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What to read when you don’t know what to read?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re looking to figure out what to read as a new bookworm. You could be either looking to get started with reading book recommendations for beginners or trying to broaden your horizons when it comes to new book genres.
Either way, you’ve come to the right place! Reading is not just a hobby; it’s an essential part of our lives that can bring us immense joy and mental clarity. In fact, studies show that reading regularly can boost our cognitive skills, improve our memory, and reduce stress levels.
If you’re ready to dive into the world of reading, this article is for you. In this post, you will explore some types of books that are perfect for beginners and why you should consider giving them a shot.
Whether you’re into romance, mystery, or classic literature, I’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started!
Best fiction books for beginners
The book tells the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy who embarks on a journey to find a worldly treasure and learns important life lessons along the way, including the importance of following one’s dreams.
🤩 Why I loved it: You’ve seen me recommend this book in other book lists because it is SERIOUSLY so good. What are you waiting for, go read it!
A Man Called Ove
This book is a really heartwarming story about a grumpy but loveable guy whose life gets totally shaken up when a loud, crazy family moves in next door. It’s all about how important it is to have friends and community and connect with other people.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is a must-read for anyone who has suffered grief and is looking for that thread of hope in a hard life.
The Language of Flowers
This novel is about Victoria Jones who is 18 years old and has just left the foster care system. She discovers a talent for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them, but a chance encounter with a stranger and a painful secret from her past forces her to confront what’s been missing in her life and decide whether to risk everything for a second chance at happiness.
🤩 Why you should read it: You will be 100% invested in Victoria as a character and rooting for her until the very end which not only makes it a good book, but the perfect book recommendation for beginners.
An American Marriage
This novel for beginners tells the story of newlyweds Celestial and Roy, whose lives are torn apart when Roy is wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to twelve years in prison. The book explores themes of love, loss, and the impact of the criminal justice system on African American families.
🤩 Why you need to read this book: This book isn’t one you read for burying your head in the sand or escaping. This book is raw, and real, and is hard to read because of how much emotion the author brings out of you.
Best classic books for beginners
PSA. Don’t start here unless it’s an audiobook. Trust me. Classics are not beginner friendly though I do make an exception if you decided to listen to the audiobook instead.
The Great Gatsby
The novel is set in the Jazz Age and follows Nick Carraway’s growing relationship with the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby’s obsession with reuniting with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.
🤩 Why I loved it: This is a great book to dip your toe into reading classics as a beginner.
To Kill a Mocking Bird
This book explores issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s through the eyes of young Scout and Jem Finch, as their father defends a black man accused of rape.
🤩 Why I loved it: I remember reading this in school and even then it had a huge impact on me. A must-read for any well-rounded reader.
This novel is about the March sisters and their lives during the Civil War. The book really focuses on the sisters and their relationships with each other and the people around them. It’s all about love, death, and the struggle between doing what you want and being there for your family.
The book digs into the complexities of family dynamics and shows how each sister does her own thing. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all unique in their own way and it’s really cool to see how they all fit into the story.
🤩 Why you should read it: As one of my favorite books I will always suggest it as a great book to start with as a beginner. I will always hold the March sisters dear in my heart and it’s definitely worth a read.
Best romance books for beginners
Lowen Ashleigh is this writer who’s really struggling to make ends meet, and then out of nowhere, she gets hired to finish a best-selling series by this author, Verity Crawford, who’s injured. While going over Verity’s notes, Lowen finds a half-done autobiography that spills some dark secrets from Verity’s past.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript a secret from Verity’s husband, but as she starts to develop feelings for him, she thinks more about telling him all the secrets she has discovered about his wife.
🤩 Why you should read this book: You will not be able to put this book down! It’s a twisty psychological thriller that will have you guessing until the end.
Things We Never Got Over
This book tells the story of Naomi, who runs away from her wedding to help her estranged twin in Knockemout, Virginia. However, her twin steals her car and cash and leaves her with a niece she didn’t know she had. Naomi is stuck in town with no plan and an 11-year-old to take care of. Knox, a man who doesn’t do complications, helps Naomi out of her jam, but trouble soon turns into real danger.
🤩 Why I loved it: I love the grumpy sunshine trope and this book fulfills all my fantasies.
Olive, is an unlucky woman who is forced to spend time with her enemy Ethan at her twin sister’s wedding. When the wedding party gets food poisoning, Olive and Ethan are the only ones who aren’t affected and win an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii. They must pretend to be newlyweds and Olive finds herself feeling lucky despite her usual misfortune.
