The Vital Art of Book Selection

It’s funny how often I talk to people–young and old–who say they’re not reading because they don’t know what to read next. Sure there are so many choices that it can be overwhelming.

With a little effort and time, you can make informed choices and keep yourself reading to your heart’s content. There’s nothing quite as comforting as a well-stocked nightstand.

Here are a few ways to stay abreast of the myriad of reading choices.

Newfangled Options:

1) Goodreads – Join this website and get the app for your smart phone, and with a tiny bit of effort, you can be in the know. You can find out what people like, follow authors, and track your own reading. I love Goodreads for all these reasons, and especially for my fellow members’ reviews. When I see something that looks good, I add it to my To Read shelf. Next time I’m at the bookstore, I just open up the Goodreads app on my phone, access my To Read list, and find a book.

2) Publisher Apps – Some publishers, Random House for example, now have apps which feature recent releases. You can peruse the titles by genre and see what looks good. There are even sample chapters.

3) eReaders – If you don’t own an eReader, don’t worry. You can still add apps such as Kindle and Kobo to your iPad or smart phone. Many book retailers offer sample chapters so you can have a free try before you buy.

4) Twitter – Follow publishers, book reviewers, and your favourite authors to see what’s being released. Sometimes they run competitions to win advance copies!

5) Buy Online – Online booksellers use cookies and other mysterious means to track your purchases and interests. If you visit frequently, you’ll find they offer suggestions that match your interests.

Old Fashioned Methods:

1) Magazines and Newspapers – Good Reading Magazine is fabulous, and their website is especially good. The weekend papers have long printed great book reviews, so check them out to see what’s new in the publishing world.

2) Your Local Librarian – Check out the stacks at your library. Most have displays of new releases.

3) You local independent bookstore – This is probably the best means of all. The folks that run bookstores have their fingers on the pulse of both the publishing world and the reading public. Ask for a recommendation. These guys are qualified to make good suggestions.

4) Join a book club and try something new, perhaps a genre you haven’t sampled before.

If All Else Fails…

1) Buying Blind – This is when you make a selection based solely on a book’s cover–no prior Goodreads research, no reviews, no recommendations from trusted friends. You just pick a cover that grabs you, cross your fingers, and go for a literary adventure. You may luck out and find a new favourite. If not, you’ve still had some fun.


I use all of the methods above, researching, recording, and keeping tabs on publishers. I even resort to the last option–the spontaneous purchase. Sometimes I end up with a total shocker of a book, but that’s okay because it makes those times when I pick a winner all the more wonderful.



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