What Should I Read Next?

Happy weekend! It’s time for more book chat!

Finishing a book is exciting, but can also be daunting. It’s the time when readers ask themselves that age-old question, “What book should I read next?” In caveman days, it was, “What cave art should I interpret next?” Riiight?

If you’re like me, you have tons of books on your TBR (To Be Read) list. Do you go in chronological order or based on what’s available at the library or bookstore? It’s really not a bad problem to have.

Alternatively, if you don’t keep a TBR, then your decision is even harder. I am sorry for the aimless life you lead. So how can you avoid this struggle after every book?

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Shannon Wright for NPR

Here are some ways to help make your next book selection:

Download Goodreads app -Goodreads is a social and interactive site, connecting you with friends (me!), your favorite authors, and your next favorite book. Goodreads has a personalized Recommendations section, which is based on books you’ve rated (out of 5 stars) and your tastes in different genres. You can also see what your friends and favorite authors are reading.

Goodreads is like RunKeeper for readers. Instead of tracking miles, you are tracking books. This is where my TBR list lives. One great feature of Goodreads is its partnership with Amazon/Kindle. Once you put a book on your TBR list, Amazon will automatically email you if the book goes on sale. Frequently, this has made my “what’s next” decision for me. Otherwise, I try to go in chronological order from the date I added the book to my list, which can be hard when new, exciting books keep coming out.

Opt into Monthly Emails – If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can receive monthly Kindle emails with a selection of books, one of which can be downloaded for free. For those not keeping a TBR, this is a great option. I just started receiving these emails and have downloaded one book so far. Goodreads keeps track of genres and authors you like and will let you know when something that may interest you is being released.

Book lists – Use a trustworthy source when viewing book lists. Most importantly, use sources that share your interests. I tend to use NPR and CBS Sunday Morning. My husband uses the NY Times Book Review. These are also great when shopping for gifts.

Podcasts – Podcasts can be their own sources of expert advice and fiction, but they’re also great for book recommendations. We tend to listen to folks we relate to, so you can be pretty confident your tastes are similar. This might be my main source for To-Read items. Interview podcasts are great because interesting guests have often also written books. For me, I get many (mostly nonfiction) recommendations from Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette (strong, mostly female guests with brutally honest conversations) and Magical Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert (host/author and brilliant guests talk amateur creators through the process). I really enjoyed this episode of Real Talk Radio with author/minimalist Tammy Strobel and this episode of Magical Lessons with author Brene Brown.

Reading-specific Podcasts – Yes, more podcasts! There are podcasts devoted just to the reading community. Though I’m not a regular listener, I have enjoyed the following:

What Should I Read Next Podcast – Author, blogger, and bookworm Anne Bogel discusses all things reading with guests each week. My favorite thing about this podcast is when Anne takes (1) her conversation with her guest and (2) the types of books they tend to read and makes recommendations on what they should read next. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own, personal book curator? I recommend the episode with Mel Joulwan, author of the Well Fed cookbooks.

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Reading Glasses Podcast – Part of the Maximum Fun network, Brea and Mallory take a look at the quirky microcosm that is the bookish community. Episodes include book club advice, book etiquette, tips on traveling with books, and how to navigate new releases. This is just a fun podcast for book people, so don’t expect to learn much. Episode One is about book slumps. Perfect!

Local and Independent Bookstores – Most bookstores are hurting, but it’s especially difficult to keep local and independent bookstores afloat. Bookmark It in Orlando recently closed, which just leaves Writer’s Block in Winter Park.

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Photo by Jacques F.

Remember Meg Ryan’s Shop Around the Corner in You’ve Got Mail? Local bookstores are wonderful because they really have a sense of community. You may notice staff picks, more local authors, and events/book tours hosted here. In fact, I found one of my favorite books from this year at an event at Writer’s Block. These stores tend to be smaller, so their selection is more thoughtful.

I hope this helps manage that book decision-fatigue. With all these resources, it can still be hard to choose. How do you decide what to read next?

 

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