I’ve been thinking lately about TBR lists and finding books to read. I believe with my whole heart that everyone can be a reader, but you just have to find the right books for you. It may be paranormal romance, or high fantasy, or literary fiction, or chick lit. And, of course, you have to devote time to it. (I can’t roll my eyes hard enough when someone tells me they don’t have “time” to read yet wants to talk to me about every Netflix show they’ve binged in the last six weeks. Mmkay.)
I also think that finding a genre you like is just one piece of the puzzle. I think you also have to know how to actually find books to read. How do you do that without stumbling across a listicle online or walking into a bookstore and picking up a book that has an appealing cover? Friends, that’s why you have me. I’m here to help you find books to read because I recently realized that I have a steady stream of book recommendations coming at me from myriad sources.
I listen to an array of bookish podcasts that provide me with a wealth of new and old books to add to my TBR. Some of my favorites include What Should I Read Next, Sarah’s Book Shelves Live, and No Thanks We’re Booked. What’s great about these podcasts is that they highlight why you should read a certain book, which is a great way for me to immediately pull up my Goodreads app halfway through an episode and add the book to my want-to-read list.
Right after Instagram, Goodreads is my favorite social media platform. I’m on it daily, either scrolling through the feed or updating my currently reading list. I also get a daily email from Goodreads that details the latest updates from my friends list: what they’re currently reading, what they’ve recently reviewed, and what books they’ve added to their want-to-read list. I find this email so helpful. If someone adds a gushing review about the book, I’ll probably mark it as want-to-read. If the opposite happens, someone has a negative review about a book on my list, I might remove it, especially if the reviewer is someone whose reading taste aligns with mine. And sometimes I’ll find new books to add to my list, especially if the cover catches my eye, a bunch of friends have marked the book as want-to-read, or it’s from an author I like. That daily email is a lifeline to my reading life!
Along with the daily email, Goodreads also sends me a monthly newsletter to tell me about new books from authors I’ve previously read. I love this email because it reminds me to request certain books from my library (and, more often than not for my romances, recommend the library buy the e-book version) and also keeps me in the loop with publishing dates.
I met my core group of friends through a book club, and we’re still going strong many years later! We are still essentially a book club – we always read a book each month and meet up to discuss it over dinner or brunch or a fun activity – but our book club meetings are probably 90% chatting about life. Even so, there’s still a lot of bookish talk in the midst of the chit-chat, especially about the books we’re reading and loving. Most of them are also very active on Goodreads, too, so I can see what they’re recommending there. I get a lot of my best recommendations from my friends because we’re so similar in our reading tastes!
Trying to describe Book Riot is… not easy. I would consider it to be a bookish media company. They publish articles, have numerous podcasts, have a membership program, and a lot more. On their blog, they publish around 10 or so articles daily with book listicles, essays about the bookish life, and more news-y articles, and through their articles, I have found so many great books to read. As far as their podcasts go, I only listen to two and the one I listen to for book recommendations is All the Books. Every week, the hosts discuss some of the top new releases and I find myself needing to keep my Goodreads app open when I’m listening to add new books to my want-to-read list.
Book of the Month
Book of the Month has introduced me to so many great books. I don’t think it’s necessary to subscribe to reap the benefits of using BOTM as a book recommendation source, either. Simply check out the site on the first of every month to check out the titles or, my personal favorite, check out Sarah’s Book Shelves as she does a monthly roundup post of the BOTM selections, where she gives a very detailed overview of each book. Even when I don’t select a book, I’ll add it to my Goodreads want-to-read list because while I don’t want to spend $14.99 on a hardcover of the book, I may want to check it out from the library later.
Finally, I have found many great recommendations from #bookstagram, which is a bookish community on Instagram. Bookstagrammers are known for showing their book hauls, talking about what they’re reading, and discussing the books that are getting a lot of buzz in the publishing world. Oftentimes, the bookstagrammers talk about books I’ve already heard of, but it’s due to their gushing reviews that I finally add it to my Goodreads want-to-read list. Also, it’s just fun to follow bookstagrammers because it makes my feed so pretty and positive.
I know this is a lot of information and if you’re someone struggling to find books to read, this may feel overwhelming. But, believe me, you do not need to have all of these streams going to find book recommendations. My advice is to follow one or two bookish podcasts (I’d recommend What Should I Read Next for new readers), as well as either subscribe to Book of the Month or keep track of what they’re offering each month. I know people who read just from BOTM books! It’s not a bad system at all, and you’ll definitely get to enjoy a great mix of authors and genres.
Now, go forth and read. If you’ve finished a Netflix series in the last month, you definitely have time to read a book. (Or two. Or three. Or ten.)
How do you find books to read?