Where do I find my next read?

Now that you’ve found a way to challenge yourself to read more, it’s time to find some books!

Podcast episodes – I found the podcast “What Should I Read Next?” about 2.5 years ago and it is incredible. Each episode has the same format – after a get to know you chat with the guest, the host Anne Bogel asks the guest to talk about 3 books they love, 1 book they don’t and what they’re currently reading. Then based on clues she gets from those selections, Anne gives the guest 3 suggestions of books he/she may enjoy. (Side note, she does this on the fly! She has shared on Instagram that she takes notes during the episode and cultivates a list of potential books for the guest during the course of the conversation) You can scroll through the episode descriptions and find guests who you think may have interests similar to yours – I tend to skip the episodes with guests who are heavy into fantasy and horror reading, but if there’s mention of a guest who likes modern fiction with a complicated family story, I’m all in!

Browse library new books section – My local library has a long case right off the lobby filled with new releases – fiction on one side and nonfiction on the other. I look at these shelves every time I go and will grab one or two that sound interesting or that I’ve heard something about.

Talk to your independent bookstore owner/librarian – Guaranteed the bookstore owner and librarian is a reader and a book lover, and will have recommendations for you! He or she is also knowledgeable about what’s new in the publishing world even if it’s outside of their personal area of interest.

Head to your local thrift store – One underappreciated place for finding books is your local Goodwill or thrift shop! One of my daughter’s dance classes is only 30 minutes long and there’s a Goodwill 2 doors down from her studio in the shopping center, so every few weeks I’ll wander in to see what they have. At that store most of the books are only $1, and I’ve picked up so many that have been on my TBR (to be read) list. Even if you’re starting from scratch with no TBR, cruise the shelves at your local thrift store and see what interests you.

Go back to those well-known book clubs and scan the lists of what they’ve read: Oprah, Reese & Jenna

Book of the Month – This subscription service (which I am *this* close to joining) sends you one of 5 new releases for just $10-15, and then you can add on additional books for $10. The monthly picks are from a range of categories so you can try different genres and see which one you like the best.

Goodreads – Goodreads is the Facebook of the reading world. You can connect with friends to see what they’re reading, but your news feed will also tell you what books are trending in different areas and you can look at other users comments on a particular book to see if it might be for you.

Social Media – There are active book communities on both Instagram and TikTok. Search #bookstagram on Instagram and #booktok to see what others are reading, what they love and what they don’t love. My list of books I’m interested in has grown so much since finding these communities!

Take cues from what movies/TV you enjoy –  See if your favorite series or movie is based on a book (Outlander, Crazy Rich Asians, heck, even Bridgerton!) and dive in! Or read the book before you see an upcoming movie release. I have been holding out on seeing the movie Just Mercy for ages because I hadn’t read the book yet (just finished it over the weekend!), but I also binged Firefly Lane on Netflix last week even though the book has been on my shelf for ages.

 

I encourage you to keep notes either in a book journal or in an online form like Goodreads as you’re working through finding what you like. Keep notes about what works and what doesn’t work so you can further hone in on a genre/story arc/character type that you enjoy the most.

And I’m going to repeat my caveat:

As with making any change, give yourself some grace. Life happens and missing one piece of your reading goal is not something to stress about. They don’t call it “reading for enjoyment” for nothing. Meeting your reading goal shouldn’t be stressful, it should be exciting. Along those same lines, if a book isn’t serving you or giving you joy, it’s ok to put it down. As you are discovering what you like to read, you’ll have some hits and some misses. If you know 75 pages in that something is amiss, don’t feel like you need to finish the next 200 pages. Put it down and make note of why that book wasn’t the one for you. All of these pieces of information will refine your reading preferences and help you be more accurate about your picks in the long run. I wrote about how I did that in this post. At this point, I don’t put books down often because I have a better sense of what I like and what I think I won’t like. Finding your preferences is a journey.

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