Dewey Decimal Classification, #1 seller, favorite author. There are so many ways to choose a book to read, and it can become difficult to narrow down your selection. The last thing you want to do is start a book that turns out to be a dud. This is a disappointment on two levels. The obvious first is that the book is not entertaining. The second is that the negative experience can turn you off from reading for a while.
So, to avoid the frustration, I compiled a couple of strategies that help me choose my next read. I hope they work as well for you as they do for me!
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1. Interests & Passions
Ask yourself the following question: what am I interested in right now? Think hobbies, curiosities, and passions.
This question is great for weeding out books that wouldn’t hold your attention. If you start by topic or genre of interest, you can’t go wrong. Once you’ve found your sweet spot, you can look for notable reviews of books within your topic and make a selection.
2. Favorite Author
Who’s your current favorite writer? An old favorite you might want to revisit? Or an author that you’ve read once, but can’t get off your mind.
It can help to root your explorations in the authors you know and love. Maybe their next book will resonate with you as deeply as the first did. Maybe you’ll find a gem in a book they recommend off their own reading list. Author-based book choices are smart because you already know their writing style, and you can be confident that you’re getting some quality reading in.
3. Bestseller Lists
New to reading and not picky? Try hitting up a bestseller list. There are so many great lists out there—with their help, you’re bound to find a good book to read. You can see what everyone else is raving about and if it’s worth all the hype.
The most well-known list is the New York Times Best Sellers List, but that doesn’t mean you have to look there. There are plenty of others that are not as mainstream, coordinated by literary names such as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and Indie Bound Bestsellers.
This is a wonderful site to use. Many avid readers, including myself, use this site to get new book ideas and interact in a community of like-minded people. On Goodreads, people can write reviews, feature books they’ve read on their “bookshelf”, and even create group discussions on a particular book or topic of interest. These are just a few of Goodreads’ ways to choose a book to read.
Using the site does involve some navigation, but it is well worth it. It’s a great way for you to discover books you didn’t even know were out there. You also get the reassurance that the books you’re considering have been reviewed by a real, regular, just-like-you reader, rather than someone being paid to give it a thumbs up.
5. Suggestions from Friends
Who else to turn to in your time of need than your chosen family? Friends can be a great, motivating way to get into a new read.
Creating book clubs or friendly reading challenges can introduce you to new books and keep you accountable for your reading progress. Not only will you find some great reads, but you’ll also find more reasons to hang with your friends and spend time together. It’s a win-win!
I hope this has helped you find a starting place for all your reading endeavors. Maybe it’s given you some ways to choose a book for that next appointment wait or long train ride.
The hardest part of a project or goal is simply beginning, so here’s the kickstart you need to push off!
Good luck, and happy reading!