People ask me this all the time—”How do you know what to read next?”—or the closely-related, “How do you find out about all these books?” It’s become such a common question that I thought I’d tackle it in a few Fireside Fridays posts. I’m sure the process of discovering new books and deciding which ones to read next differs from bookworm to bookworm, but it’s always helpful and interesting to learn about how other people to do it. To start, I thought I’d answer the second question first because you can’t decide what to read next until you have several book options to chose from, right?
How I Find Out About Books
1. Friend recommendations
The number one way I found out about books is through word of mouth (or word of … type?) recommendations. My favorite get-to-know-you question is, “What’s your favorite book?” and my favorite question to ask friends is, “What are you reading right now?” Most of my friends are bookworms, so we’re constantly sharing titles with each other. Note that these don’t have to be “irl” (in real life) friends—in fact, my bookworm friends are predominately ones I’ve met online. Building a community of fellow book-enthusiasts is the single best way you can find more good books to read.
2. Magazine or blog reviews
The problem with friend recommendations is that my friends and I usually have similar book tastes. What do I do if I want to branch out and try a new genre? That’s where reviews come in. WORLD magazine, for instance, reviews a few books each magazine and makes sure to cover a wide variety of genres. Many other magazines do this. And we can’t forget blogs! Book blogs are some of the best places out there to learn about new book ideas. Google book blogs, ask other bloggers which ones they like, see if your library’s website has a blog—it shouldn’t be too hard to find one.
3. Insides and outsides of books
I cannot tell you how many authors I have discovered by perusing the insides of books I’ve already read. They’ll often include lists like “Other books by this author,” “Other books you may enjoy,” or “Other books by this publisher.” Take advantage of those! Don’t ignore those reviews on the backs of books, either—often other authors will be quoted and the books they’ve written will be listed.
4. School lists
So this one may sound a little nerdy, but occasionally I’ll google school book lists to find out what classics other schools consider important. No one curriculum can cover every good classic, so it’s nice to explore what classics other people value—especially in the summer when I want something to challenge my brain.
5. The list
As I’ll talk about hopefully next week, sometimes you hear about a book that you’re not quite ready to read. Simply write down the title and author and save it for a later. I have a page in one of my notebooks full of books I want to check out someday. If you simply can’t find a book to read, check the list.
Sadly, I rarely go to the library to browse. I usually order books online and only head to the library to pick them up. However, the times that I have enjoyed such a treat, I have inevitably discovered new authors and books that I probably wouldn’t have come into contact with any other way.
Also, I found this website: What I Should Read Next. I haven’t used it yet, but it may be helpful—let me know! Two book review sites I enjoy are My Lady Bibliophile and Redeemed Reader (children/young adult books only).
As always, I want to hear from you. How do you hear about new books—which venues did I miss? What are some book sites you follow and use? Do share!