Finding a book to read these days is nothing like it was in the past. The internet has created a wealth of resources for the avid reader to find the next book they’re going to love. Phases of my own life can be delineated by how I might choose to find a book to read.
Aside from trips to the library when I was a kid, I mostly learned about new books through Scholastic book fairs, and now I get most of my recommendations from social media. Most if not all of my book discovery has moved online – and in only a few decades. It’s fascinating when you think about it. And it doesn’t mean that the old ways of finding books no longer work – only that there are so many more ways to find new books.
I guess the point of this post boils down to this – how do you choose the books you want to read, and how often do you stick to it? Do you maintain a continuous TBR, or just decide on a whim each time you sit down to read?
There are just so many different ways you can find new books, and I figured I’d list a few here. Let me know which ones you’ve used to pick up your next book:
Browsing Your Personal Bookshelf
This is probably where most people start, especially if, like me, you’ve had problems reeling in your book-buying habits. It just makes sense to read the books you’ve already purchased, but maybe you prefer borrowing from friends or getting books from the library, and you keep your bookshelf at home small and minimal.
I’ve started doing something like this myself, with my 12 Books Challenge, and no matter what sort of reader you are, there is probably a challenge out there for you. You can create your own at the start of the year (as I did), or follow one of the bigger challenges, like the POPSUGAR reading challenge that is hosted every year.
Readathons are interesting in that they are community-driven reading events that usually have some sort of theme to guide the types of books you pick up. Many have recommendation lists to pull from or a collective read for everyone to participate in for a final discussion at the end.
A Monthly TBR
Do you choose a certain number of books you want to read throughout the month? How often do you stick to this to-be-read list? How do you choose the books that end up there? In the past when I’ve done my own monthly TBR pile, I’ve always overcommitted to more books than I could read or I’d read something else based on the mood I was in.
By Random Selection
I love the idea of turning this process into a little game. I’ve seen people take all the books they want to read and put them in a jar, drawing from it when they’re ready to pick their next read. (also called a TBR jar) I’ve also seen people assign numbers to their books and bookshelves and use random number generators. It’s a fun way to pick a book, but what if you pick up something you’re just not feeling at that particular moment? Do you try again?
I don’t doubt that recommendations are how a book might end up on your radar, whether it comes from friends, someone on Booktube or Booktok, or posts on Instagram and Goodreads – but do you ever go to these sources to pick your next read? I build my TBR with these sorts of lists, but how often do you go to social media to choose the next book you’ll pick up?
A Library or Bookstore Trip
Maybe you like to browse the bookshelves at the store or check out the themed and trending displays for your next read. These are always some of my favourite tables to check out!
Are you a member of a book club? It would certainly make it easier to pick if your club dictated your next read. Or you might get recommendations from fellow members, or additional reading based on something the club has already read.
Book Recommendation Service
One thing I never expected to see was a book recommendations service – well-read professionals who try to recommend a book to you based on the sorts of things you’ve liked before, or something specific that you want to read. I’ve seen a few at this point, but the most well-known one is probably Book Riot’s TBR. Have you ever used a service like this? Would you ever consider using a service like this?
Browsing Categories Online
Do you ever visit your book retailer of choice and browse through your favourite categories to find something new? It could be Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo, or a local independent bookstore.
I’m a huge fan of fantasy books, so it’s what I almost exclusively read, but maybe you prefer to switch it up with each new book you pick up. Maybe you only read romances in February and horror in October. Does the time of year dictate the sorts of genres you lean towards?
Are you the type of reader who will wait until an entire series is complete so you can binge it? Or are you fine with waiting? Do you avoid series completely and look for more standalone reads?
Reading an Author’s Backlist
If you find a new author that you really enjoy, are you more likely to search out other books that they have written and read them right away? How often do you actually go back to read an author’s backlist? This is something I am notoriously bad at, as I love bright and shiny new releases.
Checking Out New Releases
Do you like to look out for new releases each month, and decide what you’ll read based on the newer books that have been released? Or do you prefer to focus on books that are already on your TBR? I admit that I am often swayed by books that are new and shiny. I love checking out new releases, though it means I may neglect what I’ve already committed to.
A Dose of Reading Randomness: The d100 Reading Prompts
Maybe it speaks to some larger problem with my penchant for game-ifying all aspects of my life (that or my obsession with rolling dice), but I have always found lists of reading prompts to be a fun incentive for choosing your next read. So naturally, I combined it with my love of rolling tables to add a bit of random fun the next time you need to decide on a new book.
If you’re not sure what to read next, maybe give the prompt table a try! Roll a couple of dice and see what prompt you get! Don’t forget to tell me which book(s) you decided to pick up!
How Do You Choose Your Next Read?
I’m curious – how did you decide to read the last five books you picked up? How do you find most of your recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!