The Twitter Reading Community At Its Best: how a small question to Penguin Books resulted in life-changing reading results

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
~ Borges

The internet generally, and social media platforms in particular, can sometimes be rather treacherous places. But overall, I like to think that they are mostly friendly community places where we can share common interests with both people we know, and people we have never met. Last week, as a result of a spur of the moment Tweet, I was delighted to be proved absolutely right in this view when something very unexpected and rather wonderful happened.

I happened to notice on Twitter that Penguin Books were inviting people to ask them for reading recommendations. On a whim, I posted the following Tweet:


The aforementioned friend has been trying for ages to get into reading. I had furnished her with lots of recommendations. But nothing seemed to be working. Why not, I thought, see if Penguin can help?

Sure enough, they replied with a very interesting recommendation:


A few others also made suggestions, which was both unexpected and nice. And a trickle of replies quickly turned into something of a deluge. To my amazement, I received an incredible range of recommendations from nearly 200 people!!!

I have put together this resulting book list, which makes for fascinating reading in itself. Many of the books here are not ones which I would have thought of for a first-time reader. Several people went for The Hobbit for example – not a book I would have picked. But that’s the beauty of diverse input. Everyone has a different and equally valid perspective. There are also plenty of excellent titles which I read and enjoyed ages ago and had completely forgotten about.

Perhaps most important of all though is that my friend has had a lovely time sifting through all the suggestions and feels inspired to take the reading plunge. She has now joined all us regular readers in the formulation of a To Be Read list. Surely an important step forward in any reading life!

Her top picks for starters are:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon;
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gaile Honeyman;
  • The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett;
  • Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham.

I have read the first three of these and I think it is a great list.

She has also found all the Twitter replies helpful in identifying types of books to consider. Several people recommended thinking about one’s interests and finding related books. My friend is really keen on travel and we agreed that finding novels set in places she would like to visit sounds perfect. I can relate to this. I love Paris (who doesn’t?!) and always enjoy novels which include something Parisienne. I am really looking forward to reading Sebastian Faulks’ new novel, Paris Echo when it arrives from the library.

So let me say a big thank you to Penguin Books and all those lovely folks who took the trouble to let me have their thoughts and suggestions. And it doesn’t have to end there. Which title would you recommend? I am happy to keep adding to the list….. 😀📚

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
~ Neil Gaiman


11 thoughts on “The Twitter Reading Community At Its Best: how a small question to Penguin Books resulted in life-changing reading results

  1. Some great suggestions. I feel inspired to read or re-read some of these myself. It’s a madly busy time of year and I always find that drives me towards ‘comfort’ reading. Some of these would be just right for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree Eleanor – there are some great titles in the list to suit any mood. I’m definitely going to pick up on a few over the holidays! 🙂


  2. A great idea, Liz, and I bet the results were fascinating! Have you ever come across the Quick Reads books? They are designed precisely to encourage new readers to discover what they enjoy and find their feet in the world of books, and are equally for good for those who just never happen to have read a book before, or for those who have just leaned to read as an adult. They are all by successful authors and none of them are dumbed down. I worked in a library for a short time after being ill some years ago and still remember a man in his 40s coming up to me and saying he had just learnt to read, wanted to get into it so as to be able to encourage his little boy, and what could I recommedn? We had a whole stand of Quick Reads books and he was able to find a couple he liked the sound of and take them away, and then came back for more. Thierauthors include everyone like Roddy Doyle, Ruth Rendell (an undislodgeably creepy story), Ian Rankin, JoJoMoyes, Maeve Binchy, and plenty of non-fiction, from Malala to Andy McNab. One option would be for your friend to pick up four of five of these, see what appeals, and then go for something by the same or a similar author. Here’s a link

    Liked by 2 people

  3. How lovely Liz! I know twitter can be horrible, but I’m careful who I follow and as a result have a timeline full of books and otters 😀 I hope your friend finds something she enjoys and the magic of reading opens up to her.

    Liked by 1 person

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