For the New or Lazy Reader: 9 Fictional Reads You Cannot Put Down
Reading is like a muscle. You become a better, more imaginative reader only by doing one thing - you guessed it, reading. So, yes, it can happen that a person who used to be a voracious reader becomes a lazy reader and begins to struggle with getting through books after a two year break from the exercise. Still, all hope is not lost.
Are you a new reader, looking to read more for fun, but barely finding books you can actually enjoy? New readers aren’t looking for complex, Pulitzer winning books. They want quick, captivating and unputdownable. The same applies to former readers who’ve been away from the game for a while.
First things first: feel no shame if you’re not looking for deep, complicated reads. You need what you need - not what critics say is cool. If you’re going to enjoy reading, you need to read what you like. Not what everyone else likes. As you become a stronger reader, you may get bored by authors who seem to have the same storylines but it’s okay if you’re not there yet.
The 9 books on this list you will not be able to put them down. They will keep you awake at night flipping pages and wanting to know What. Happens. Next. And that’s what you need.
1. Stay With Me
- by Ayobami Adebayo
This is very high on my list of books to recommend to new readers for a few reasons. First, it is enrapturing. Say what you want about it but you will not put this down until you have finished it. Two, it has enough drama to carry you through to the end and finally, it is widely available. It has been published in Nigeria, the US and the UK, so you have no excuse.Stay With Me is the story of a Nigerian couple, Akin and Yejide, who struggle with infertility in their marriage. As a result, their marital bonds are threatened by extended family and a lot of other drama. Worth a read!
2. The Kite Runner
- by Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini's debut novel, this book opened my eyes to true literature. It follows the friendship of two boys, one a son of a rich Kabul merchant, the other, the son of his father’s slave. Set in Afghanistan before all the wars, this books evokes so much culture and heartbreak. I read it years ago and I have never forgotten how it made me feel.
3. Small Great Things
- by Jodi Picoult
No doubt one of the most gripping dramas I’ve ever read. I couldn’t stop reading it, everywhere. At the time, I was on my family medicine rotation and I was barely mentally present that day, sneaking a few pages at every opportunity. It is the story of a black nurse who performs CPR on the dying white newborn of white supremacists after being prohibited from touching the child. The story is packed with riveting courtroom drama including some parts written from the white supremacists’ point of view. Captivating.
4. Monday’s Not Coming
- by Tiffany D. Jackson
This one's a chilling Young Adult thriller. Claudia is thrown off when she returns from her summer break to realize that no one has seen her best friend Monday, all summer. It’s even more disconcerting that Monday’s mother doesn’t seem worried and her sister April isn’t any real help either. How could a teenage black girl just disappear?
5. An Untamed State
- by Roxane Gay
Although her debut novel this remains my favorite thing she’s ever written till date. Once you start this novel, your day is cancelled. I learned so much about the class divisions in Haiti through this book. A young woman, Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy-tale. She is the stubborn last daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Haiti. In addition, she has an loving husband, an adorable infant son but everything changes when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. In a shocking turn of events, her father refuses to pay the kidnappers the ransom which he can afford, choosing instead to resist them.
6. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
- by Lola Shoneyin
This is the funny tale of Baba Segi and the four wives and children to which his ego and sense of prosperity are inextricably linked. If you haven’t read this book, fix it! It reads like the perfect Nollywood movie. Note that this book is also now titled The Secret Lives of The Four Wives in the American Amazon store.
7. Bury What We Cannot Take
- by Kirstin Chen
In Maoist China, twelve year old Ah Liam reports his grandmother for vandalizing a portrait of Chairman Mao and so starts a terrible chain of events. The family attempts to flee China, but in a heartbreaking plot twist, they are can only take one child. The novel follows the consequences of the devastating choice, Seok Koon (the mother) makes. I loved every single word of this novel, told through the eyes of nine year old San San.
8. Behold The Dreamers
- by Imbolo Mbue
This follows Jende and Nene Jonga’s struggle to remain in America. When Jende is denied asylum, the couple begin an emotionally draining battle to stay in America - one that causes them to question their values, and exposes personality cracks that threaten their marriage and happiness. This book is in turns funny, serious and unexpectedly dramatic.
9. The Mothers
- by Brit Bennett
Totally one of my all time favorite books. A book that explores the ache of motherlessness, the joys of friendship and the longing for one’s first love. It’s one of those stories that is hard to forget.
And there you have it, nine books you cannot put down!
I’d like to know which of these books sound like reads you’d enjoy, which ones you’ve already read and what you thought about them - share in the comments!