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Books / Writing > How do you decide what book to read?

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message 1: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24358 comments Mod
How do you decide what book to read? Book reviews (where? New York Times, New York Review of Books, Salon?), word of mouth/friend recommended, literary blog, Goodreads, NYT bestseller list, recommended by a media source (where? NPR, Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart, Today show, Cspan?), found in a vacation rental, I only read the YA books my kid is reading, saw it in a bibliography, Amazon recommended it based on my previous reads, just browsing in the library, went in a bookstore and the cover caught my eye?


message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1679 comments Where I get new books to read (in order)
I work in a library (what others have returned, what catches my eye, what coworkers recommend)
went in a bookstore and the cover caught my eye; Amazon/GoodReads recommendations; favorite author has new release; The magazine Bookmarks; book club


message 3: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24358 comments Mod
This is approximately in order with most common first:

-read review or capsule summary in New Yorker
-caught my eye browsing at library
-caught my eye browsing at bookstore (new or used)
-recommendations from friends
-read about on literary blog
-I own a vast number of books I haven't read - nearly endless supply to choose from. Sometimes I just choose at random...
-Cspan's Book TV
-I read an interesting book with a big bibliography and I go through and make a note of which books sound interesting.
-hear of new book or author on Goodreads, either through a group or seeing it go through my queue


message 4: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24358 comments Mod
I forgot, the Slate Audio Bookclub and the Culture Podcast sometimes give me ideas.


Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) I find that belonging to several groups on GR gives me more than enough reading material. Between friends on my list constantly adding/reading/reviewing new books, and most groups having monthly reads, it gets to be ridiculous how many books get added to my list because of it.

Of course, I take recommendations too.

As for what takes priority to read...nowadays I rarely even get to choose order/priority anymore. I belong to so many reading challenges, that I'm pretty much reading whatever belongs to a challenge for that month.


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim | 6485 comments Lately I have been getting most of my recommendations from Goodreads.


message 7: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11694 comments Reviews from friends on GR are a help, but my preferred method is to browse the big-box bookstore.

I'll pick an aisle and begin at one end, picking up anything that looks remotely interesting and reading the cover blurbs. If it looks promising, I'll open it randomly and read a few pages. If I still like it, the next step is writing down the title and checking GR reviews (usually a couple with two-stars and a couple with four-stars). I like to know not only why some people liked it, but also why others didn't.


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments -recommendation from a friend
-caught my eye in the store or the library

When I go into the library for something specific, I usually browse the shelves of new books as well, just to see if there's anything to catch my eye.


message 9: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Recommendation on or off of GR...sometimes a friend shoving their copy in my hand, that kind of thing.

Read and liked something else by an author.

Browsing and take a fancy to it.

Hear the author on NPR and think it sounds good.

Classics I haven't read yet cross my path.

I tend to shy away from "best seller list" kind of stuff. I still have The Kite Runner and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sitting on the shelf and I just can't bring myself to pick them up.


message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Heard the author on NPR is a good one! I'll add that to my list too. I've done that many times.


message 11: by Arminius (new)

Arminius I use to watch C-Span's Book Notes every Sunday.

Now, every time I read a book I discover an additional person, event or an idea which creates an interest. I then look for a book on it.


message 12: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24358 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "Reviews from friends on GR are a help, but my preferred method is to browse the big-box bookstore.

I'll pick an aisle and begin at one end, picking up anything that looks remotely interesting and ..."


Wow, that's very methodical.


message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol | 1679 comments BunWat wrote: "1) Already have read something else by the author
2) Favorably mentioned, reviewed or otherwise praised by an author I like.
3) Recommendation from a friend (on or off Goodreads)
4) Review or a..."


I agree with Bun's 2 and 4, and bibliography from an interesting book also


message 14: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11694 comments Lobstergirl wrote: "Wow, that's very methodical."

Are you making a judgment or a simple statement?


message 15: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24358 comments Mod
At first it was just a statement, but maybe now I'm impressed that you are so methodical. You have a process.

Interesting that you look at 2-star, and 4-star reviews. I've heard a few other people say this too. The neglected 5, 3, and 1 star reviews, are people ignoring them?


Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) I tend to look at the average. If a book has less than a 3.5 average, I won't usually bother skimming the reviews. If the average is at least 3.5, I'll scroll down and read about 5 to 10 reviews just to get a feel for what people do/don't like about the book.


message 17: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments occasionally i will read a wildly popular book or a best seller but usually i go to the new book section at the library and look for something that will interest me. i try to alternate from fiction to non-fiction so i stay in some sort of reality. i do find an author i like and then go back and read other books they have written. i pick up a book and skim through it as if i can magically tell how it is going to read by flipping through a few pages. i have checked reviews on goodreads


message 18: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 250 comments 1) If I have read previous books by the author and liked them
2) Recommendations from Goodreads--my prime source at this time
3) Browsing in the bookstore--usually used, due to budget, and see what catches my eye
4) Browse through my TBr list and see what looks good

I agree--I am really unlikely to read a book ratedd less than 3.5.


message 19: by Phil (last edited Sep 28, 2010 06:48AM) (new)

Phil | 11694 comments Five Stars:  To me, this says there is a risk the reader was so completely caught up in the book that they are no longer objective.

