Once upon a time, I didn’t have to worry about book recommendations. I was an English Literature major, and my class syllabi had plenty of novels to keep me busy throughout the school year. Summers were my time to catch up on the list of lighter reading I’d built up when I was busy reading for class. Once I graduated college, though, I found it was somewhat difficult to keep a long list of new books on deck. I’ve learned some tips and tricks in the years since graduation, so I want to share my three favorite ways to find your next read.
1. Bookish Apps
Who goes anywhere without her smartphone nowadays? Bookish apps are my favorite because they’re right there on my phone! My two favorite are Goodreads and Litsy. Goodreads is a place for individuals to find and review books, add them to “shelves” (this is where I keep track of my to-be-read pile), and even participate in book clubs or giveaways. I joined Goodreads through my Facebook, so I instantly connected with about 100 Facebook friends. I can see what they’re currently reading, what they’re interested in reading, or what they’ve enjoyed (or not). It’s a great way to stay connected to your bookish friends!
My other favorite app is Litsy. It’s similar to Goodreads in that you can review books and add them to stacks, but the community is slightly different. Whereas on Goodreads I follow my personal friends, on Litsy I follow publishing companies, authors, and book blogs. Litsy also has a very Instagram-like feel to it. My feed is made up of big beautiful pictures of books that can lead you to more details about the book, but also feature conversations where Litsy members are talking about the book. Whatever app you check out, you can’t go wrong with bookish communities!
2. Social Media
Now, you may be thinking, “Who has room for more apps on her phone?” As someone who just had to delete 900 pictures and three apps to get her camera to work, believe me, I understand. That’s where it makes sense to use the tools you already have: Twitter, Facebook, and your other favorite social media sites! I started following some of my favorite authors on Twitter years ago, and you wouldn’t believe how many books I’ve read because an author I like tweeted, “This book is really great! Check it out!” In almost every case where I’ve read the recommended book, I’ve loved it.
Social media is also great for asking your friends for suggestions! A couple years ago I wrote a quick status on Facebook that asked for historical fiction and non-fiction recommendations. One of my Gamma Eta sisters suggested The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. Set during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Devil in the White City is a non-fiction book that follows the life of the fair and the people who made it possible, as well as the serial killer who used the fair to find his victims. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and all because a sister commented on my status!
3. Bricks & Mortar
Sometimes we need to step away from the computer, put down our phone and get away from technology for a bit. When I’m looking for a new book and nothing on my Goodreads jumps out at me, I take a trip to my local library or bookstore. When’s the last time you visited a library for yourself for fun? I visited my local library not long ago to use a printer and I ended up wandering around the stacks for a while. I wound up checking out Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart—a book I’d always planned to read in college but never did. It was satisfying to pick up a physical book, take it home to read, and return it for the next person to enjoy.
Because I was a literature major, you can probably guess that I like collecting books. Sometimes a library just won’t do, and I need to go buy myself a new book to dive into. Who doesn’t love the sound of cracking a new book’s spine open for the first time? Visiting a bookstore always yields great purchases because they often stack new and recommended books near the front. I’ve discovered several of my favorite books just by picking them up off a shelf and reading the inside cover.
Summer’s not over yet! I hope you find your next summer read in time to enjoy it by the pool or at the beach. Have a book recommendation or another great way of finding new books? Comment below. I’d love to hear it!