Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How do you find new books to read?

It occurred to me today as I looked at the stack of books waiting to be read, that I don't remember what most of them are about or why I decided to check them out.  I'd like to think this isn't due entirely to my diminished short-term memory capacity, but rather because I found some books to read that haven't been getting a lot of press.  What to read next is always an interesting challenge: I want a book that has characteristics I know I'll like but that isn't exactly the same as every other book I've come across lately. 

Fortunately, I'm surrounded by news about new books every day.  More than that, I'm surrounded by book reviews every day.  On a given day, I might read a few dozen different book reviews.  As I write, I'm staring down about 10 journals I need to get through, but I actually look forward to it, because each is filled with review after review of new book.  I read reviews in trade journals like Kirkus or more public sources (Entertainment Weekly has consistently good book reviews, as does -- believe it or not -- People).  Those reviews and previews are usually how I get into the position I am now.  I have 8 books at home that I'm not sure I ever would've picked off the shelf, but the reviews were interesting enough to make me want to read them.  There's nothing like a good review from a source I trust to make me overcome my perpetual judgment of books based on their covers.

Some of the reviews I trust most, though, are from personal sources.  Friends, family, and (one of the perks of being at a library all day) coworkers are constantly telling me about what they've read recently that they think I might like.  They're able to do this because they know what I tend to like. 

Where do you turn for book suggestions?  How do you find what you're going to read next?  Do you grab them off the shelf or do you have a network of fellow readers who provide suggestions?  If you don't have that network, let us play that role.  You can fill out a personalized reading list request and within a few days we'll send you a list of books we think you'd like based on your reading interest.  We're like personal shoppers for books.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!

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