I'm assuming these individuals are aware of their reading shortcomings and hopefully won't take offense in what seemingly might be initially patronizing suggestions.
I am wrestling with text book selection now but -- following some of the commentary this thread received -- there is no way I would discuss the matter here.
However, as I struggle with selections and as time goes by and makes my inability to settle on one, I find myself confronting the issues this thread raised.
Patronizing as in offering Rebecca in place of Jane Eyre. I don't see that as patronizing. Du Maurier wrote very easy to understand but solid prose.
The ethical struggle here, to me, is to not offer some help is step on their faces. I would have said fingers but faces seems to better fit.
Perhaps, they might see a list as an invitation to enjoy themselves. My daughter's college roommate liked receiving books as gifts. She considered them permission to take a short vacation.