This post is dedicated to all the people out there who are currently struggling to find the right book.
These days, picking up a book can feel like a big commitment. What if it’s no good? What if it fails to meet your expectations? Every book comes with this risk, and for some reason it’s more disappointing to read a bad book than it is to watch an underwhelming Netflix series or spend the same amount of time mindlessly scrolling Instagram.
Whether you’ve chosen a book solely based on its cover, or skimmed a novel that didn’t live up to its riveting synopsis; we’ve all made reading mistakes or read books we just did not love. It sucks and it turns the wonderful hobby of reading into a chore.
If you’re anything like me, you love getting lost in a good book but finding the right book to get lost in doesn’t come easy. Afterall, there are so many books out there, how will you ever find the right one?
In this post, I’m going to share some of my tips for finding books that you are more likely to love—because good marketing doesn’t always mean the book is worth the hype…
1. Follow people with similar interests or tastes to yours
As much as I love reading, I find it hard to tear myself away from social media. But the good news is, you can use social media to inspire you and improve your reading habits. YouTube is a great resource for finding books to read. The “booktube” community is made up of a variety of readers who enjoy a diverse range of books; from contemporary fiction and young adult to sci fi and even non-fiction.
It might take some time to find the right people to follow, but once you do they can help you discover books you’ll really enjoy.
You can also follow subreddits such as r/suggestmeabook or r/booksuggestions to find recommendations based on books you have enjoyed in the past.
Instagram is another option, but personally, I get too distracted by the pretty pictures.
2. Read the first chapter
One way to find out if you’ll like a book is to commit to reading the first chapter before deciding whether it’s worth pursuing. This is a strategy many avid readers use because if you’ve been reading for a while, you can usually tell whether you’ll like a book from the first chapter.
3. Attempt a new genre
I am often drawn to thrillers, especially psychological thrillers with plot twists I don’t see coming. But reading thrillers exclusively can put me into a reading dry spell because after a while, they all start to seem the same. When this happens, I will pick up another book in a different genre (such as romance) to reignite my reading spark.
4. Learn to use Goodreads (the right way)
Many readers use Goodreads to catalogue their books, read reviews and find new books to read. However, it can also be a confusing and daunting site to figure out, especially if you aren’t familiar with the Goodreads rating system.
From my experience, Goodreads’ algorithm seems to favour the most rated (including most shelved) books and equates this to most popular. I have absolutely nothing against popular books—if a book is popular, that means it probably has wide appeal and I generally enjoy books that are popular.
However, some books become hyped on Goodreads because the publisher is good at marketing the book and getting it in front of audiences, or comparing it to similar books that were successful in the past. One example of this is Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins, which is (in my opinion) an average thriller at best, yet it is at the top of every list on Goodreads.
As much as I love Goodreads, I no longer use it as my #1 resource for finding new books to read because I find that the review system isn’t always the best way to find a good book. Instead, I use it alongside other resources like book bloggers or reviewers who have similar tastes to mine. Usually, when I come across an interesting recommendation, I will look it up on Goodreads and check to see whether it got a score above 3.5 with more than 2000 ratings in total.
This is a general rule of course, not every book I’ve read has more than 2000 ratings, and there are many fantastic underrated books that don’t fall into this category. But it is still a good way to assess books if you aren’t willing to take the risk.
At the end of the day, finding a book you connect with is just a matter of diving in headfirst into something that piques your interest. Hopefully these tips will help you get closer to finding a book you love.