Reaching the end of a great book is a bittersweet moment. If the story was fiction, and the characters spoke to your heart, then it’s an emotional high to complete their journey with them.

For nonfiction, you’ve either gotten to know a lot about another person’s life or learned something. The problem is, good books are like popcorn or potato chips: you always want more.

So how to find the next great read? I find these to be my most perplexing moments, since my reading time is precious, and I don’t want to waste a single moment.

 
 

If my eBook or print edition is running out of pages, and I don’t have another one waiting in the wings, I become anxious. When the audiobook I’m listening to has less than one hour left, I panic.

The search for the next read, however, can be daunting. There are countless books to choose from, in multiple formats and from numerous places. My biggest fear is that I will select a book that doesn’t grab my attention from the first chapters, and that I will waste precious reading time before realizing the book just isn’t one for me.

I also suffer from two deterring factors: bookstores and time. Sadly, brick and mortar bookstores are becoming more and more difficult to find. And even though there are two within a short drive from my home, the time to visit and spend an hour searching their stock is even harder to carve out.

So I’ve come up with five ways to begin my search for the next great book to read.

Book Clubs Are a Great Place to Start

Although I do not currently belong to a book club – no time! – I have in the past. Some wonderful additions have found their way to my list of favorites – titles as well as authors – that I would never have known about had it not been for the director’s selection.

If you don’t belong to a club, it’s a simple task to go online and do a search for Book Club Suggestions. This search brings up an impressive list of blogs or articles listing titles that have been selected by club organizers.

Search a few of these lists until you spot something in your preferred genre that looks interesting. Then, “check it out” – either from your local library, or in your bookstore or online book source.

Librarians Can Help You Find an Amazing Book to Read

Book club organizers are the folks who make the selections for book clubs to read. They locate these books through sources available to librarians with lists of titles found to be popular book club choices – with reviews. They know what’s been a favorite, and they’re aware of titles that didn’t go over so well.

Even if you don’t belong to your local library’s book club, ask the librarian who chooses their titles, and if he or she would be willing to share. Librarians have their finger on the pulse of the publishing industry, and can be a priceless resource in helping you locate the kind of book you are looking for. All you have to do is ask.

Friend’s Recommendations

Have a group of ladies you hang with? Find out what they’re reading and what they thought about their latest selections. This search doesn’t have to be limited to those within a ten-mile radius of where you live.

With online gathering places like Facebook and Goodreads, it’s easy to scout out a group whose interests mirror your own.

Type a post like, “Just finished Nancy Bilyeau’s The Tapestry and thought it was awesome. Can anybody recommend another book like this one?” Most readers belong to a secret society when it comes to sharing their favorite titles and authors – and they love to share.

Google It

Recently, I was so frustrated when I finished the latest Simone St. James book, Lost Among the Living, and realized her next title won’t be released until next spring! I wanted to read more of her work, now!

So I went to Google and typed in “Authors similar to Simone St. James.” I was thrilled to discover a link to a page on Goodreads with that exact title! It included a list of 22 authors that Goodreads members who liked my favorite author enjoyed.

I had a blast exploring each of their author pages to see which of their books might tickle my fancy, too. A page like this exists on Goodreads for most of the popular authors out there.

Don’t Forget Amazon’s Recommendations

The giant, worldwide store. You either love it or hate, but one thing is for sure: you can find just about anything you want there, even if you don’t buy it.

Each Amazon book page has two banners beneath the book’s description. One is “Customers who bought this item also bought…,” and the other is “Sponsored Products Related to this Item.”

The latter section lists books that share some sort of similarity to the book you’re looking at, whether it be genre, writing style or subject matter.

Perusing each of these lists can key you in to a new title you would never have found during a generic search. It’s much more focused, and the possibilities are endless.

What book are you currently reading? How do you select your next great read? Are you a fan of series by a single author, or do you prefer to try out different authors each time? Stuck on one particular genre, or are you a genre-jumper? And what genres are your favorites? Are you a die-hard fan of memoir, historical, romance, mystery, suspense, paranormal, literary or fantasy? I’d love to hear how you choose your books. Please share in the comments!

Frances BrownFrances Brown is an author, speaker and writing coach. She is passionate about inspiring others to pursue their creative dreams. Frances also publishes fiction under her pseudonym, Claire Gem. Her mission is to broaden the horizons of women who have accomplished much but yearn to learn and grow even more.

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