My mother loves to read, and she gets all of her books from a nearby library. She lives in a small town in South Louisiana where all the librarians know her and the types of books she likes to read. When a new book comes in they think she would like, they set it aside for her. They have also given Mom and others like her permission to put their initials in the backs of books, so they will know who has read what.
Even in larger cities, librarians are great people to make friends with. They typically love books and love to help other people enjoy a good read. Especially in the smaller branch libraries, getting to know a helpful librarian is a worthwhile investment of your time.
So, if you don’t have your own personal librarian selecting books for you, how do you wade through the one million or so books published worldwide each year?
You can always go down to the local bookstore—hopefully, there still is one in your area—and enjoy a splendid few hours roaming up and down the aisles, looking for those covers and titles that reach out and grab you. I love to do this. Several times a year, I head to the Barnes & Noble on Colonial Drive, ride the escalator upstairs, turn to the left and spend an afternoon sitting on the floor in front the biography/memoir section, pulling each book off the shelf and finding out what it’s all about. Some I buy right away. With the others that interest me, I make a list of titles to read later.
What if it’s raining outside and you don’t want to get wet? There are many websites for booklovers where you can stroll the aisles of virtual bookstores and find the next great book you want to read. Some even offer recommendations based on books you’ve already read. Let’s take a look at a few.
Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) – Goodreads mission is “to help people find and share books they love.” To that end, it is largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world with more than 10,000,000 members who have added more than 360,000,000 books to their shelves. Here you can simply search for books by genre or subject or log on and identify books you’ve read, want to read or recommend. If you join Goodreads, stop by and visit Eating and Elephant: Write Your Life One Bite at a Time and write a review.
BookPage (www.bookpage.com) – BookPage is a monthly print and online magazine of book reviews of all genres. Online you can search for books by genre or read author interviews and blogs. You can also sign up to receive a “Book of the Day” email, which profiles a new book every weekday. Subscriptions to the print version are available for a fee, or you can often pick up a free copy at many librarians and some bookstores, including Books-a-Million.
Many other websites of this kind exist, and you can always check the bestseller lists and reviews of the New York Times.com, NPR Books or Publishers Weekly (subscription to Publishers Weekly required to view some areas). And if you’ve ever purchased a book online, you know, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are always ready to recommend something for you to read.
So, tell me, how do you find your next book? Where do you learn about books you might want to read? What are you reading right now? How did you come to read this book? Do you use any online book review sites? If so, which ones? Share your proven tips for finding a good book, and let’s start a conversation.