!”
Ideal Genre: Young Adult
This is a scenario that I’ve encountered multiple times: people see me reading a book, ask me about it, and when I try to ask what they’re reading, they mention how reading was such a slog in school that they haven’t done it since. This hurts my heart, and so it’s time to hit the reset button by getting in touch with your 13 year old self and rediscover the joy that comes with reading. Some great gateways back into literature include the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, and Divergent. All are satisfying, have deeply enriching worlds, and are relatively easy to read. If you need to rediscover your reading bug, go with a young adult novel.
“I’m not a reader because I’m a mess!”
Ideal Genre: Self-help
There are literally hundreds of “______ for Dummies” books, and you shouldn’t feel self-conscious about reading one. They’re actually filled with great advice and insight into a wide variety of topics you might be interested in. If you’re looking for something a little more self-actualizing, Malcolm Gladwell has some phenomenally intriguing books that pair scientific thought with philosophical and spiritual inquiry. If that’s all a bit too high brow for you, then maybe something like Eat, Pray, Love or the mostly-fictitious A Million Little Pieces are more suited to your journey. Hey, no judgment! Whatever turns your sinking ship into a floating boat.
“I’m not a reader because books are too exciting.”
Ideal Genre: Dictionary
Jentacular: any object or action relating directly to breakfast.
Ex: “I decided to go with a pre-jentacular muffin to warm up my stomach before mom started making pancakes.”
Fantastic words like this, and many, many more, could be yours with one easy brush up on everyone’s favorite plotless work of literature. Do people actually read the dictionary for fun? Considering how strange some people’s hobbies can get, I’m going to file “reading the dictionary” under “innocuous.”
“I’m not a reader because I have 12 Netflix shows I need to catch up on!”
Ideal Genre: Mystery
Let’s be realistic for a second: you’re never going to watch all those shows. Just because everyone’s watching The Queen’s Gambit doesn’t mean you’re going to as well (and you’re definitely not going to learn how to play chess, so give up on that fantasy). But you have an eye for captivating content, so maybe try your hand at a Sherlock Holmes mystery or maybe an Agatha Christie novel. It’s got all the engrossing allure of a Netflix show but you don’t have to watch it pop up on your “My List” section and feel guilty about it.
“I’m not a reader because I have a class to teach at 7:30 tomorrow morning!”
Ideal Genre: Textbook
Hey, respect the hustle. You’re doing the lord’s work by teaching the great thinkers of tomorrow, so make sure you know what you’re talking about.
“I’m not a reader because reading is a sin!”
Ideal Genre: Religious Text
Yeah, go back the Bible and leave the good stuff for us heathens.