What to Read Next? Get Tips From Fellow Bookworms

Posted by Marie on April 19, 2018


For a bibliophile, there's nothing harder than deciding what to read next. Some of us have a system, while others follow their heart. So we asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook to share their tips and tricks and made a list of the most popular comments. Which ones resonate with you?


1. "Lately, I've been using the random sort feature on my Goodreads Want to Read list and letting that pick for me. So far, I'm having a lot of fun with it!" says Quailing.

2. "I always go with gut instinct at the end of a book. How do I feel? What emotions do I need to feed or balance? I used to make lists and try to stick with the lists, but I ended up not liking the books as much that way," says Cindy.

3. "I start reading three or so books and see which one I fancy reading most. Sometimes, I can't decide so end up reading multiple books at the same time," says Bill.

4. "I have a jar filled with the titles of all of my unread books. I give it a shake, pick out five, then pick out one from that five, and that's the book I'll read," says Zara.

5. "Oh, it's really easy. It's a three-step process: 1) I search my library for a book I really want to read. 2) I lay on the floor and cry as I realize three lives wouldn't be enough to finish them all. 3) I force myself to pick one wondering if I made the right choice," says Peppe.

6. "I try to follow this rule: One light read that keeps me turning the pages (thrillers, Grisham, Baldacci), and then a slower fiction that makes me ponder (Murakami, Kundera, etc.). I call this pattern 'one short-term' after 'one long-term' ride," says Eva.

7. "If it’s fiction, I read more works by that author. Or if it’s a one-off, I ease into the same genre or time period by a different author. I dislike jumping around. I get literary indigestion! But if I have to change gears it helps to read nonfiction in between—a good buffer," says Haworth.

8. "Actually, this decision is always the hardest for me. Sometimes, a book has such an impact that it takes some time for me to digest before I can start something new. And then, after a while, I am so annoyed that I can‘t decide what to read next that I simply take the next book that crosses my way," says Stephanie.

9. "I am reading myself through our library alphabetically. Right now, I'm at 'D' as in 'Douglas.' This makes me read all kinds of authors and genres that I would otherwise not know about or maybe not even choose. Pretty exciting," says Susanne.

10. "I stare at my bookshelves many times over many days until something grabs my attention. Sometimes, before a book I already own grabs me, I go to a bookstore and buy/start reading something new," says Lauren.




Comments Showing 1-50 of 192 (192 new)


message 1: by Rohini (new)

Rohini Murugan I usually enter the bookstore and walk through all the aisles smelling the books, touching them, feeling them. I take them, see the cover, read the back-cover, then think, "Okay, I'll come back to you". This happens for around two hours. In the end, I exit the store without buying anything and in tears as to "Why the hell I ain't a librarian, or why can't I work in a bookshop". It is really depressing.


message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I love the idea of reading alphabetically through authors. Also love the random sort feature, didn't know that was a thing until now!


message 3: by Elise (new)

Elise If I have no plans for what to read next, I use a random number generator for my book shelves on here. Makes things kind of exciting.


message 4: by Adriana (new)

Adriana Pereyra I have two lists, one with ALL the books I own, and the other one with the books from the first list that I've already read. I randomly select a book from the first list, but if I get 3 consecutive books not in the second list, I randomly select one from that list; that is, I make it a rule not to read more than 3 new books without rereading something!


message 5: by Hutch (last edited Apr 19, 2018 11:14PM) (new)

Hutch I agree with what Cindy said about trying to see where I'm at psychologically and emotionally after a book. If it was a stink book that I didn't enjoy, I tend to want to delve into a fantasy read, if it was a fantasy read that left me wanting more than I tend to pause on that and read some non-fiction. I love the 'picking-phase', I make a top 3 or 5, head to my favourite bookstore, mill around for an hour and see what they have and then finally buy all of them hehe


message 6: by Hutch (new)

Hutch Rohini wrote: "I usually enter the bookstore and walk through all the aisles smelling the books, touching them, feeling them. I take them, see the cover, read the back-cover, then think, "Okay, I'll come back to ..."

