It’s so easy to get in a reading rut. It’s even easier to not realize you’re in one. The key to reading more and often is choosing good books.

“OBVIOUSLY, JENNY,” you say.


But how do you choose good books? I don’t know how you do it, but here’s my convoluted method.

I am a member of the Goodreads community. I started by logging all the books I’ve read – alllll the way back to my grade-school days (I loved reading then, too, but took a long break when school got more intense).

1. Goodreads offers suggestions based on what you’ve read and rated.

2. I pick a book I’ve read and liked and read the reviews other Goodreads community members wrote for it. If I agree with their opinion, I click on their profile and browse their book selections.

3. I listen to my friends. We don’t all share the same taste in books, but a really great book often transcends typical preferences, and some of my favorite books have been ones that were forced on me by excited friends.

4. I’m a serial reader. If I find an author I love, I read everything that author writes, including books co-authored with other people, whose books I then read. I follow that author on Twitter, and I read books that author recommends. I read books by authors with whom that author interacts. It’s a giant snowballing process of awesome books and authors, and while it doesn’t always turn out five-star reads, it does always introduce me more books.

5. I get out there and look at physical books. I browse cover art, jacket synopses and worn library books. If it looks interesting, I visit Goodreads for a quick rating check (I don’t bother with books with a high number of low ratings, even though it might be a book I end up loving – I’m not generally a risk taker and prefer reading books with some sort of clout).

6. I’m a sucker for sales. I follow several publishing companies, authors and book bloggers on Twitter. They alert me to eBook sales. I browse local bargain stores and the library’s book sales. If a book is $2.99 or less and looks/sounds good, I buy it.

7. I subsidize my reading habit with the library. I’d read far less if I had to pay for each book I read. Public libraries are amazing places. My county’s public library lacks a lot of what I want to read, so I pay an annual fee for access to a neighboring county’s system. The cost/savings ratio is ridiculously tipped in favor of savings.

To be perfectly honest, I use all seven “methods” together. I cross reference, cross multiply, carry the one, subtract the four and multiply by the power of infinity because a good book is worth the extra hunting effort.

Are we friends on Goodreads yet? If not, WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?

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6 Responses to To be, or not to be – read

  1. Melissa says:

    I am what some may call an obsessive reader. I cannot function if I don’t have a book that I’m reading. I hate that in between time of ending one and starting another. So I was an early e-reader adapter. I also have a crazy way of selecting books and goodreads is definitely my home base. Through there I found that my long lost friend from high school and I have similar tastes in books, so I haven’t spoken to her in almost 15 years, but we recommend books to each other all the time.

  2. Aislinn says:

    I just friend requested you on Goodreads! I find the books I enjoy the most are the ones that are suggested by friends.

  3. Laura Case says:

    Even though I follow similar crazy methods, I do get in book ruts. They can’t all be winners.

    One thing that helps me is I have a 100 page rule. If I don’t like it by page 100, I release the book and it will come back to me if I was meant to read it. Since I’m a huge library user, I don’t mind checking out books like crazy and returning ones that just didn’t jive with me.

    (On Goodreads that is my catch-and-released shelf.)

  4. Jennifer says:

    I love Goodreads. We are already friends on there!

  5. The Mommy says:

    I LOVE the library – ours now has the option to borrow onto a Kindle/other ereader device. I also “buy” a lot of free books from amazon (because I am cheap). I still buy actual books (hard-copy) for things that I know I will reference/mark – think parenting, cookbooks, training (running). Because of you I signed up for Goodreads. Thanks!

  6. I’ve been in a rut but it was more of a if I wanted to keep caught up on social media then the reading had to go.. as did the blog reading.. and ugh. so many 1st world problemssssssssssss. 😉

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