🤩 Why I loved it: One of the best romance books from 2022 that is perfect to read on the beach.
If There’s No Tomorrow
This book tells the story of Lena Wise, a high school senior who is excited about her future until something happens that changes everything. The book dives deep into themes of guilt, moving on, and the unknowns of the future.
🤩 Why you need to read this book: Jennifer Armentrout is one of my favorite authors and this book does not disappoint! What happened to Lena could happen to anyone which makes it an unforgettable read.
Me Before You
This book tells the story of Louisa Clark, an ordinary girl who takes a job caring for Will Traynor, a former master of the universe who is now wheelchair-bound. As Lou and Will grow closer, she learns of his shocking plans and she works on showing him how much this life has to offer.
🤩 Why I loved it: A tragic love story that will stay with you forever. A true emotional roller coaster.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
The book follows Nina, a single woman who works in a bookstore and enjoys reading. When her previously unknown father dies, she is suddenly introduced to a large family and forced to step out of her comfort zone. The book explores her journey of self-discovery and relationships with her new family and her trivia night nemesis turning into a potential love interest.
🤩 Why you should read it: If you love reading about bookish characters, then you will love this! Nina is one of the most relatable characters I have read in a while.
Best mystery thriller books for beginners
This book is about a woman who takes a job as a housekeeper for a wealthy family. As she becomes more involved in their lives, she discovers dangerous secrets. But they don’t what she is capable of either.
🤩 Why I loved it: This book is a twisty and suspenseful read until the very end!
The Perfect Marriage
This book is about a successful defense attorney, Sarah Morgan, whose husband, Adam, is accused of murdering his mistress. Sarah finds herself defending her own husband and must determine whether he is guilty or innocent.
🤩 Why you should read it: This book is so popular on bookstagram! It has a shocking end that you will NOT see coming.
The Silent Patient
It’s a psychological thriller about a well-known painter who shoots her husband and then never speaks again. The story is about a psychotherapist who becomes consumed with figuring out why she did it. It’s a really great read if you’re into mysteries and thrillers.
🤩 Why I loved it: Mystery thrillers are the perfect book recommendations for beginners! They are usually really easy to read and this book fits the bill perfectly! It will consume you untitl the end.
All Good People Here
This book follows journalist Margot as she returns to her hometown to care for her sick uncle and becomes obsessed with solving the murder of her childhood neighbor, January Jacobs. When a young girl from a nearby town goes missing under similar circumstances, Margot vows to find her and solve January’s murder once and for all but encounters resistance from the police, family, and townspeople.
🤩 Why I loved it: Amazing plotline that you will finish in one day!
The Guest List
This novel is set on an island off the coast of Ireland where guests gather for a wedding celebration that takes a dark turn when someone turns up dead. It explores the tensions and jealousies that arise among the guests and asks the question of who might have wanted to harm the happy couple.
🤩 Why I loved it: This was one of my 5-star reads from last year! The full cast on audio plus the twists and turns made this the perfect book recommendation for beginners.
Best fantasy books for beginners
The story follows Katsa, a Graceling with the ability to kill, as she falls in love with Prince Po and uncovers a dangerous secret that could destroy seven kingdoms. The book features elegant prose, memorable characters, and a captivating romance.
🤩 Why you should read it: The characters really make this book with amazing dialouge between everyone.
The Queen of Tearling
This book is an epic debut that combines magic, adventure, mystery, and romance. It follows a young princess named Kelsea who must reclaim her mother’s throne, defeat a malevolent sorceress, and learn to be a ruler.
🤩 Why I loved it: This slower-paced book will give you time to really dig into the beautiful writing style and is truly a great novel for beginners.
This book follows the adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins, wizard Gandalf, and others in the world of Middle-earth. It is a timeless classic and a great recommendation for beginners.
🤩 Why I loved it: I loved reading the Hobbit in high school and think is a great book to start your reading habit. A great epic, magical adventure.
House of Earth and Blood
Bryce Quinlan’s friends are murdered by a demon. When the killer strikes again, Bryce joins forces with Hunt Athalar, a Fallen angel who is tasked to take out his boss’s enemies. As they investigate, they discover a dark power that endangers everything they hold dear, and they start to develop feelings for each other. This novel is action-packed and full of mystery, perfect for readers who love fantasy and romance.
🤩 Why you loved it: This book has unforgettable characters, spicy romance, a descriptive setting, and an amazing plot line. On of my favorite book recommendations for beginners looking to get into high fantasy.