I know exactly how you feel! I think about this alllllll the time.


message 7: by Anoushka (new)

Anoushka Rohini wrote: "I usually enter the bookstore and walk through all the aisles smelling the books, touching them, feeling them. I take them, see the cover, read the back-cover, then think, "Okay, I'll come back to ..."

This is me


message 8: by Anoushka (new)

Anoushka This changes for me. Often it just depends on the availability of the book. I prefer reading in paperback than hardback unless I make the exception (i.e. most of my Harry Potter books are in hardback), so I just wait and read what's easiest to get a hold of. If this isn't the case at all, I usually just go with how I'm feeling.


message 9: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Dhaneesh Well sometimes the book just finds you..rather than the other way around. I check pinterest to see what's trending and most read on goodreads. But in the end everything comes to instinct. Which works well..And I always read the back cover first for paperbacks..Something i cant resist doing.


message 10: by Mickey (new)

Mickey For physical books I go by two things:
1. what's due at the library soonest that can't be renewed
2. what is closest to me at the time I'm in the mood to read.

For my Kindle, it's just a matter of the first title that grabs my eye. I delete most of the books after I read them (so that I have space for more, of course!), so there's always something new or in-progress there.


message 11: by Derek (new)

Derek Walker I am an english speaker living in a non-english speaking country, so book shops are out for me. I tend to browse through what others have found good or interesting in Goodreads, Amazon etc. To make a choice, I have to rely on the reviews written by other readers. Unfortunately, this does not always work. If someone finds a book to be utter rubbish they don't tend to write a review, so the reviews are written by those who have an interest in writing a positive review for this work. Like many others, I wish one could give minus stars for a book. As that is not possible, please help people in my situation by giving bad books one star and give a short reason why.
Thanks a lot to those who do this already.


message 12: by GridGirl (last edited Apr 20, 2018 12:37AM) (new)

GridGirl I tried out the Random feature, because it seems pretty exciting, but somehow it doesn't work out for me, the books are still sorted by number. Same if I pick other criteria to sort by like "average rating"... What am I doing wrong? :/

Update: I don't know what I did differently, but it's working out now :D


message 13: by Pato (new)

Pato Rohini wrote: "I usually enter the bookstore and walk through all the aisles smelling the books, touching them, feeling them. I take them, see the cover, read the back-cover, then think, "Okay, I'll come back to ..."

You just summed up my book-reading life!!!!!!


message 14: by Theresa (new)

Theresa I like variety! I can't read the same author back to back or most times not even the same type of book. So if I have to read a certain book for a club or a giveaway book I always at least give myself a second option to read along with the one I have to read. Does that make sense?


message 15: by Jeleni (new)

Jeleni Elise wrote: "If I have no plans for what to read next, I use a random number generator for my book shelves on here. Makes things kind of exciting."

this sounds like a good idea. i should try it.


message 16: by Diana (new)

Diana I've had my husband pick my next book to read off of our shelves, and I've had friends from Comic conventions pick my next book as well. Sometimes I find a group on here that are doing a buddy read of a book that I have on my shelves.


message 17: by Nina (new)

Nina I add important readings to a specific shelf in order to not forget about them, and for the rest, I let the Universe surprise me. I found amazing books and manga just browsing recommendations and similar styles.


message 18: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow My TBR is so huge that I have to start with the book I bought the furthest back and work from there. Otherwise I know there would be books on my shelf that I never read and I must have bought all of them for a reason.


message 19: by Nullifidian (new)

Nullifidian I just go by what seems appealing to me at the moment. If I'm not in the mood for a book, then I'll resent forcing myself to read it. If I have no idea what I want to read, I'll pick a subject (if I decide to read nonfiction) or a genre and just randomly select something, usually by browsing Project Gutenberg or LibriVox for ideas, but sometimes going to the library and looking there,

