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SarahSarah

How do you decide what to read next?

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Hey everyone, 

 

I love reading and mainly read classics --- I'm trying to make it through the Russians and have a strong interest in 20th century modernist fiction. As a result, I almost totally miss out on contemporary literature and, most of the time, don't have a clue what new stuff to read or where to find tips for great new contemporary fiction/non-fiction. 

 

- How do you discover new books to read? 

- How do you decide which books to read? 

- What are your most trusted sources for books? 

 

Thanks, 

Sarah :)

 

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Hi Sarah.  :)

 

I discover new books from either wandering round Waterstone's/Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights/other physical bookshops and charity shops or from Websites such as Amazon and Goodreads - but also (and probably mainly...) from reading the 'blog' section on this forum.  I'm irresistibly drawn to a good cover!

 

I don't have a specific way of choosing what to read next - I just see what I fancy (like others here, I have dozens and dozens of unread books to choose from and yet often find I don't fancy any of them!).  One thing I don't do though is read one book after another by the same author or even of the same genre.  That's why I don't read many series books - I tend to prefer one-offs, although there are some exceptions, of course. 

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Hello Sarah,  :smile:

 

They are tricky questions to answer in many ways. Before joining the forum here, I just mooched about book shops (new and second hand), and I would read reviews in newspapers, especially the weekend ones. Occasionally I would have a book or author recommended to me by a friend or family member, but to be honest I only trust the opinions of a couple of people and learned the hard way. 

 

It might be the cover that appeals and the back cover blurb that pushes me to purchase, or the blurb alone. I may see an author being interviewed and think that I like what they have to say and would like to read their stuff.

 

Now I'm on the forum I definitely get ideas from the other members, and I have got to know the people who have similar tastes or who are so astute in their reviews I will know whether I would like a book / author or not. It can still be a bit hit and miss at times, but that's half the fun of it.  :smile:

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As Chissy says, these are quite tricky questions.  Certainly I'm not very systematic, and tend to go with whims, but these are some of the ways I find books:

 

1.  Like you, I'm a classics fan, so I'm sort of working my way through those.  I've got a short (actually, rather long!) list of writers/books I intend to read, which I refer to. 

 

2.  Through reading magazines, newspapers etc.  This tends to apply more to the non-fiction I read: I subscribe to The Literary Revew, which is strong on non-fiction, whilst I use Slightly Foxed for some fiction (but that's not about recent books!).

 

3.  I read our book club choice each month.  That's introduced one or two authors to me (e.g. Penelope Fitzgerald) whose work I've then pursued further.  It's also put me off others!

 

4.  Recommendations here.  That takes quite a lot of sifting, as I have to admit that most of the books don't interest me reading-wise, although I really enjoy reading about them and about others' reading choices.  However what has had an impact have been the challenges I've gone for, which can provide a ready made list of interesting reads (English Counties being one of them).

 

5.  Browsing - especially in smaller bookshops where the choices tend to be most interesting  (although I had a great time in the Leeds Blackwells earlier today - definitely more my style than Waterstones).

 

Like Janet, I have a substantial library but often can't find one I want to read at that moment - fickle or what?!  And I can only agree with her about not reading one writer consecutively, although there are a few series that I'm following, but over an extended period of time (O'Brian, Simenon, Leon for instance).

Edited by willoyd

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Hi, SarahSarah! I love your user name, as it's my mom's nickname for me (my middle name is Echo, so Sarah-Sarah is an echo of my first name.....)

 

I love classics, too, and when I get on a "classics kick," I generally move quickly from one to another. Sometimes, it'll be the same author, or a re-read of a favorite, but a lot of time, I'll start reading random books until one sticks. I know, not very helpful! :giggle2:

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Hi Sarah.  :)

 

I discover new books from either wandering round Waterstone's/Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights/other physical bookshops and charity shops or from Websites such as Amazon and Goodreads - but also (and probably mainly...) from reading the 'blog' section on this forum.  I'm irresistibly drawn to a good cover!

 

I don't have a specific way of choosing what to read next - I just see what I fancy (like others here, I have dozens and dozens of unread books to choose from and yet often find I don't fancy any of them!).  One thing I don't do though is read one book after another by the same author or even of the same genre.  That's why I don't read many series books - I tend to prefer one-offs, although there are some exceptions, of course. 