Under the Whispering Door
The story follows Wallace, who suspects he may be dead when a reaper comes to collect him from his own funeral. When given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
🤩 Why you need to read it: The book is hilarious, haunting, and uplifting. Plus, it’s really great on audio!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter is a boy who learns he’s a wizard and goes to a school for magic. He meets new friends and discovers his family’s magical history. It’s a wild adventure with lots of magic and amazing teachers.
🤩 Why to read this amazing book: I will always recommend Harry Potter because it is one of my favorite fantasy series of all times! I’ve read it 5 TIMES through. It’s one the best books to start a reading habit and is a perfect novel of beginners!
Best autobiography or memoirs for beginners
I’m Glad My Mom Died
The book, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” is a memoir by Jennette McCurdy, a former child actor known for her roles in iCarly and Sam & Cat. The book details her struggles with eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother, as well as her journey to take control of her life and find happiness.
🤩 Why I loved it: This book was the winner of Goodreads best memoir & autobiography in 2022 for a good reason. I highly suggest it on audio!
Beyond the Wand
In this book, Tom Felton talks about how he became famous by playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies. He talks about how he got the job, what it was like to film the movies, and the friends he made. He also talks about the good and bad parts of being famous and what it was like to adjust to life after the movies were done.
🤩 Why you should read it: If you have ever wanted to know more about behind-the-scenes at Harry Potter, then this memoir will be perfect for you! It was so interesting and an easy read for adults.
Crying in H Mart
In this book, Michelle Zauner writes about her life as a Korean American. She shares her experience of losing her mother and finding her own identity.
The book talks about how she faced difficulties dealing with her mother’s expectations, her teenage years, and her connection to her Korean culture. She also writes about how she tried to rediscover her identity after her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
🤩 Why you should read it: This book will slowly take you on an emotional journey that will uplift you but also make you cry A LOT.
Spare is a book about Prince Harry’s journey after his mother, Princess Diana died. He struggled with sadness, anger, and loneliness, and ultimately blamed the press for his mother’s death. The British Army helped him, but he still was suffering.
Then he met Meghan, and their wedding was a fairy tale dream. But once again the press was full of abuse and lies, so Harry made the very hard decision to leave his home country. In the book, Prince Harry shares his story with honesty, showing how love can help with grief.
🤩 Why I loved it: I love listening to autobiographies on audio, especially when they’re narrated by themselves. Listening to his own voice and hearing about his life will hit you on a very emotional level. You will be rooting for Prince Harry and Meghan by the end.
Best self help books for beginners
Reasons to Stay Alive
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig is a memoir about the author’s struggle with depression and how he overcame it with the help of reading, writing, and the love of his family and girlfriend.
🤩 Why I loved it: Written by the author who wrote the Midnight Library, this book is very inspiring for those who are overwhelmed by depression and informative for those who don’t understand it. It really encouraged me to appreciate the small joys in life.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
The book argues that positive thinking alone won’t always make you happy. Instead, it suggests that accepting your limitations and facing difficult truths can lead to courage, perseverance, and forgiveness.
🤩 Why you need to read it: This book is full of stories and *language* that will encourage you to live a happy life no matter your circumstances.
This book is for people who want to improve their habits. The book gives practical tips for creating good habits, breaking bad ones, and mastering small actions that lead to great results.
James uses ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to make a guide that is easy to understand and that makes it easy to create good habits and avoid bad ones.
🤩 Why I loved this book: This book seriously gave me the tools to actually create and maintain a habit. I was able to build habits that have really changed how I look at life. This is one of the best books to start a reading habit.
Best historical fiction for beginners
The Book Thief
Set in Nazi Germany, it tells the story of a young girl named Liesel who develops a love for books and words, which leads to her stealing them from various sources. When her foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is turned upside down.
🤩 Why I loved it: With a unique writing style, this classic book still holds a special place in my heart. A truly unforgettable book.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
The novel takes place in 19th century China and tells the story of two women, Lily and Snow Flower, who are lifelong friends. They use a secret language called nu shu to communicate. The book talks about being alone, binding feet, arraigned marriages, and the relationship between mother and child. Despite disagreements, the bond between the two friends stays strong.
🤩 Why I loved it: I absolutely loved this book! It was so beautiful and interesting, and I fell in love with the main characters.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that tells the story of Sethe, a former slave haunted by her past. Sethe’s life is disrupted when a mysterious teenage girl arrives, claiming to be her deceased baby, Beloved.