Four Stars:  It was pretty darn good but the reviewer still has some objectivity.

Three Stars:  The reader didn't feel anything for the book one way or the other, or felt that the pros & cons were balanced.

Two Stars:  Reviewer didn't care for it, but others may see promise.

One Star:  Same as five-star, though in the other direction.


message 20: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments well put phil. never thought about the system like this exactly but totally agree


message 21: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Barb wrote: "Phil wrote: "Five Stars:  To me, this says there is a risk the reader was so completely caught up in the book that they are no longer objective."

... but to so caught up in a book must mean it's..."


Me too, Barb. I only give 5 stars to a book that has swept me away...and I wanna be swept away. I don't care if I lose my objectivity. I WANT to lose my objectivity. Still, even a VERY good book that has some sweepishness is hard for me to give 5 stars. I'm pretty stingy with that fifth star.


message 22: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11694 comments The number of five-star reviews may influence my decision, but it's the content of the four-star listings that give me a better sense of the book. Your mileage may vary.


message 23: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) I find that my mileage varies sometimes after I have some time away from the book and think back on it. I've even gone back and changed stars on a couple.


message 24: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments I like to read the one and two star reviews after I've read a book.
Before I read it, I don't like to read a lot of reviews, but I check the proportion of four and five star reviews, and look at my friends' ratings in particular.


message 25: by Jaimie (new)

Jaimie (jez476) | 664 comments but to so caught up in a book must mean it's good right? Isn't that the whole point?

Maybe. It's what I wish for when I pick up a book but it hardly ever happens. There is one book that caught me up in such a way I recommend it to everyone: The Shadow of the Wind. My good friend read it and she hated it. She was glad she stuck through it but she said it was slow and boring. The other two people I've recommended it to got just as caught up as I did and so did my friend who introduced it to me. I would tend to not want to follow the suggestion of someone who's been completely caught up in the book for fear that I'll hate it.


message 26: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24358 comments Mod
I have to admit that Goodreads ratings seldom influence whether I'll read a book. If I hear about a book from some other source, which is usually the way I hear about a book, I'll have enough info to know if the book will interest me and I'll read it. (I won't have enough info to know if I will like the book - only reading it will answer that.) Then I'll look at other ratings and reviews to see if other readers agree with me.


message 27: by Jaimie (new)

Jaimie (jez476) | 664 comments I do like to read reviews of a book after I've read it like Sarah does. Sometimes I've found new insight into it that I did not notice. I'm not someone who picks up metaphor in a book so reading a review of someone who has builds onto my reading experience.

I do a lot of things to help me decide what to read. On Amazon I like to look at the reviews and the tags people put to a book. Here on Goodreads I like to see what shelves people have put a certain book on. I might read a synopsis of a book that looks really good but then I might see that someone's put it on a shelf that indicates that I will not like it, such as "Christian literature." There is one person, my friend Heather, who knows my tastes in reading so well that if she says I will like it she's usually right on. Reading reviews on NY Times and such doesn't do it for me anymore. These people are professional reviewers but I want to hear from someone who wanted to read the book for a reason other than they're getting paid to.


message 28: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (bonfiggi) I go to the Literature Map and find authors, then I look up what they've written.


message 29: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) I just throw a dart in the book store. You pierce it, you bought it!


message 30: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte Creech | 100 comments I just looked at that Literature Map. Its awesomely spooky.


message 31: by Jaimie (new)

Jaimie (jez476) | 664 comments I second the awesomely spooky!


message 32: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Why does it wiggle like that?


message 33: by Jaimie (new)

Jaimie (jez476) | 664 comments Amelia wrote: "Why does it wiggle like that?"

That's what she said.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)


message 34: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) I'm getting used to getting called out on that one...a LOT.


message 35: by Jaimie (new)

Jaimie (jez476) | 664 comments Amelia wrote: "I'm getting used to getting called out on that one...a LOT."

All in good fun, Amelia. I can find double-entendre in mostly anything. :-)


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I hear about books so many places I can't narrow it down. My mom gives me some, I read book reviews at work all day long, my coworkers (all librarians) tell me about books, I go to my book group and hear about books, I go to bookstores and see cool displays (I love it when they have those little cards filled out by the employees recommending their favorites) and I learn about them from my friends here.
It's overwhelming!


message 37: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Shimotakahara (lshimo) I read reviews in newspapers/magazines and increasingly on blogs/sites like Goodreads. I also talk to the owners of the little independent bookstores I love to frequent.... Shortly before one of my favourite stores folded (boohoo), the owner recommended to me Lisa Moore's February, which I found very soulful and moving.... My full review can be read at www.the-reading-list.com


message 38: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Welcome to TC, Leslie!

(Better, Jim?)


message 39: by Jim (new)

Jim | 6485 comments Excellent Amy!

I second Amy's welcome Leslie.


message 40: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24358 comments Mod
If you have a stack of books to read, or a whole shelf, and can't decide what to start with, here's a fun way to pick.

https://pickerwheel.com/tools/random-...

Spin the wheel.


message 41: by Arminius (new)

Arminius I would read others reviews but most of the books I read no one reviews them.


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