I love reading but I have so many people in my life who don’t quite understand the fuss. If you’re of the same kind but like the idea of being well-read, then my series that covers the basics of becoming a true reader is for you! I already posted an introductory post way back in October 2017, which outlines the steps to becoming a book lover, so feel free to check that out if you haven’t. This post is for those of you who have already found that one book you thoroughly enjoyed and are looking for more but have no clue who to turn to or where to search. I’m dividing the post into two sections because shortlisting the book to read next is a two-step process, according to me.
Step 1: Make a list of potential books – a TBR pile
1. Get recommendations from bookish websites
If you thoroughly enjoyed your last read, chances are you’ll like more of the same kind. The best place to check out similar books is Goodreads. Since the new app update, I’ve been loving this site. Although not without its fault, I use it to keep track of my reading and connect with more book lovers online. It also has a great recommendations which are tailored to your reading tastes. You can also of course try some other bookish websites, although I haven’t personally used any – find more in this article. The simplest way would be to Google, obviously.
2. Ask a bookish friend
Whether online or in real life, bookworms are always waiting for a chance to gush about their favourites. Do your friendly neighbourhood bibliophile/online best friend a favour and ask them to give you a list books. The good thing about asking someone who knows you is that they’ll probably mention books that you might enjoy as opposed to getting a random recommendation which you may or may not end up liking.
3. Walk into a bookstore or library
This could be virtual or real, depending on what you can access. Head over to the section that has the genre you like best or just browse through and pick up any that catch your eye. Asking the librarian or bookstore employees can also help you add some books you might not have otherwise noticed. Again, depending on how much you can spend or can read once you check out the books, shortlist the few that you are drawn to the most and head back with your haul.
4. Make use of the online bookish community
Book Twitter and Bookstagram are two of my favourite places not only to meet more like-minded people but also add to my ever-increasing TBR. It’s always helpful to know what the latest trending books are or check if your favourite author announced a new book. Book blogs and Booktube are also great – especially recommendations, TBR and book haul posts/videos. This is my preferred way to discover books and also to learn what the people I trust have to say about them so that I can weed out the ones I may not enjoy. If you’re on Twitter, some useful hashtags are – #booktwitter, #bookrecs (general), #diversebookbloggers #bookblogger (if applicable), #diversebooks (if that’s what you’re looking for) and specific genre hashtags like #fantasybooks or #yabooks. Thanks to Neha @ BiblioNyan and Resh @ The Book Satchel for the help! Here is my list of recommendations for beginners as well as those looking to get out of a reading slump.
5. Participate in a readathon
Readathons are very flexible in the sense that you can pick books based on the reading prompts, which give a sense of direction to your TBR. For a mood reader like me, it gives a structure to my reading as I feel a sense of accountability and forces me to get creative with the prompts so that I can add the books I’m in the mood for to my TBR. There’s also usually a community cheering you on so that you feel more motivated to read, which is always a plus!
Step 2: Choosing Your Next Read
This can be done in many different ways, so here I am telling a few methods that I think actually work.
1. Figure out your reading pattern
There are a few types of readers that book lovers can be broadly classified as. I myself am a mood reader, so I keep a stack of different kinds of books (also in different formats like e-book and audiobook) handy so I can choose one from among them depending on my mood after I finish my current read. A methodical or organised reader might benefit more from making a monthly or even weekly TBR. Readathons are a great hit with such readers. A seasonal reader would be advised to stock up books depending on the weather outside and pick up books from a pre-determined pile. Of course, it is completely normal to break up the pattern and read something on a whim or try to stick to a TBR if you’re a mood reader, so remember to mix it up once in a while!
2. Read the synopsis or a chapter
It’s always best to get a feel for what you’re in for before deciding to commit to a book. Reading the synopsis will not only help you decide whether it can be your next read but also make you even more excited for the book. Sometimes, the synopsis might provide too much information, so I prefer to recommend reading a chapter before deciding from a sample of books from your TBR. Pick up one that you’re most excited for and get a taste of the writing, story, characters and atmosphere before jumping in. If it’s not a great fit, just try another until you find the perfect one.
3. Flip a coin
This was one of the reading challenges for the recent BookTube-A-Thon and it really struck me. Sometimes even the most planned person may have difficulty in making a choice. Perhaps there are so many choices that it’s overwhelming or there are two that equally appeal to you. Leave it to chance and let the universe pick out the book for you! If you can’t narrow it down to two books, try rolling a die or a random number generator.
4. Do a poll on bookish social media
Like I mentioned before, Book Twitter and Bookstagram are absolutely amazing platforms for an avid reader. The best part is that when you’re stumped and out of your depth, it helps to have an experienced and understanding community which can steer you in the right direction. Here’s a video by one of my favourite BookTubers, Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages, where she goes over her TBR that was picked by her Instagram followers. If you’re looking for ideas on how to ask the community, this would be very helpful.
5. Join a book club
When the decisions are being made by another person, everything can be so very easy. I actually love being part of book clubs and there are some lovely ones that are being run by my blogging friends – Classics & Christie book club by Simant @ Flipping Through the Pages and Fanna @ Fannatality, Banned Book Club by Shruti @ This is Lit and Crone Book Club by Jenn @ Jenniely. It’s also nice to discuss the book chosen with a community and hear differing opinions on the book club pick.
When did you start reading? Do you consider yourself an experienced or novice reader? Do you have any more tips to add to the list? Let me know in the comments section below.