On picking a good read for yourself
Finding the perfect book for yourself might be difficult. It has happened to every avid reader. Maybe because you’ve just finished reading a book you have loved. Or maybe you have been getting discouraged by new reads because they’re not as good as you thought.
Getting into a reading slump is annoying when you really want to have fun and dive into a story by feeling all the feels that the author wants you to experience.
I have some tips & tricks to help you find your next perfect book if you’re in a reading slump. They may or may not work. Let me know in the comments below, and don’t hesitate adding your own tips as well :)
1. Bloggers. If you particularly enjoy a blogger’s writing style, check out what they’re reading or their favorite books. Because it will probably mean that you will enjoy them as well. See if they recommend any books in their posts or directly email them asking what they would recommend to you. Don’t forget adding some clues of your reading taste so that they can appropriately recommend you a title.
2. Goodreads. It’s a social network that connects people who reads. It’s like an Spotify for books. It’s great to track your reading lists. There’s a lot of data, so you can use all this sources to create lists on your interests (i.e. best contemporary books, best classics, 20 books for people in their 20s).
Not only you can create your own lists, but you can check your friend’s lists as well. So that’s a great source for you to discover new authors and books that are similar to your taste. It’s very helpful, because you can see your contact’s criteria according to their books read. Join it now and add me as a friend. I’d love to see what you’re reading. You can also recommend books you’ve just read to other people.
I also write very short reviews (2-3 sentences, straight to the point) whether if I liked the book or not. But in the blog you will find as well a series of posts with the hashtag #BeenReading in a certain month. Like this one.
3. Amazon. I love platform to find reviews for non-fiction books. Unlike Goodreads, in Amazon there’s older people who read a wide variety of books (also because the network and the community has been created way earlier than Goodreads, so the number of users is very high).
In Goodreads the majority of users are millennials who read YA novels. And if you’re like me, a massive hater of YA (well, not massive, because I loved Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but you get the idea) I need to verify my book-purchasing obsession by other people’s reviews. And that’s what I use Amazon for. And because there’s a widget that groups the books that users more frequently buy together.
4. Facebook pages. Groups of peoples who get together, pages about reading meetups to talk about books. Maybe a book a month. OR they set objectives. Depending on the group’s rules. It’s always nice to talk about books in person. And you’ll probably discover more authors. I discovered Joan Didion thanks to that.
5. Friends. Don’t forget about them. Start with the ones you know that read the most. Ask them their favorite books or the ones that they think you’ll enjoy the most. If you’re lucky, they will most likely lend you the book to read it yourself. So it’s costless.
But I still buy a book if someone lent it to me and I loved it. I need to own it. Well, but there’s a rational explanation for that. Books are my world. Although I don’t re-read an entire book, I constantly look at snippets of it or I would skim the pages to get inspiration or to review the language.
Another reason is that I love sharing them. I want other people to love them or to feel moved by them. So I get excited whenever a friend asks me to recommend or lend them books.
6. Bookstores: ask the salesperson. Specially if you are permanently living in a city and you go to the same bookstore normally or more like… usually.
I frequently go to Come In. It’s an English Bookstore from Barcelona in Balmes street. When I visit bookstores I don’t go with a concrete title or author to buy that day. I just wander and browse the book spines until I feel the one book that is waiting for me that day.
So there was this day, I was feeling confused for some reason and I couldn’t pick a book. So I asked this girl from the bookstore if she had any suggestion.
You know – I told her – I love reading Nabokov, Murakami, Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Clarice Lispector… but I need something different. A story I could love with all my heart.
She stands up and proceeds to walk to the bookshelves right next to the windows. She picks a book from under her eye-level and shows it to me. “This is my favorite book by her. It’s short and powerful. You must pick it up”.
Convinced, and relieved after not having to made a decision like that, I bought it and brought it home. It lasted three hours. I was mind-blown by how good this book was.
Of course, I had to thank Jennifer. You never know to what extent an unknown person can save your life. And viceversa.
The book was The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark. You should read it too.
Pro tip: get outside of your comfort-reading-zone. Pick a book from another literary genre, so that you don’t get too comfortable with what you’re reading… until you eventually hate it.
Are you currently in a reading slump? do you re-read or read new books when you feel like that? I personally tend not to re-read books that much. So I get constantly disappointed by new books… Tell us the book that got you out of a reading slump :)
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