Ten Books for People Who Don’t Read

I already put together a gift guide for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, but then I realised this was my perfect topic.

I am always giving books as gifts, even if the recipients don’t always count themselves as readers. (A sort of book lover’s proselytising.) Many books are beautiful objects, which makes them a gorgeous gift to open, then if people revisit the content at a later date, all the better!

For people who love travel


You Only Live Once from Lonely Planet

This is a bucket list of both big and small things to try, split into hours, days, weeks, months or years, depending on how long the experiences might take. I bought it for my friend because I wanted it, and this is how I try to get over my book cravings. I still want it though.

You could also try Ultimate Travelist, which is about the best sights in the world.

For people who need to practise a skill


The No Time to Cook Book by Laura Herring, DK

I was a recipient of The No Time to Cook Book, as cooking has never been a priority of mine. (Actually, I have started to, but there will be a post on this later.) The meals certainly do not all take twenty minutes or less to make, but there are some good meal ideas (particularly lunches) and it talks how to create a good basic store cupboard so you can cook more often.

When it comes to cooking, you have thousands of books to choose from. Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks has been one of the major publishing successes of 2016 – in a year where new Harry Potter books were released, and we are still talking about The Girl on the Train

For other skills, you could also try books for language learning or a For Dummies book.

For those who like colouring (or practising mindfulness) 


Secret Garden by Johanna Basford, Laurence King

I think the adult colouring trend is dying down now, but for those friends who always enjoyed art, who need a creative outlet, or who just blooming like colouring, why not gift them an intricate colouring book? (Confession: I think some of these books would stress me out rather than relax me, but I have obtained a copy of Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and might have to test the theory.)

See also: other books by Johanna Basford or Millie Marotta.

For those who don’t like fiction


An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield, Pan Macmillan

You might know Chris Hadfield without realising – he’s the one who went viral after broadcasting a performance of Space Oddity from the International Space Station. In this book, he talks about his path to becoming an astronaut, his training, his missions to space, and how preparation to leave earth can actually teach you very good lessons about how to live when you’re on it.

I am only just starting to appreciate non-fiction, so can’t offer lots of personal recommendations, but I am looking forward to reading more!

For those who like photography (or animals, or art)


50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum

The National History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year is one of the most famous photography competitions in the world, and has produced several beautiful books. This collection marks the 50th anniversary and shows how nature photography has developed (ha) over the years.

For those who like sports


Watching the Wheels by Damon Hill, Pan Macmillan

There are so many autobiographies out there that you will likely find something by one of their favourite sports stars, or even a famous commentator, that they might find interesting. With Formula 1, for example, there are hundreds of titles to choose from: autobiographies from Murray Walker or Mark Webber, or books about Senna or James Hunt. Just from following his brilliant Twitter account, I can’t wait to read Damon Hill’s Watching the Wheels.

Google: any sport/sports star + book!

For anybody, really

Ladybird Books for Grown Ups from Penguin

In the same format as the old Ladybird books, this is few enough pages for even the most reluctant readers. Using the old illustrations and images alongside text re-written for adults, these brilliant humour books completely took off last Christmas. All publishers are jumping on the bandwagon of course, so you can also find titles like Five on Brexit Island, bringing Enid Blyton’s Famous Five into adulthood.


Letters of Note by Shaun Usher, Canongate

I’m not trying to trick people into reading, but the ‘commitment’ required to read a book will often put people off, when they’ll accidentally read thousands of words on Buzzfeed. Letters of Note contains over a hundred letters from people like Elvis, Charles Dickens, the Queen, Einstein, Mick Jagger and many more, which will inspire and entertain.


Humans of New York Stories by Brandon Stanton, Pan Macmillan

We all know the Facebook page, and I think it was just the most brilliant idea. It is the only time when reading the comments on an Internet article that I don’t despair about the human race. Even people who don’t like reading probably like HONY. The stories are short, often bittersweet, illuminating and often beautiful.


Scrapbook by Paperchase

Now for different types of books altogether: why not buy a scrapbook for your craft-loving friends, a photo album for budding photographers or even just a list book for your friend’s desk or handbag?

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