Get Them to Read Your Favourites

We’ve all read a book that changed our lives.  Such a book is engaging; perhaps it only took a few chapters for us to become invested in the story.  Such a book is inspiring; it makes us feel the need to strive for greater things ahead.  And such a book is meaningful; we feel that it speaks to us in a special way, a way that we did not expect.  After reading such a book, we have all felt the need to get up, and implore those that we care about to read it, to feel the book’s message for themselves.  And of course, we usually yearn for someone to be able to discuss the book with us as well.

But then none of our acquaintances, friends, or family members ever agree to actually read it.

What hope is there for such romantics as us?  How can we incite others to begin their literary journey if they won’t even open the book?  The answer, as it turns out, is far simpler than some innovative crusade of encouragement.  By means of psychological tactics, bribery, and outright trickery there is no book that we cannot force those we care about to read!

Psychological Tactics

This technique can be seamlessly executed with lots of subtle influence.  You must follow your intended victim around incessantly and then drop discreet hints relating to said book whenever the occasion may arise.  Ideally, the hints should somehow relate to specific themes that are present in the book.  For example, if you are attempting to induce your Uncle Dimitri to read The Invisible Man, you might make it a goal to sneak into his house on regular occasions (or as frequently as your schedule allows) and rearrange the furniture.  You could then proceed to glare suspiciously at the offending household articles until Uncle Dimitri’s interest is thoroughly peaked, or until he arranges to install a new set of locks, at which point, you can hand him the book.

Alternatively, a far simpler method might involve asking your victim a direct yet random question that is answered in the book itself.  I have experienced vast success by leading various acquaintances, such as Aunt Doris, to a tranquil pond in the wintertime, only to holler unexpectedly at her, “BUT WHERE ARE THE DUCKS?”  Even if your relative knows the answer to such a question, your peculiar behaviour may be enough to induce her to give Salinger a try.


This technique is highly effective on those of epicurean tendencies.  You should begin by acquiring an irresponsible quantity of chocolate chip cookies.  You can then invite your dessert-loving friend Jeremy over for a casual afternoon tea.  When he arrives, you can then inform him that you are “very excited that he’s agreed to form a book club with you”.  While he is busy being confused (you never mentioned anything about books) you can quickly present him with the book itself, along with a seemingly endless quantity of cookies.  This tactic should succeed in coaxing him to read on, either until he finishes the book, or until you run out of cookies.

Outright Trickery

This last technique requires careful understanding of the victim’s needs and interests.  For example, perhaps you have been telling your friend Alex to read Chesterton’s Tremendous Trifles for years, only to have him refuse to read it.  You should swap the dust jacket of Tremendous Trifles for the jacket of Practical Lock Picking.  You could then lock Alex in a basement, with only the Practical Lock Picking fake as a companion.  You might be surprised by how quickly Alex manages to give your amiable recommendation a try.

Or maybe your friend Marissa absolutely refuses to try your recommendation of Don Quixote, for fear that she will find it dull (a very real possibility in fact, and upon reflection, perhaps the reason that you want her to read this book is to have another person share in your suffering, but that is irrelevant).  Try swapping the jacket of this book for the jacket of something that Marissa prefers, like an Agatha Christie book.  Marissa will be halfway through “Dulcinea’s enchantment” before she finally realizes that Poirot isn’t showing up.

Attempting to induce one’s friends and family to read important literature is a noble enterprise.  By means of careful planning and execution, there is certainly no book that we cannot trick them into reading.  And in the end, if these individuals are not exactly grateful for our benevolent assistance, then the best that we can do is try not to allow their lack of appreciation to hamper our enthusiasm.

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