Let me introduce you to my Dad – he has many hobbies, but reading was never one of them. He gets obsessive about his hobbies though the same way I do, so I guess I got that from him. While he was never “a reader”, he was always supportive of my reading addiction. The only books my Dad read were wood working manuals, or a select few non-fiction, typically about spirituality. The last time he remembered reading a piece of fiction was when he was 19 (he’s now 63) and he read For Whom The Bell Tolls (…and he only picked that up because he enjoyed the movie so much).
Why did I give you this little introduction to my Dad? Because he’s never been a reader, and so far he’s read around 18 fiction books since March 2015.
It all started when I won a giveaway hosted by Belinda @ Bookarahma for two books – Dark Dawn and When Sorrows Come by Matt Maguire. Being a mood reader, when I received these books, I didn’t want to read them right away, but the cover immediately caught Dad’s eye because of the infamous Harland and Wolff cranes, then he read the blurb, and suddenly, for the first time in a very long time – he felt like reading a book.
He really enjoyed these books, and is (im)patiently waiting for the next one to be released. Once he’d finished them, and he realised that he could actually read a fiction book, and that he did actually enjoy the experience, I decided I had to run with this!
I went out and picked up some Andy McNab and Chris Ryan books for him to try – Dad loves his gun-slinging, car crashing, bombs exploding, action packed movies – movies that usually have plots involving the FBI, CIA, etc. (think the Bourne series, Taken, White House Down… you get my drift). So, I picked books written by ex-SAS soldiers, imagining they’d be more factually accurate, and that they might grab his attention.
Well, grab his attention they did, because a slow and tentative introduction to reading has turned in to somewhat of an insatiable hobby. Now, he NEVER has a book out of his hands! And, with some gentle encouragement, he’s reading thrillers, crime, mystery and law-based fiction, sometimes without a gun, fight scene or even a car chase in sight!
We have something new to bond over, and while he always appreciated my fascination with reading, now he truly understands just why I love it so much.
I bought him books for his Birthday, we went charity shop book-hunting together the other day (check out his stash on the left, I even slipped a historical fiction in there!) – and now ladies and gentlemen, *drum roll please* he’s on Goodreads.
I’ve done it! I’ve helped convert a man who believed, for the majority of his life, that reading fiction just “wasn’t his thing”, that he lacked the imagination for it, that he was too logical for it, and it got me to thinking about other non-readers out there. That breed of individual that I always found so peculiar for not being able to find enjoyment within the pages of a well thumbed book. I’d always assumed that the world was divided into two camps – those who are readers, and those who are not. But my faith has been restored! It seems everyone truly can find a love for reading, if they are only introduced to the “right” book.
Have you ever converted a non-reader into a reader? Has this inspired you to give it a try? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!