10 To-read Books for Reading Noobs

Friends always ask me to give book recommendations for them who are fairly new into the reading habit. Although I am very happy to mention titles away, I may be prejudiced since these are the books I loved and enjoyed reading, and I am not entirely sure you would enjoy them the way that I did. I read books of random genre so I tried to come up with different recommendations from each. Here are my 10 book recommendations for starters (in no particular order).

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter

1. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

Genre: Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Inspirational

Chinese Cinderella is a biography based on the childhood of the author Adeline Yen Mah. It narrates her struggles as a daughter and the start of her journey to become who she is today. This is a short read and can be finished in one seating. It is very inspirational and maybe a tearjerker if you are the type to shed a tear at sad situations.

The Hobbit

2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, Adventure, Epic Fantasy

The Lord of The Rings really is a must read book for those who would like to take a dip into the forerunner of the fantasy genre. But instead of immersing yourself with LOTR right away, I suggest you start with the prequel instead. The story is fast paced and you’ll love how the story is told. Definitely no dull moment when reading this and you will be done in no time.

Memoirs of a Geisha

3. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Genre: Historical

Take a peek into the world of geisha’s. Step back in time 1920’s Kyoto and learn how geisha’s are trained and developed into elaborate and sophisticated women. The story is about Sayuri’s journey from being a child sold in a geisha house to being one of the most prominent geisha’s of her time. Although the story is set in the early 1920’s, you won’t feel it such a drag to read because the substance itself is seducing.

The Fault in Our Stars

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Genre: Young Adult, Inspirational, Romance

The story is very moving and emotionally charged to make one tear up (or cry every now and then). Just by reading, you can sense the character’s deep feelings of joy, love and loss. Although some may categorize this as a young-adult fiction, the depth of emotions are very touching. It made me realize how lucky I am in so many ways – the world may not be a wish granting factory but I know, we each can fulfill our wishes, even just small ones.

Veronika Decides to Die

5. Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Genre: Coming of Age, Inspirational

This is my ultimate Coelho favorite. I always recommend this to friends who are looking for an inspirational read. It is about Veronika who seems to have everything:  beauty, attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. But something seems to be lacking in her life. She has everything but she is not happy and decides to end her life. The story pretty much shows her recovery from her suicide attempt and self-discovery through the help of those she is with in the asylum. Her realizations about life in general are very inspiring and I think is very relatable partly because each of us are battling sadness/loneliness/depression in our own ways.

The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia #1-7)

6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Genre: Fantasy, Children’s Literature, Adventure,

I encourage that you read the complete set of The Chronicles of Narnia. It has 7 books with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Book 2) as the most popular (and adapted). You may think and see it too thick for a new reader but I suggest that you start reading and you will find it very hard to put down. Its a children’s classic you don’t want to miss and it is better than the film adaptations.


7. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Genre: Alternate History, Parallel World, Romance

1Q84 is a novel which takes place beginning on April 1984 and ends on December. The story revolves on the lives of the 2 protagonists, Aomame and Tengo as they search for meaning in their lives and try to fill up the vacuum holed up inside them. What I like about the novel is the alternating chapters which shows the views of the two central characters. Murakami’s work on the other hand, shows the idea of creating stories that are obviously fictional but too close to the reality we live in. It sparks one’s curiosity and views on the world we live in and you just can’t help but think “Is this the real world in which I belong?“.


8. Habibi by Craig Thompson

Genre: Graphic Novel, Drama, Romance

In this sinful world we all live in, a lot of cruel things are happening just under our noses. The novel tackles different issues the world faces: slavery, prostitution, religious differences, equality of the sexes, capitalism, materialism, and racism.  A well-crafted political novel embedded in a  tragic love story. I love the illustrations which are very rich in detail. I noticed the intricate borders in each chapter and thought that a template was used for each but I when I looked closely, there are subtle differences in the drawings of each border. I think that this is a well thought of graphic novel for readers who want a more mature graphic read.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

9. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Genre: Religious Fiction

The story of The Five People You Meet in Heaven is very simple but inspirational. In heaven, five people explain your life to you. One by one, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”. Each person teaches Eddie a simple but important life lesson and I think that it is something we should all learn.

10. **I’m leaving the 10th book blank. Tell me, what book would you want to recommend to your fellow readers?**

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