A Surfeit of Riches: Reading in this New Age of Books

Mondays I try to post tips for readers and writers, but I’ve noticed that lately it’s been mostly writing tips because I did my genealogical series.  So today, I’m focusing on just readers.  Of course, a lot of writers are readers, too, so hopefully everyone will be able to get something out of this post.

Today, I wanted to talk about how to find books to read that you like.  And it’s not because there aren’t any out there.  It’s that there are too many out there.   The advent of the e-book and the start of self-publishing has made books available by the millions, or at least it seems that way to me, and my biggest problem is narrowing the field of books I could read to a semi-reasonable amount and selecting books I’m likely to enjoy to make my dollar and my time stretch further.

I am constantly bombarded, even in my little social world, with ads for books, mentions of books, reviews of books, and there is no physical way I could ever keep up if I tried to read all of them.  But how do I find books I am likely to enjoy but still open myself to new possibilities?  I’ll give a few thoughts for what has worked for me but I would sure love to have feedback from you all if you have any better suggestions.

1.  Analyze your own reading preferences:  Take some time to do some soul searching on this.  Do you like romances, science fiction, fantasy?  More than that, do you like historical romances, but only Regency ones?  Or books with men in kilts?  Do you like long, epic sort of novels that are at least 400 pages?  Or do you prefer short reads that get you in and out and onto the next book?  What is the heat level you like in your romance — hot and spicy, simply sexy, inspirational, or other levels in between?  If you read fantasy, do you like romance along with slaying the dragons, or do you prefer that kept on the back burner or even nonexistent at all?  Do you like strong alpha males that rip through the heroine’s life like a tornado in your medieval fantasy stories, or do you prefer novels where they both upend each other’s existence as they hurl through space during an intergalactic war?  I think keeping a list of what “lights your fire” as you think about this would probably be helpful.   There are obviously no right or wrong answers here.  What makes you love a story is uniquely personal.  And if you’re like me, you probably couldn’t narrow it down to one genre or style.  either.  I like YA books and I like romances and I’ve read some great sci-fi and fantasy, too.   But there are common threads in all of these genres that appeal to me and you might find that to be true as well.

2.  Find a social medium that you are comfortable in and familiar with.  Are you already on Twitter?  You obviously read blogs or you wouldn’t be here, so that would definitely work.  Are you on Facebook all day every day?  Are you a member of Goodreads?  Would you feel comfortable getting multiple e-mails every day? Are you on Google Plus?  Pinterest?  Any and all of these would allow you to get book recommendations likely to appeal to you.

3.  Take advantage of reviewers and authors who have similar tastes to you, either authors who you really like and who review books similar to theirs, or one of the countless thousands of review sites that do nothing but review books of a particular genre.   Doing a simple Google search for reviews of that genre should point you to a starting place.  Then follow links, check out the blog roll, see who contributes to that blog or that site and check out their blogs and sites.  Follow or join the sites and blogs that seem to be similar to your tastes.

All right.  That in and of itself will probably get you more reviews and book suggestions than you could deal with.  But if you’re still looking for more, you could try starting a group on the amazon boards or the nook boards or on Goodreads and recruiting members to make suggestions for the types of books you want to read.  For example, I am on an Amazon group for quality romances that are decent and cheap.  I am also on a Goodreads group for quality romances.  Although not everything appeals to me on either of these, a lot of these do appeal and I have found a lot of great reads through both of them.

Okay, well that’s probably enough for now.  As I said at the beginning, I would certainly be open to any other suggestions from my readers, so feel free to chime in with how you find your books and maybe even what hasn’t worked for you.

About susannahsharp

I'm pursuing a life-long dream of writing now, something I am really enjoying. My first book should be out by Christmas. I want to blog about all things Irish; offering some book reviews for romantic, not smutty, books; and also things pertaining to reading and writing.
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6 Responses to A Surfeit of Riches: Reading in this New Age of Books

  1. Liz Crowe says:

    I rely pretty heavily on my mom. She’s retired and reads a ton (even more now that we got her a Kindle Fire) and she knows what I like. I also listen to NPR and follow their book recommendations. As for my genre, I make a point to try something from the more active folks in my writer loops and have yet to be too disappointed in any of it.

  2. I didn’t think of family, Liz. No one in my family reads as voraciously as I do and what they do read doesn’t really interest me. But that’s a great idea for some of us, I’m sure. You’re also right about radio and newspaper reviews being helpful. Or a book club. I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of books through my neighborhood book club that I never would have picked up on my own. And yes, writer’s loops can also be helpful although not all readers would have access to those. Thanks for coming over and taking the time to respond.

  3. Robin Hillyer Miles says:

    I receive the professional and the reader editions of http://www.shelf-awareness.com newsletters.
    I get great books to read ideas and I keep up with what’s happening in the industry.
    The ads pull me right in …

  4. Another great suggestion! Thank you, Robin. Book ads are the death of my budget, that’s for sure. Everything looks so good . . . .

  5. Uncle Tree says:

    Hello there! I like to get acquainted with my favorite authors, so after reading a novel or two, if I must know their backgrounds to better understand them, then I read their biographies. At the turn of this century, I got a list from the library citing the best 100 novels of the 20th century. It ended up to be a fabulous History lesson. With a list as such, it’s hard to go wrong.

    Have a great day! Wish I could take your class. Ah, oh well. Peace, Uncle Tree 🙂

    • Yet another excellent idea of how to find good material. Thanks for commenting. I went over and looked at your blog and was very impressed. I signed up to follow you. I am sure I will gain a great deal by reading your posts. I look forward to getting to know you better.

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