Recently, I've been adhering to a commitment to spend the year "reading from home" — going through books I already own or can access for free at Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, LibriVox, and other public domain resources. Because I have an extensive library of books I haven't yet read, and because my tastes are varied, that still leaves me with plenty of options.


message 20: by Vikas (new)

Vikas I stare at my bookcase or few books just enter my mind and they appear by my side, while I am still reading the current book. After the book is finished I either pick them or a new one. This may change if someother book catches my fancy during this time. Books are books I read them all, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Comics I love all.


message 21: by Sonia189 (new)

Sonia189 I have monthly lists which I start writing down around november or december for the year after with books from my TBR, and try to follow those. I like the sense of getting a book out of my list.

Of course I keep buying and borrowing so it never ends.
I also add new releases of my favorite series and books from the library so sometimes I can't keep up with my lists but the fun part is when I can and even go further.

I just like to think I'm having some control over my TBR...


message 22: by Regina (new)

Regina Hunter Walk into a library and take at least 10 books that I have not yet read...The first ones I see


message 23: by Friar Stabin (new)

Friar Stabin John Capuchin I have no particular order I just follow what my heart speaks always there will be one book to read up to next for me.


message 24: by Shhhhh (new)

Shhhhh Ahhhhh There's actually a book about this called "How to Choose a Book"


message 25: by Lori (new)

Lori My reading habits have changed considerably since I was a young child. I used to be a one book person; i.e, I cannot read anything, but the book I am currently reading. Well that totally changed in my late twenties and thirties. I have one book on my nightstand that only hangs out there that I read at least a chapter a night. I have my pile of library books of graphic novels and such and then my main read, which is the book that follows me around from my house, to my purse, and everywhere in between. I never thought I would end up like this. :)

Trying to pick out a new book can sometimes take days, depending on the time I have to contemplate the next read. Sometimes it is emotional, sometimes it is the inside flap or back cover copy that intrigues, or sometimes it is just to make a to read pile (or list) smaller. Either way, it is truly difficult with books all over my house, but that is what totally makes reading the wonderfully enjoyable experience and soul-satisfying adventure of life.

I do not read anything but physical books as I need the feel and texture of the paper and the smell of the books. I have nothing against e-readers, but I am a bibliophile at heart. Happy reading all!


message 26: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Usually I read depending what I'm feeling or by season or whatever grabs my attention.


message 27: by Mei (new)

Mei Derek wrote: "I am an english speaker living in a non-english speaking country, so book shops are out for me. I tend to browse through what others have found good or interesting in Goodreads, Amazon etc. To make..."

I'm almost in the same situation as Derek: I'm a non-english speaker, but I read in english, and I live in a non english speaking country! :-)
So for me too the libraries are out and I base my readings on GR reviews. And I have the same problem with absent 1 and 2 star reviews. That's a pity because I don't know what those persons found lacking in the book... :(
I second Derek's request: please post your reviews even if negative!


message 28: by ♛ Garima ♛ (new)

♛ Garima ♛ Rohini wrote: "I usually enter the bookstore and walk through all the aisles smelling the books, touching them, feeling them. I take them, see the cover, read the back-cover, then think, "Okay, I'll come back to ..."

I hear you. It drives my friend crazy who is not a bookworm and comes with me in bookstore just to look studious. :D


message 29: by ShazM (new)

ShazM I buy a number of books on my Kindle every month on payday (it's like my pocket money treat!) and then I read them all according to which grabs my attention first. Very often I'll be reminded of a book I've read before so I might take a detour and re-read an old book, or a series, and then I'll go back to my "unread" collection and carry on. Part of the fun is looking through Amazon all through the month and adding new books to my shopping list so there's always plenty to buy on the day.


message 30: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I like reading a series from start to end in order if I can.
But if I just finished read a book I didn’t like much. I’ll change authors and style of books. Like switching from romance to superhero, or fantasy to comedy. But if I’m not feeling well I always go back to old favourites. Like Anne Mccaffrey, Molly Harper, Drew Hayes, Mercedes Lackey or Kathy Reiches.


message 31: by Anissa (new)

Anissa When it comes to what to read next I generally go by how I feel after I've finished a book. The only things that I give higher priority to are any galleys I have at any given moment. On the up side, they're usually things that I wanted to read very much so I don't feel forced.

