I’ve always wondered how people pick their next book to read, how they decide which book deserves their attention next, especially when they rely on the library as much as I do. I haven’t bought a book in ages (other than as a gift for other people, when there was a book that I really loved). I have gotten so used to reading on my AmazonFire (which conveniently syncs to my Kindle App on my phone), that I have solely relied on the eLibrary (and occasionally on a selection of books I already own) for the last few years. Part of me would love to read more physical books (and I have fond memories of spending time at the library), but it’s just so convenient not having to actually go to the library to pick up or drop off books, and to have my current book at my finger tips wherever I go just by having my phone in my pocket.
Ah, the conveniences of technology. But I digress, back to the actual book picking process.
I usually find books a few different ways.
+ Blog posts: I love “What I read” posts and and draw a lot of inspiration for my reading list from books my blog friends have recommended.
+ Goodreads Updates: I look forward to the Goodreads “Updates” emails (or often browse the home tab on the app) to see what other people have recently bookmarked, rated, or reviewed).
+ OverDrive: I browse the front page of my library for inspiration, because they always post recently newly added books and popular reads by genre.
+ NPR: I listen to NPR regularly when I am in the car and often catch a book recommendation or two. I also sometimes browse their book website (when I think of it!).
I really try hard to read the synopsis of a book first to see if it evokes a reaction in me. If I am intrigued, the book receives consideration. Ratings and reviews do influence me to some extent, but I also know – and have confirmed repeatedly – that just because other people liked a book doesn’t mean that I will like it, too. It depends on so many factors: genre, plot, writing style, and current my mood (to name a few). Also, this might sounds strange, but I sometimes like to pick books specifically because none of my friends on Goodreads have read them yet, just so I can read more freely and get first dibs on the reviews and recommend (or not recommend) books to them.
I keep a running “TBR list” on Goodreads (bookmarked books that I’d be interested to read sometime). It’s fairly long, I admit, and I will occasionally go through it and delete a bunch of books that don’t appeal to me anymore or that were given a low rating by other friends with similar taste.
Of these books, I keep two lists in my OverDrive library account: 1) The Wishlist: a longer list of books that I have checked to be available as ebooks and that I deem soon-to-be must-reads and 2) Holds: an “on hold” list of books that I have already requested and am waiting to borrow. I tend to keep that list very short, usually just up to 5 books, and I do use the ‘suspend hold’ feature, so I will still move up the queue but I have a bit more control when the book becomes available to me.
I know other people plan out a reading lists for the month or follow their “TBR list” from top to bottom, but this doesn’t work for me as I rely on what is digitally available at the library at any given time.
When I finish a book, I usually check if one of my holds is available, if not, I start scrolling through my ‘wishlist’ on my library account to see which books are available to borrow right now. If none of the ones available strike my fancy, I go through recent Goodreads adds and then check if the library has them (and/or if they’re available).
As you can see, there is not much rhyme or reason to my book picking process other than deciding at the spur of the moment which one of the available books I am in the mood for. What I like about this process is that I never know in advance what I am going to read next and I like the semi-surprise factor of it.
There are things I will take into consideration, like not reading two books of the same general topic back to back. I will occasionally enjoy a YA novel, but reading two or more in a row will kill my reading mojo for sure. I also try to mix ‘heavier’ books with lighter ones and nonfiction with fiction. This is my personal preference to keep me engaged and interested, while you might be someone who likes to stick to one genre for a while.
And yes, sometimes there are ‘hot’ books that I am dying to read and I will put a hold on them immediately so that I can read them as soon as they become available, but most of the time, I am totally okay with picking and choosing books on a whim.
How do you pick which book to read next? Do you pay attention to ratings and reviews your friends have given?
*If you’re wondering why I am still using OverDrive and haven’t switched to Libby, it’s because my wishlist, as of yet, won’t sync to Libby. I have downloaded the app, but also prefer to read through my Kindle App, so I haven’t made full use of it (yet).