Where to Find Good Books

Sometimes, the biggest obstacle to reading isn’t finding the time—it’s finding a book you want to read.

Yesterday on Facebook, I picked a book for the month using questions from the New York Times Be a Better Reader Challenge. A series of questions like that can help you clarify what kind of book you’re looking for, but it doesn’t necessarily help you find a specific title. If you’re stuck on Day 1 of the challenge—or if you just want to find a book worth reading—here are my favorite places to find book recommendations:

Modern Mrs. Darcy

I am not exaggerating when I say that this blog changed my life: it was a book recommended by this blog that showed me how fun literary analysis could be, a discovery that led me to read a greater variety of books, major in English, and start this blog, among other things.

Anne, the blogger behind the blog, talks about books all. the. time. There are lists of books, posts about thought processes triggered by books, links to bookish articles, and so on. I get the vast majority of my to-be-read list from Anne’s blog and podcast (which I’ll mention below).

Anne also produces a daily list of eBook deals (see the list here; you can also sign up to get a short list of great deals in your inbox every day). I’ve used these lists to buy inexpensive books, of course, but I also use them to get book recommendations; if a book catches my eye, I add it to my library wish list right away.

What Should I Read Next

This podcast is hosted by Anne Bogel, who writes the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. On the podcast, guests tell Anne three books they love, one book they hate (or, at least, don’t love), and what they’re reading currently. Anne then recommends three books they might enjoy reading next.

So many books get mentioned on this podcast—so many. And because real people are talking about the books, you get a better idea of what they’re about than you do by reading the publisher’s blurb, which was designed to convince you to buy the book and may or may not be accurate. As an added plus, listening to people who love reading gush about their favorite books can make you feel more excited about your own reading life just by proximity.

Your local library

I know, I know: libraries are old-school. But honestly, if you want to read and you’re not sure what kind of book to pick, I highly recommend just wandering around the library for a while. If something catches your eye, pick it up; flip through it; take it home.

For those of you more comfortable with digital browsing, many libraries have an ebook collection as well. Look for your local library on Overdrive, or ask a librarian.

Where do you get your book recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

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