I used to try to read according to a planned list for the year but found that I more often than not resented "having to read it now" just because the list said so (especially if I were craving a different type of book). I realized that I couldn't possibly know what book I wanted to read in May when I'd complied my list in January. It's just not who I am as a reader.


message 32: by C.E. (last edited Apr 20, 2018 06:32AM) (new)

C.E. Crowder I have it all worked out, several months in advance. Planned variety, moving between reading goals, etc., keeping things organized. Saves me money, too: I can resist building the TBR even higher by reminding myself, if that goes into the queue today then I won't likely read it until 2022!

At the same time ... I can't look at that image up top without itching to scroll left/right ...


message 33: by Shannon (new)

Shannon It really depends on how I feel after I have finished the book I am reading. If I am really enjoying fantasy, for example, I will probably pick up another by the same author or a different author within that genre. If I finish and feel like it is time for a change, then I move on to something entirely different. If I feel like I am in a slump I try to pick an author who is a very easy read with not a lot of complex writing or storylines and just do that until I am ready for something more intense again.


message 34: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Jamison I had no idea there was a random sort feature in the tbr on goodreads. I'll have to check that out!


message 35: by David (new)

David I agonize on what to read next! I have all of my books in a spreadsheet, and on Goodreads. I'll choose one on my spreadsheet, then sometimes choose one from Goodreads instead, and then sometimes while staring at my shelf, I'll change my mind again.

I generally plan ahead three books, and stick to that about half of the time. If I choose a novel, I may go in sequence on that author until I run out of books.

Never enough time, and so many books!


message 36: by Jeff (new)

Jeff I made a Google Sheets database that has the lists of all Pulitzer, Man Booker, and National Book Award winners, great books lists such as The Time 100, The Modern Library 100, and BBC's 100 Greatest British Novels, and keep track of which ones I've read and which ones I own. (Any book read automatically gets a gray background, owned and not read gets gold.) That helps "gamify" reading the great books. Picking from among them, I usually like to vary time periods, book lengths, somber vs. light, etc.

I'll read a few of my booklist novels and then treat myself to my fun books, which might be Stephen King, a detective novel, or a non-fiction book about language.


message 37: by Maria (new)

Maria I completely agree with Cindy (no. 2). And I can relate to no. 8 a bit about the indigestion thing. I feel it too! No. 9 sounds like a really interesting way to get yourself into new books!


message 38: by Maria (new)

Maria Jeff wrote: "I made a Google Sheets database that has the lists of all Pulitzer, Man Booker, and National Book Award winners, great books lists such as The Time 100, The Modern Library 100, and BBC's 100 Greate..."

That sounds amazing!


ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook Jess wrote: "My TBR is so huge that I have to start with the book I bought the furthest back and work from there. Otherwise I know there would be books on my shelf that I never read and I must have bought all o..."

