It’s a dilemma for readers like you thinking on what to read next after finishing a really good one.
I get you! ?✨
We all want a next read that will take us on a different chill or thrilling ride from one scene to another. Or from the wow-moments to another wtf-kind of chapters.
And I know that books became our corner in times we needed company. Or at least, for me.
Reading, an age-old pastime, has the power to transport us, challenge us, and reshape the contours of our minds.
But here lies the perennial challenge: in a world overflowing with countless books, how do we find that one story, that one insight, which resonates with our soul?
In this article, I write down the ways that work for me when finding my next reads.
Here’s how to find books you like.
Self-Reflection: Understanding Your Preferences
To embark on this literary quest, we must first look within. Remember that summer evening when you were engrossed in a mystery novel, the one you couldn’t put down? Or the chilly winter night with a cup of cocoa, lost in a world of fantasy and dragons? Begin with genres you’ve cherished in the past. But don’t just stop there.
Consider this: our favorite movies and TV shows often act as mirrors, reflecting our interests, fears, and dreams. They can offer thematic clues to the types of stories we might adore in written form. Are you a fan of “Stranger Things”? Perhaps sci-fi or supernatural books might tickle your fancy. Love “The Crown”? Historical fiction or biographies of royalty might be up your alley.
Now, pause for a moment. Ask yourself: How do you feel today? Are you curious, introspective, adventurous, or in need of some laughter? The books we choose can, and often should, align with our current emotional state or our thirst for knowledge on a particular topic.
Start with Bestsellers and Award Winners
Venturing into the vast universe of books can be daunting. A guiding star, in this case, can be bestsellers and award-winning novels. Why, you ask? These books have touched not just one, but thousands, if not millions of hearts. They’ve been celebrated for their narrative brilliance, thematic depth, or their ability to resonate with a broad audience.
Dive into lists like The New York Times Best Sellers or peek into accolades like the Man Booker Prize, the Pulitzer, or the National Book Awards. These are not just stamps of quality; they’re beacons guiding you towards stories that have the power to move, inspire, and challenge societal norms.
Remember, in this quest to find the perfect book, you’re not alone. The world has left clues, breadcrumbs if you will, in the form of bestsellers and accolades. Follow them, and you just might discover a world you never knew you were missing.
Utilize Technology and Online Platforms:
We live in an age of unparalleled technological advancement. The digital world holds a myriad of platforms specifically designed to aid in our quest for the perfect read. Sites like Goodreads, not only allow us to track our reading but, based on our history and preferences, offer tailor-made suggestions. Think of it as having a knowledgeable friend who always seems to know just the right book for your mood.
Moreover, communities on these platforms provide an abundance of reviews from like-minded readers, giving you a peek into a book’s soul before you decide to plunge in. Engage in discussions, create reading lists, and even participate in challenges that stretch your reading horizons.
Leverage Your Local Library:
In our digital age, it’s easy to overlook the treasures that lie in our local libraries. But let me tell you, there’s magic there. Behind those silent walls and towering shelves, there’s a world waiting to be discovered. And who better to guide you through it than our unsung heroes: librarians. With a wealth of knowledge and an uncanny ability to gauge a reader’s taste, they can often introduce you to hidden gems that algorithms might miss.
Furthermore, libraries often host reading events, author sessions, and book clubs, offering a rich tapestry of experiences that can deepen your engagement with books and fellow readers.
Book Reviews and Literary Magazines:
In our pursuit of knowledge and stories, we often seek guidance, a voice that helps us navigate the labyrinth of published works. Book reviews and literary magazines act as this guiding voice. Publications like The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, or Kirkus Reviews offer in-depth analyses, helping discerning readers like you make informed choices.
However, a word of caution: While reviews provide insights, always leave room for personal discovery. Sometimes, the joy of reading lies in the unexpected, in stories that we might have overlooked if we solely relied on others’ opinions.
Recommendations from Friends and Family:
Imagine you’re at a family gathering, and amidst the chatter about work, school, and recent vacations, the conversation steers towards books. Your cousin excitedly talks about a novel that kept her up all night, and your grandfather reminisces about a classic that changed his perspective decades ago. Herein lies a goldmine.
Our friends and family know us, sometimes more than we realize. They understand our quirks, our passions, and our dreams. When they recommend a book, it often comes from a place of intimate knowledge, from recognizing a story’s potential to resonate with our very essence. Such recommendations carry an emotional weight, making the reading experience even more profound.
