In what I’d call the ‘book drought’ that followed university and a social media addiction that began to peak in about 2009, if I read a book it was usually the result of a recommendation or from spotting an intriguing cover in WHSmith’s book charts whilst filling time at a train station. But since I gave myself a target of reading at least 12 books a year at the end of 2013, I’ve been much more proactive about finding books so I have a selection waiting and I don’t get sucked back into chasing wifi on the underground or constantly checking my phone.
You might have gathered that I’m quite a picky reader, I generally don’t re-read books, I struggle with non-fiction and certain genres, and I can’t just read anything (especially the kind you get free with a magazine). Luckily, over the last year or two I’ve discovered that there are so many ways to find great books and gathering a few for our recent holiday to Costa Rica was much easier. In case you’ll be lounging on a sunbed, relaxing in the park or chilling in your back garden this summer and you’re looking for a good read as company, I thought I’d share with you a few ways to find your next book.
Ask for recommendations – Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. I like to shout out for recommendations on Twitter, Facebook and here every now and again. It usually gets the best and quickest results because most of the people following are like-minded (so often have a similar taste in books or are as picky) and are willing to share. I discovered All the Light We Cannot See through a cheeky request on Facebook recently.
Follow fellow book worms – If you like books and social media I’m fairly sure you’ll eventually find a few people to follow who like a good book. I discovered Station Eleven through Zoe Pearson on Instagram, The Muse through Jess on Snapchat and The Woodcutter through Little Miss Katy. I’m keeping my eye out for more book bloggers at the moment, so let me know if you’ve heard of any or shout up if that’s your niche!
Join a book club – Every month I fully intend to read the latest book for Poppy Loves Book Club. The titles Poppy chooses often end up on my reading list and with over 2,000 members it sounds like an amazing chance to discuss books like I did in my student days but with others all around the world. Sadly I can never quite time it right to join in at the moment. I really do love the idea of joining a book club and think any club would be a good motivator to read and discover more.
Complete a reading challenge – I stumbled across this reading challenge on Pinterest and I thought it was a great way to make you think about and find different books to read. It would keep me going for the whole year and then some!
Keep your eyes on the prize – I often used to dismiss book prizes on the assumption that the winning books would be too intellectual or serious for my tastes. Silly right?! I got over that and as a result discovered H is for Hawk (winner of Costa Book of the Year 2015), A Spool of Blue Thread (shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2015 and the Bailey’s Women Fiction Prize ) and Elizabeth is Missing (longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2015). I usually keep my eye on the news and check out the longlist the websites for the Costa Book Awards and Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Check out Goodreads – I signed up to Goodreads just before my holiday and whilst I was a bit overwhelmed by the volume of reviews, lists and people to follow I did think it had potential. I recently received an email from them about new releases and it seems so much more easy to navigate than the recommendations I get from Amazon (which always include random titles related to the presents I buy on there!) I’m keen to see if I can make more of it next time I log in.
Visit What Should I Read Next – I discovered this website a few years ago and whilst I haven’t used it a lot (I’ve been well sourced using the tips I’ve shared so far!), I do like the idea of it. All you have to do is type in an author’s name or a favourite book title and it provides a short list of books you might like.
Don’t forget the classics – I read a lot of classics at university and I’ve sort of avoided them since. But in the run up to the Christmas before last I read A Christmas Carol for the first time and loved it as much as the film (I know I probably did this the wrong way round!) It reminded me that there are still so many classics I haven’t read yet.
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How do you find your next book?
Look out for the reviews of the books I’ve read over the last few months are coming soon!