 

Thanks so much for this response. I also like finding things by wandering through my favourite bookshops (bookshop browsing is THE best way to spend time!). I guess I sometimes feel like I'm just seeing the same things in the bookshops or that things are too mainstream? I love your honesty in that you judge books by their covers (!), I have to admit that I do that too. I also love to genre-hop and keep some different genres on the go at once. :P

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Hello Sarah,  :smile:

 

They are tricky questions to answer in many ways. Before joining the forum here, I just mooched about book shops (new and second hand), and I would read reviews in newspapers, especially the weekend ones. Occasionally I would have a book or author recommended to me by a friend or family member, but to be honest I only trust the opinions of a couple of people and learned the hard way. 

 

It might be the cover that appeals and the back cover blurb that pushes me to purchase, or the blurb alone. I may see an author being interviewed and think that I like what they have to say and would like to read their stuff.

 

Now I'm on the forum I definitely get ideas from the other members, and I have got to know the people who have similar tastes or who are so astute in their reviews I will know whether I would like a book / author or not. It can still be a bit hit and miss at times, but that's half the fun of it.  :smile:

 

Hey --- I know they're tricky questions (!!) but I'm so so happy you took time to answer! I love a good mooch. Do you have any favourite newspapers or reviewers? I love John Crace's "Digested Read" in The Guardian (it's also available as a podcast now). I like how you explore the world around the book, i.e. the cover, the blurb, the interview with the author etc. That's defo a good tip. Finally, I also love seeing what other people read (even if I don't share their tastes). It's great to get an insight into other people's bookshelves and learn what they enjoy reading. :) :) 

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As Chissy says, these are quite tricky questions.  Certainly I'm not very systematic, and tend to go with whims, but these are some of the ways I find books:

 

1.  Like you, I'm a classics fan, so I'm sort of working my way through those.  I've got a short (actually, rather long!) list of writers/books I intend to read, which I refer to. 

 

2.  Through reading magazines, newspapers etc.  This tends to apply more to the non-fiction I read: I subscribe to The Literary Revew, which is strong on non-fiction, whilst I use Slightly Foxed for some fiction (but that's not about recent books!).

 

3.  I read our book club choice each month.  That's introduced one or two authors to me (e.g. Penelope Fitzgerald) whose work I've then pursued further.  It's also put me off others!

 

4.  Recommendations here.  That takes quite a lot of sifting, as I have to admit that most of the books don't interest me reading-wise, although I really enjoy reading about them and about others' reading choices.  However what has had an impact have been the challenges I've gone for, which can provide a ready made list of interesting reads (English Counties being one of them).

 

5.  Browsing - especially in smaller bookshops where the choices tend to be most interesting  (although I had a great time in the Leeds Blackwells earlier today - definitely more my style than Waterstones).

 

Like Janet, I have a substantial library but often can't find one I want to read at that moment - fickle or what?!  And I can only agree with her about not reading one writer consecutively, although there are a few series that I'm following, but over an extended period of time (O'Brian, Simenon, Leon for instance).

 

Hi Will! 

 

I love all of these points. :) I've never heard of Slightly Foxed -- will defo check it out. I'll also keep an eye on recommendations, conversations and the book challenges here. I like the idea of doing a challenge to help me to read more. :)

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Hi, SarahSarah! I love your user name, as it's my mom's nickname for me (my middle name is Echo, so Sarah-Sarah is an echo of my first name.....)

 

I love classics, too, and when I get on a "classics kick," I generally move quickly from one to another. Sometimes, it'll be the same author, or a re-read of a favorite, but a lot of time, I'll start reading random books until one sticks. I know, not very helpful! :giggle2:

 

Yay! Hi Sarah Echo -- what a beautiful name! I love re-reading books too. It's funny how you can experience a book in a totally different way when you read it for the second time. <3 <3 

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My two biggest sources of reading suggestions are this forum (usually the Book Blogs of people whose taste I know is similar to my own) and also the 'Other People Liked' suggestions of Goodreads. Not sure if that's what it's called, but something like that.

 

In terms of deciding what to read next, I just read the synopsis for each of the choices until one of them settles and feels right :)

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