How do you choose what to read next?

This is a serious question I would like all Readers to consider … Where do you find information about books and authors?

Whose advice do you listen to when deciding which book to read next? Friends? Family? Authors?

Do you belong to Goodreads and discover books there? (Or any other reading site.)

Do you read newspaper or magazine reviews (either in print or online) and discover new authors or find new books that favourite authors are publishing?

Do you listen to a book program on radio or via podcast?

Do you belong to a book club and stick to the recommended list of books the members discuss?

Do you ask your local librarian or bookseller for recommendations? Or do you just browse the shelves at a library or bookstore and hope for inspiration?

I would really like to know. This is not a scientific suvey I’m conducting here, but I hope that Readers will tell me how they go about deciding what to read, because the way we discover information about books is so unique and personal and I’m genuinely interested in how you do this. I, for instance, find my reading material in completely different ways than those I’ve listed above. But then that’s because I’ve been in the book biz all my life and I may read certain books for different reasons than most of you out there. That’s just me, though.

Please, take a moment and write a comment below. Or share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter and mention your method of choosing there. Let’s get a conversation going here, because I do believe this is valuable information to anyone who writes and reads.

Thank you!

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14 responses

  1. I find a lot of my reading material through recommendations of family and friends (if I haven’t already snooped in their book shelves !). I also like to look at on-line book lists from reading clubs and public libraries. While my preference is fiction, especially historical fiction, the “new books” section in my local library also offers up a wide selection of non-fiction to sample . I have found some real keepers that way.

    1. Thanks, Susie! I love librarians, too. They’re the best at recommending books!

  2. I read blogs. Lots and lots of book blogs (far too many) and then flip over to the TPL site and reserve them.

    1. Thanks, Susan D.! Do you have any favourite book blogs to recommend?

  3. Hi. I never look at Goodreads but do read the reviews and get info from facebook, book club members. I read the Giller and GG list. I go to local launches and usually buy the book. Word of mouth is big with me and I have a few friends whose recommendations I trust. Joan. M. Baril.

    1. Thanks, Joan! Award shortlists are another good way to build up your to-read list that I’d forgotten to list.

  4. I choose books that are referenced in articles I am reading

    1. Thanks, Rorie! I find I have been doing this as well, lately. Or reading books that are mentioned in novels I’m reading. Do you ever read books written by authors who have blurbed favourite books?

  5. I usually go on recommendations! Or sometimes I’ll just spend a few hours in a bookstore and buy a couple that catch my interest.

    1. Thanks, Rachel! Being an editor, you’re on the front line and see manuscripts before they become good reads for others. I’ve discovered a couple of good authors that way as well.

  6. Hi Susan. I love it when you ask these kinds of questions. It gives me pause to think; how do I decide what to read next. Most of my reading in the past 2 years has come from recommendations by other readers/writers. Once I ‘discover’ an author I like, I’ll browse through their publication list (on my Kindle) and use the reviews/ratings to select other books they’ve written. A lot of recommendations come my way through blogs and various other websites and I have been known to just run my fingers along the store book shelf and pick something at random, but that is happening less and less since I got my e-reader.
    I hope that helps!
    ~Minkee Robinson

    1. Thanks for your reply, Minkee! I, too, look through an author’s list of previous publications when I find a book I like. I read a lot of writers’ blog, as well, and find recommendations that way.

  7. I mostly read books that get sent to me, either as an editor or reviewer. I very seldom look at goodreads etc unless trying to plug books I’ve edited myself or have already reviewed elsewhere; I have not subscribed to a newspaper for over 2 decades; I do not belong to a book club, I do not get recommendations from librarians or booksellers — they often ask me instead. I do occasionally catch a radio/podcast on books, and especially like the book lectures on TVOs “Big Ideas” series. My primary source of book news is that I attend several writers’ conventions each year (e.g., Calgary’s When Words Collide) and talk to writers. “Written any good books lately” is a pretty good question to open conversations at WWC. I also peruse Susan Toy’s Alberta author’s table whenever she shows up at said conventions….

    1. Thank you, Robert! It’s nice to know that the Alberta Books Canada displays had an impact when I was attending conferences and conventions. Maybe I’ll make a comeback some day … Being in the biz, your answer to my question is much the same as mine. I would add, too, author readings and public appearances.

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