How do you find a book to read? Do you browse through bookstores? scroll the web for new publications? read reviews? follow book blogs? talk to your friends? wait for a favorite author to write another? hope for inspiration?
Sites recommending books can be helpful. I tried a few:
The New York Times Book Review has a new advice column (similar to Dear Abby) with tongue-in-cheek samples of letters from bereft readers needing a good book, but also listing some titles worth checking, and an email address for personal inquiries. The latest column of Dear Match Book offered summer reading and I found one I want to read, Martha Cooley’s The Archivist, and a reminder of an old favorite – Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members.
What Should I Read Next asks you to type the title of a your favorite book to find others like it with short plot summaries. When I typed in Carol Goodman (The Lake of Dead Languages), I found a list of many books I had read, but one I had not: John Harwood’s The Ghost Writer. Typing in Kent Haruf gave me books by Ruth Ozeki and Jhumpa Lahiri. I spent some time typing in authors and books just to see what would come up.
A fellow reader alerted me to Recommend Me A Book. The site taps into the tendency some of us have to pick a book based on its cover, or reading the first page to see if it grabs you. On this site you can see a page of book covers, or you can read the first page of a book before knowing the title. Surprisingly, you may not always identify a book you’ve already read before the title is revealed. I flipped through a number of first pages and never recognized the books I had read – State of Wonder, The Heart of Darkness, The Secret History – but Harry Potter was easy to spot.
In Just the Right Book you can take a quiz – as many times as you like – and get recommendations. I found a few new books I had not read: Michael Chabon’s Moonglow and a good beach read The Antiques by Kris D’Agostino. And it’s fun to keep retaking the quiz.
Review: Dear Committee Members