🤩 Why I loved it: This is another classic historical fiction book that has won so many awards! It has a great twist on magical realism and you will be up until 3 am to finish it in one sitting.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
This novel tells the story of two women, Mariam and Laila, who find solace in each other’s friendship amidst the turmoil of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. This is a story about love, perseverance, and overcoming challenges.
🤩 Why I loved this book: This was one of my favorite 5-star reads from 2022. If you loved Kite Runner, then this book will be right up your alley. I cried so much and was unbelievably touched by the characters in this book.
Best science fiction for beginners
The Doors of Eden
Lee’s friend Mal went missing while searching for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Mal returns, but it’s unclear where she’s been or who she’s working for. When physicist Kay Amal Khan is attacked, MI5’s Julian Sabreur investigates and discovers mysterious agents from another power. Khan’s research on parallel universes and monsters is becoming real as the walls between our world and others break down.
🤩 Why you should read it: Adrian Tchaikovsky is one of my favorite science fiction writers and his writing is both witty and totally unique. You will probably have never read a story like this before!
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy
The book follows the journey of Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect as they travel through space and encounter a variety of characters, including Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin the robot. The book is known for being funny and answering questions you didn’t know you needed to be answered.
🤩 Why you should read it: This book is so FUNNY and random in the best way. This a great science fiction book recommendation for beginners!
This is a science-fiction thriller about a man named Jason Dessen who wakes up in a world that is not his own and must confront the darkest parts of himself to find his way back to the family he loves. The book explores themes of choice, alternate realities, and the lengths we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
🤩 Why to read this book: The big theme in the book is What if… and with mind-mending answers that were so thrilling to read. A great book for all sci-fi lovers.
This book has become a cornerstone of African-American literature. The novel tells the story of an African-American woman named Dana who is transported back in time to Antebellum Maryland before the civil war. As she travels back between the present and the past she must confront the challenges of slavery and racism.
🤩 Why I loved it: Octavia Butler writes amazing stories and this one is my favorite by her! I just have no words for it. It’s a life-changing book. I highly recommend this novel to beginners.
Zero Repeat Forever
This book is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Raven who is at summer camp when the Earth is invaded by the armored Nahx. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance. When a Nahx kills her boyfriend, Raven and Eighth, a protector without a voice or name, must trust each other to survive.
🤩 Why I loved it: One of my favorite alien dystopian novels, that is great to start dipping your toe into the science fiction world.
What book should I read as a beginner?
After you look at the books above you still may be wondering what book should I read as a beginner. Let’s talk about how to choose the right book for you.
The first step is to assess your reading level. There’s no shame in starting with books that are meant for younger readers or those with simpler language. I recommend starting with Harry Potter or a memoir if you find yourself struggling with some higher-level books.
It’s all about finding what works for you and building up from there.
The next step is to figure out your interests. Are you a fan of romance movies, or do you prefer shows with a twist of mystery? Perhaps you’re more drawn to the classic shows, like Bridgerton. Whatever your tastes may be, there’s a book out there for you! Once you learn what you like it will be easy to figure out the best book recommendation for beginners that you should read.
Finally, don’t be afraid to do some digging and find recommendations from friends, family, or places like Goodreads. Getting suggestions from others who share your same interests can help you easily find your next favorite read.
Finding the best book to start a reading habit
Once you found the best book for you from the list above, how do you make reading a habit?
It can be hard to carve out time in our busy lives for reading, but it’s well worth the effort! One of my favorite tips is to schedule a specific time for reading each day or also known as habit stacking. Whether it’s in the morning with your coffee or before bed to wind down if you stack reading on top of something you already do then it will be easier to actually get it done.
Another easy way to stay motivated is to join a book club or start one with your friends. Having a group of people to discuss your latest read with can be a fun and rewarding experience. Plus, it can give you that extra push to finish a book in time for the next meeting. 😂
Lastly, consider keeping a reading journal to track your progress and reflect on what you’ve read. Writing down your reactions or favorite quotes can help you to process what you’ve learned and remember important details.
It’s also a great way to look back and see how far you’ve come in your reading journey. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a regular reader in no time!
Did you find the best book recommendations for beginners?
I hope you have found this blog post helpful as you try to find the best book to start on your reading journey.
🚨 Remember to start by assessing your reading level, identifying your likes, and seeking out recommendations from others!
Once you’ve found the right book for you, try scheduling time for reading each day, joining a book club, or keeping a reading journal to help you stay motivated and build that daily reading habit.
Reading is my favorite hobby that brings me such joy, relaxation, and so many other benefits to your life. So, why not start today? Drop your favorite books for beginners below so we all can diversify our reading together.