Monday, January 13, 2014

9 Ways to Find Your Next Favorite Book #amreading

Want to find more books you love, avoid more you loathe?

"All the" meme by Allie Brosh
Hyperbole and a Half
1) Analyze your book likes and dislikes. If you’ve never done this before, pick ten books that have stuck in your head, whether in a good way or bad way. Then figure out why. You can do it on paper, or via a site like GoodReads. (FYI, though I adore GoodReads and am part of the 1%, I am not on their payroll.)

What hooked you and kept you awake late into the night, turning pages? What made you fall asleep, or want to chuck the book across the room? Do you crave explicit sex scenes, or do you prefer that lovemaking is inferred, and takes place off-page, as it were? (For more on sorting out what "heat levels" are, check out my Some Like It Hot tab here.)

Do you enjoy authors who take time to dress the scene with detailed descriptions of rooms, clothing, and weather, or would you prefer they skip the Lauren Ashley crap and leap right into the action? Does elegant and evocative use of prose make your toes curl, or your stomach hurl?

There are no right or wrong answers; there is only what is right for YOU.

2) Join a book reading club, one that discusses books either in person through Meetup or Craigslist (if CL isn't too full of loons in your area), or online via GoodReads. Following some passionate discussions, I’ve learned and appreciated much more about books I’ve read, and also discovered nuances I'd missed. I've also found books I've loved and would never have picked up on my own, if they hadn't been the club's pick.

3) Ask a friend who reads. Again, this could be an online friend, or in person. If she is raving about The Moon Sisters or Hyperbole and a Half, ask her why. Her answer could inspire you to move that book to the top of your TBR (To Be Read) list, or to your hells-to-the-no list.

First paperback edition book cover
First paperback edition book cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
4) Browse library bins. My local library has a “Something for Everyone” stand near its checkout, where there’s a wide variety of books, generally pretty battered very well-loved, from The Kite Runner to Twilight to Proof of Heaven.

If you use an e-reader, you can browse book covers via the website, and at least on the Los Angeles site, easily add them to your wish list. Since I cannot afford to BUY ALL THE BOOKS!, the library offers me a great way to feed the beast while still keeping the lights on.

Why yes, I did add The Dom Project to my Wish List.

5) Try another book by a favorite author, especially if they write in another genre or under more than one pen name.

6) Check out recommendations by a favorite author. Authors will often recommend other authors via Tweet, FaceBook page, their own GoodReads accounts, and in interviews. If you love Author M, and he was inspired by authors K & L, they might be worth checking out.

7) Read an anthology with selections by different authors. One of my favorite ways to discover new romance authors is by reading Christmas short story anthologies, like Heating Up the Holidays. It both puts me in a holiday mood, and introduces me to a taste of new authors. (Must cut down on eggnogging while I read, however.)

8) Step outside of your comfort zone.  Just like eating the same meal all the time, reading in the same genre all the time, whether that’s spy thrillers or Regency romances, can get a little stale.

There’s so much out there:
YA dystopia. Romantic suspense. Political essays. Urban fantasy. Murder mystery. Pop psychology. Short Stories. Memoirs. Alternative history. True crime. Graphic novels. Erotica. Classics. (To quote from What Nora Knew, “I hear Proust is snappy.”) Celebrity biographies. Sci-fi.

Why not sample something new to you?

9) Create wish lists for reading, and browse them periodically. I'm a book whore My reading tastes are eclectic, and I find I have to be in the right mood for certain kinds of books. When I am in the right mood, I love me a fat historical tome, or a slim volume of angsty poetry, or a sojourn on another planet full of green-blooded monsters. Or various and sundry, like this selection from my library wish list.

One of those books, above, may become my newest favorite book. Or is perhaps already one of yours.

Do you have other tips on finding a new favorite book?
What's your favorite genre or author, and why?
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