When you’re an avid reader who enjoys staying in touch with the book world, it can be REALLY hard to decide which books to read. Having a long to-be-read (TBR) list means we have to prioritize which books we want to read most, and which have to wait. On the other hand, not being in the know about recent releases, award winners, or popular cult picks can make you totally lost about current topics in the book world. Fortunately, I’m here to help. Here’s a guide to choosing the books you read!
1. Follow Publishers
Following publishing companies on social media is a great way to keep up with new releases. PenguinTeen has an interactive Tumblr that I especially enjoy following, but all publishing companies tend to have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram these days. You can also subscribe to publishing newsletters to receive emails about upcoming book releases; I recommend Penguin Random House’s First in Line program for young adult books. You can also follow authors on social media because they’ll always post about their books around the release date!
2. Read/Watch Reviews
I follow book blogs and BookTubers (YouTubers who dedicate their channels to books) and get a lot of book recommendations from these sources. Book reviewers will tell it to you straight, whether they love a book, think it’s just all right, or hate it. I especially appreciate the honesty and reliability of book reviewers. If you find ones who you particularly connect with, or who have a similar reading taste, you can trust their reviews even more.
If you aren’t on Goodreads, what are you doing? This is my go-to site for book reviews and ratings from a whole community of readers. I love adding books to my e-shelves to keep track of what I’ve read, books I want to read, upcoming releases, favorite books, etc. Same as with book blogs, I’ve found a few serial reviewers whose opinions I trust – if they rave about a book, I’ll give it priority; if they slam a book I was excited for, I’ll reevaluate its place on my TBR list.
4. Browse the Bookstore/Library
This may sound really simple, but whenever you’re at a loss for what to read next, browse! Go to the bookstore or library and take a look at the shelves in a genre section you’re in the mood for. Examine covers, read the book jackets or even make an impulse decision to buy or check out a book that sounds interesting to you. Reading books blindly (without reading reviews/ratings first) is something I rarely do anymore, but every now and then it’s nice to judge a book by myself, without any preexisting outside opinions.
5. Make Bookish Friends!
Having friends who read is the best because you can get personalized recommendations AND have someone to talk about the books with once you’ve finished them! If you don’t have any good reader friends, it’s easy to make some. Join (or start) a book club, volunteer at the library, get a job at a bookstore, hang out at coffeeshops, or join the online reading community –– there are tons of forums and online book groups where you can meet and chat with other readers (Goodreads is a great place for this)!
I hope these tips for choosing books are helpful. Good luck finding your next read!