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Tips to Find Books to Read


Besides book recommendations, the number one question I get asked is how I find the books on my monthly reading lists. I probably spend way too much time perusing Goodreads than I should (or any normal person should), but I've also discovered some corners of the internet that help fuel my reading addiction.



1. Goodreads

If you are really serious about upping your reading game, you absolutely need a Goodreads account. You don't have to connect it to any social media, although I have definitely found some great reads by seeing what my friends have been getting into. I mostly use Goodreads to track all the books I have read and want to read, and to even decide what books seem worth putting on my TBR (aka To Be Read) list. If someone recommends a book to me, the first thing I do (literally, in the middle of the conversation) is to look it up on Goodreads. When I find a book I'm interested in and if it has at least a 4-star rating and sounds compelling, I click "Want To Read." Every month, I'll go through that list to choose my next books. This is huge — to have an app that keeps track of all my books takes away the need to have lists all over my phone and notebooks. Goodreads also has a yearly reading challenge, which encourages you to set a reading goal and tracks your progress throughout the year. Me being Type-A, I absolutely love seeing my progress and especially when I surpass my goal. Goodreads keeps me accountable by showing the world my ambitious reading goals, but it's also just the best way I've found to follow through on reading the books I find interesting. Goodreads also has different categories and "Best of" lists, which can be helpful if you're not sure where to start but have a favorite book or genre in mind.


Check out my Goodreads page here and follow me to see what I'm reading.


2. Word of Mouth

As with most people, I get a huge portion of book ideas from word of mouth (which I then add to my Goodreads account, of course). I'm always asking people around me what they've been reading and loving, and many offer up suggestions just because they know I'm a book worm. I still like to do my own research to see if their rec is one I would actually enjoy, but I'm much more likely to put a book on my TBR list if someone has recommended it to me personally.


On this note, if you want personalized book recommendations, shoot me a message through the contact form on the 'Personalized Recs' page. Give me your favorite books, genres, moods, storylines, or tell me some of your reading goals, and I will happily recommend some books I think you would love.


3. Bookstagrams

This is the newest but probably most used way to find books I want to read. There's a whole niche on the Instagram just for book lovers (who knew). I'm definitely privy to aesthetically pleasing feeds, but the reviews are what keep me sticking around. Most of the Bookstagrammers I follow have enough followers to actually be sent some of the latest books by publishers, something I'm insanely jealous of, but this is definitely helpful if I want to see what the book world is excited about and what authors are up and coming. There tends to be a lot of hype around these books, some deserved and some not, but it's fun to feel part of this nerdy internet community.


Some of my favorite Bookstagrammers:

Megan Prokott aka The Spines @the_spines

Jenna Reads Books @jennareadsbooks

Lori @loriimagination

The Bibliotheque Blog @thebibliotheque

Karoukh @theguywiththebook

Laci Long @bookpairings

Sumaiyya @sumaiyya.books

Ana @inquisitivebookworm

Jaime @absorbedinpages

Michelle @michellereadsbooks

Abby Kincer @bookmarkedbya


4. Perusing Bookstores

A favorite pastime of mine when waiting for my plane at the airport, I think this is a seriously underrated way to discover some books to put on a TBR list. There's something weirdly satisfying about being able to hold a book, see how long it is, scan the back cover, and read the first page. I like to make my way through every genre section from memoirs to scifi to contemporary fiction, and get a few ideas from each category. I often judge a book by its cover, which just shows the power of marketing (I don't think that's a bad thing at all). Browsing local bookstores is an awesome way to explore your city or a new town. If you don't have many local bookstores around you, popping into a Barnes & Noble will do the trick. Stay tuned for future posts on my favorite local D.C. bookstores.


5. Library holds

While all theses strategies help me find the books I want to read, there is only one way I actually obtain the six or so books I read every month — my local library. I have always been a library girl. I have a library card from every city I've ever lived in, which is necessary when you read as much as I do. When I find a book I really want to read, I find it on Goodreads and then look to see if my local library has a copy. If it does, I will put it on hold. A lot of the books I want to read tend to have a waiting list, which actually helps stabilize my reading addiction so I'm not drowning in 20 books at a time. Around the end of the month, I will choose a few picks from my Goodreads list, pick up the ones that are available at the library, along with the ones that have come off the hold shelf, and make sure it is a good mix of fiction and nonfiction. My library unfortunately has a 3-week limit on checkouts, but depending on the book, I can usually extend for the whole month. Once I read and love a book, I will buy it, usually on ThriftBooks.com. I'm a firm believer in only buying a book I've already read and love and will therefore maybe read more than once, or have on hand to lend to a friend. There have been very few times in my life I have bought a book before I've read it. My bank account definitely does not have the funds for me to be able to buy every book I read, but I don't mind because I love supporting my local D.C. library. If you don't feel like making your way to a library every time you want new books but you happen to have a computer, phone, or reading tablet, you can get a library card and use it to check out books and read them online.



The best advice I can give when searching for what books you want to read is to have fun with it. Google "best memoirs about football" or "easy personal development books." Search hashtags like #besthistoricalfiction or #mostpopularbooksof2019 on Instagram. Do your research, ask your friends, shoot me an email, search the NYT bestsellers and the Pulitzer Prize winners of the last decade. The internet is a wonderful mecca of book recommendations so don't be afraid to dive deep into that world.

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