That's what I do as well, oldest book first.


message 40: by Jenny Baker (new)

Jenny Baker I keep a reading schedule in an Excel spreadsheet of books that I'm planning to read this year. It's a mixture of new releases, books owned, and fantasy catch-up. Sometimes for fun, I'll ask one of my Goodreads friends to pick three books from my "short list" shelf. Other times, I'll ask members of the group "Polls for our Souls" to vote from a list of books I'm considering and I'll read the top choice.


message 41: by Qaiser (new)

Qaiser Altaf I use random feature. Its alot of fun, reading a random novel from any genre..
First of all i Open my "to read" list, and click on random page at bottom of screen, as I have got over thousand books in my to read list, so I pick out any random page, and whichever novel on that page I see first , I read it 😂


message 42: by CARISSA (new)

CARISSA E I like #4's idea. Putting all the titles in a bowl and pick a few at random and select from the few you pulled out. That would make my decision a little easier. Deciding what to read next is always very hard for me. I have a pretty big collection of books and can rerely decide whats gonna be next. Sometimes when its really hard for me to choose, i just pick up a book i already know i love because i've read it already. Like the book The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C Cherry, or any of TJ Klune's or TM Frazier's books....


message 43: by Brian (new)

Brian I use Goodreads giveaways to help select books. Some you win and some you don't. I place the books on my too read shelf in the order I received them and add in books I purchase between the free books. I read them in order of acquisition.


message 44: by Hiba (new)

Hiba Azhar These days I look through my ‘want to read’ list and decide which book I’ll be reading next.


message 45: by Kristin (new)

Kristin Theresa wrote: "I like variety! I can't read the same author back to back or most times not even the same type of book. So if I have to read a certain book for a club or a giveaway book I always at least give myse..."

I do the same thing! After all, variety is the spice of life! This works best for people that like to read many different genres.


message 46: by Kristin (last edited Apr 20, 2018 01:35PM) (new)

Kristin Rohini wrote: "I usually enter the bookstore and walk through all the aisles smelling the books, touching them, feeling them. I take them, see the cover, read the back-cover, then think, "Okay, I'll come back to ..."

♛ Garima ♛ wrote: "Rohini wrote: "I usually enter the bookstore and walk through all the aisles smelling the books, touching them, feeling them. I take them, see the cover, read the back-cover, then
think, "Okay, I'l..."


So sorry you get depressed over this! I love going into a bookstore. I rarely go in with another person because I can spend w-a-a-ay too much time there. I treat it like a vacation! I usually go in with titles in mind, but not always, because sometimes I get disappointed that a book is not available. After I make selections, I get a wonderful drink or even a fun sandwich, etc. and read to my heart's content!

I get disgusted with people whom I see with a stack of books in the cafe area of a bookstore that they haven't bought. Especially if they leave them there! No wonder the store says it has a book and then the salesperson can't find it! I understand they might need to read a little before buying, but they shouldn't do it for hours with books they might abandon.


message 47: by Staci (new)

Staci I work part-time at a bookstore so every Friday night while I'm at work, I look at the shelves for something that catches my eye from a specific section and read the back cover. If the book sounds as interesting as the cover, then I will read it. As for the books on my shelves at home, I have a few that I will read again and again if I can't find something at the store or the library that catches my eye.


message 48: by Hal (new)

Hal Shannon wrote: "It really depends on how I feel after I have finished the book I am reading. If I am really enjoying fantasy, for example, I will probably pick up another by the same author or a different author w..."

This is me to a tee. It always keeps my interest up as I go to what ever is appealing to me at the time, especially if I need a boost to get back into reading. I read a lot for business so my 'escape' or reading for enjoyment is really important to me ( and my psyche). Picking up an easy read it re-energizes me and I can't wait till the next moment I have to read for pleasure.


message 49: by Louise (new)

Louise Start a challenge (like popsugar) and match books from my large tbr pile to the prompts.


message 50: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Floyd With me it always depends on what I may be reading or just finished reading. If I read a very intense book, I will then try to read something that has a easier feel to it. I can get into a groove reading mysteries, historical fiction, etc., then I find I want to change to another genre. I have a large pile of books, some of which I have owned for awhile, others that I have won on GR or purchased recently. I usually go through a stack set a couple aside read over the synopsis and then decide what I want to read next. I also look to reviews from fellow readers here and if I have the book and it seems the general feelings about the book are good I may pick that book up and push the others aside until later.


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