Moreover, sharing books creates a bond. How many times have you excitedly discussed a plot twist or a beloved character with a friend, diving deep into hours of animated conversation? Such shared experiences not only enrich our reading journey but also fortify our personal relationships.
Bookstores and Bookstore Staff:
There’s something undeniably magical about bookstores. The scent of fresh pages, the tactile experience of flipping through a book, the hushed whispers amidst the aisles – it’s a sensory delight. But beyond the ambiance, bookstores hold a secret weapon: their staff.
Engage with them. Share your favorite books, discuss authors you adore, or simply express the mood you’re in. Their recommendations come from a place of passion, from countless hours spent amidst stories and narratives. They’ve seen books come and go, have witnessed trends, and can often predict which book might just be the next big thing.
Additionally, visiting specialty or niche bookstores can be enlightening. Whether it’s a store dedicated to mysteries, sci-fi, or world literature, these places offer a curated experience, allowing you to deep dive into genres with guidance and expertise.
Follow Authors, Not Just Books:
Have you ever finished a book and felt a pang of sadness, wishing the story wouldn’t end? Here’s a secret: often, it doesn’t have to. If a particular book resonated with you, consider exploring other works by the same author. Writers have signature styles, themes they revisit, and narratives they craft uniquely. By delving into their entire bibliography, you immerse yourself in their literary world, understanding nuances, and appreciating their evolution.
In today’s interconnected era, many authors are also active on social media platforms, sharing insights, discussing their writing process, or simply engaging with their readers. Following your favorite authors online can offer a window into their world, their inspirations, and upcoming works.
And remember, every author started as an unknown, waiting to be discovered. So, sometimes, take a chance on a debut novelist. You might just stumble upon a fresh voice that speaks directly to your soul.
Literary Festivals and Author Events:
Across the globe, every year, cities host a myriad of literary festivals and events, a gathering of authors, publishers, critics, and most importantly, readers like us. These festivals are not just an opportunity to buy books; they’re a celebration of the written word, a place where one can engage in intellectual discourse, attend workshops, and listen to authors narrate the tales behind their tales.
Being in such an environment does wonders for one’s reading palette. You’re exposed to global voices, to genres you might never have ventured into, and to narratives that challenge the status quo. The recommendations you gather here are not just based on personal tastes, but on collective, often transformative experiences shared by diverse audiences.
Joining or Creating Book Clubs:
Book clubs are magical realms where readers come together to discuss, debate, and dissect the contents of a chosen book. Joining a book club can significantly expand your literary horizons. Each member, with their unique background and tastes, brings to the table a plethora of recommendations.
But what if there’s no local book club that aligns with your interests? The answer is simple: create one. In this digital age, your book club can even be online, transcending geographical boundaries, and connecting readers globally. Whether it’s a niche genre, a specific author, or a thematic focus, your book club can be as unique as your reading taste.
Diversify Your Reading:
Challenge yourself. If you’ve always leaned towards fiction, pick up a non-fiction book. If romance has been your go-to, maybe it’s time for a sci-fi adventure or a historical drama. Diverse reading not only enhances your understanding of the world but also introduces you to styles, narratives, and perspectives you might have missed out on.
Books from different cultures, translated works, or those written from perspectives opposite to yours can offer profound insights, fostering empathy, understanding, and a broader worldview. A diversified reading list ensures continuous learning and growth, ensuring that the act of reading is always fresh, exciting, and enlightening.
Trust Your Instincts:
Lastly, amidst all these recommendations and guiding lights, don’t forget to trust your own instincts. Sometimes, a book will call out to you from a shelf, its cover intriguing, its blurb mysterious. Sometimes, the first line will capture your heart, and before you know it, you’re lost in its pages.
Reading, at its core, is a deeply personal experience. It’s a dialogue between the author and you, intimate and profound. While guidelines and tips can point you in a direction, let your heart, your curiosity, and your passion guide you to your next perfect read.
In this vast universe of words and stories, each book is a star, a world unto itself. It awaits discovery, yearns to share its tales, and hopes to leave an indelible mark on your soul. As you embark on this endless journey of exploration, remember, each book you pick up has the potential to change you, to inspire you, and to make you fall in love with the magic of reading all over again.