THE BLOG
11/18/2014 11:44 am ET Updated Jan 18, 2015

To Read or Not To Read, Part 2

Tom Merton via Getty Images

I'm was completely blown away by the overwhelming support I received for my last post, "To Read or Not To Read," so I've decided to give it a sequel. Though most readers agreed with my opinions, many of them still didn't know where or how to start. Luckily, for all you non-bookworms out there, I've compiled a list of sorts in order to ensure that you get the most out of your literary adventures. Hopefully, it'll convert some souls to the joys of reading.

A Bookworm's Guide to Non-Bookworms:

When I ask people why they don't read, their response is usually one of the five listed below. Along with each is a little tip that hopefully opens your mind to the benefits of reading, allowing you to grow academically, professionally, and maybe even personally.

5 Reasons (Excuses) Why People Don't Read:
1."I never have the time."

False. Rarely even justified, this excuse has always been a pet-peeve of mine. You'd be surprised by how much time you suddenly seem to have when you refrain from checking Facebook/Twitter/Instagram every five minutes. And before you scoff or roll your eyes, my being the worst perpetrators of this habit makes me feel obligated to bring it up. You know those people who use both their laptops and phones to double the amount of social networking? Yep, guilty.

Here's PavTip #1: Bring something to read everywhere you go. It's actually a great way to pass time waiting in line, waiting for class to start, or waiting for a cure to your boredom. Instead of constantly checking your social media platform of choice for new notifications (side note: a habit strangely reminiscent of re-checking the fridge even when you know there's no food), you can continue reading that book, ebook, or Huffington Post article *thumbs up.* Personally, I'm a fan of reading before going to bed. Not only is it relaxing, but it's also is an easy and natural way to squeeze reading time into your schedule.

2. "Books are a waste of money."

*Clutches chest* Guys, this one wounds my soul a bit. A book is an investment that lasts much longer than that Chipotle burrito. The "right" book, which by the way is subjective, can last you a lifetime. And it's never just a book. It's always an experience, one that is entirely yours.

PavTip #2: Local book fairs, garage sales, and even Amazon are just a few great places to buy used books for a fair price. But, if you really don't want to spend money (#brokecollegestudent), there are these wonderful places where you can read as many books as you'd like... for free! But Pavi, what sorcery is this? Libraries. Yes, my friend, they still exist, even in the midst of society's ever-growing fascination with book-sized smartphones (It's a sign!). And yes, even university libraries have a diverse selection of books to choose from. They aren't just places to which people exile themselves during exam season.

3. "There are too many, I don't know where to start."

Okay, this one is actually pretty valid. I totally understand being overwhelmed when walking into a bookstore or library. Do I start with the best-sellers? Should I read more classics so I can be a more cultured individual? But wait... vampires... and romance...? (It's okay, I've been there. You'll receive no judgment from me.)

PavTip #3: The only way to know what type of reader you are is to start somewhere and work from there. It's okay to abandon books. I've suffered through too many uninteresting stories before finding gems that changed my perspective on the world. Blurbs are your friends. More often than not, you can gauge the tone and genre of your selection from just these couple paragraphs and decide if it's for you! If you're feeling particularly adventurous, I'd recommend reading the first chapter so you can really acquaint yourself with the author's writing style.

4. "Reading is boring."

Because you're reading the wrong books!

PavTip #4: Refer to PavTip #3 and keep in mind that this isn't a race. No one is going to judge you based on how long it took you to read a book. We all read and experience books at our own paces. It should never feel forced. If you prefer reading a little bit each day rather than inhaling an entire novel like some sort of starved animal (again, guilty), that's your prerogative.

5. "No one reads anymore."
*Sigh* I know it seems that way, but there are so many people out there who still love to read. Some of the best conversations I've had in life have been over books, and not just classics. I've stayed up discussing underlying themes in the Harry Potter series on more than one occasion (I'm extremely tempted to share, but that is a spiel for another day). No matter what you're interested it, I can guarantee that you'll find someone else who is just as enamored.

PavTip #5: Do not let other people's decisions influence your own, especially with an experience as personal as reading. Read in order to gain a better understanding of the world and of yourself. You may be surprised with what you find.

Now, I'm not asking for a revolution. I know better than to expect that every single person who reads this article will immediately drop what they're doing to pick up a book. I can only hope that I succeeded in sparking a flame, a desire to read again. I hope this niggling thought will resurface, if not now then later. And I hope that you will eventually give in and re-discover what reading is truly about. The hardest part is starting. So why not start now?

In fact, I've listed below some of my favorite books and split them by genre! Happy reading :)

Series:
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (I mean, are you really even surprised at this point?)
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin (AKA Game of Thrones)
The Da Vinci Code series by Dan Brown
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien (this one is my current project!)
A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket (especially because it's coming on Netflix!)

Realistic Fiction/Romance:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (I guess this is more fiction than realistic...)
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Mystery/Thriller:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Deception Point by Dan Brown
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle
anything written by Agatha Christie

Deep:
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Horror/Science Fiction:
The Shining (and anything else by Stephen King)
The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey

Dystopian:
The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
1984 by George Orwell
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Classics:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Random:
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling