How to Decide What to Read

BookstoreProbably the most common cry from bookworms is, “There’s not enough time to read all the books I want to read.”

It is certainly part of the curse to not be able to enjoy all the knowledge and creativity books have to offer. Let’s face it, life just sort of gets in the way.

A while back I wrote about how to find time to read, which you can take a look at here.

So let’s say you’ve figured out how to carve out time to read. But how do you go about choosing what to invest your time in?

I take book searching very seriously, and because of that, very few books I read disappoint me. Allow me to share my tips on choosing the right books to read.

1. Reviews, reviews, reviews

If I see a book that looks rather interesting, I don’t buy it right away. Instead, I go on Goodreads and Amazon and read the reviews to get a general idea of what people thought about the book. More often than not you’ll find recurring praises or complaints, which you’ll likely share. This way, you’ll at least have an idea what you’re getting into.

2. Branch Out

I don’t know how many people I’ve read about or talked to that’s said, “I read such-and-such genre, but it’s getting kind of old and repetitive.” Well, yeah! You spend your efforts reading every Harry Potter knock-off, you’re going to grow sick of young readers fantasy books real fast. Be brave and try reading a book on a subject or from a genre you don’t have much experience in. I don’t particularly care for sports in the least, but one of my all-time favorite books is a sports book.

3. Another note on Branching Out

Don’t limit yourself to just books that appeal to you as a target audience. You say, “But I’m a 50-year-old woman, so I’m best just sticking with Agatha Christie mysteries.” If I remained a target-audience statistic, my shelves would be full of Stephen King and James Patterson novels. And honestly, King isn’t that thrilling to me and Patterson doesn’t even write his own books any more than my dogs pay the bills. No thank you. I’ll stick with more unconventional books for guys my age, like Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables.

Share some tips about how you go about finding new and exciting books to read!

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

16 thoughts on “How to Decide What to Read

  1. Most interesting! I read most of my books on Kindle and download the freebies. There are some real gems to be found, but I’m afraid I’m completely shallow and go by the cover and title. If its got nudes or semi nudes, or a cow boy it doesn’t get a look! If the title says its part of a series, I don’t bother as I’ll get hooked and end up shelling out for a long series of novellas. When I do buy a book, it’ll be from a favourite author and I’ll have downloaded a sample to see if I like it!!!!


  2. This is some good stuff! One of the ways I choose my reading material is by hanging out with other readers and finding out what they have read. Several of my blogging friends have also suggested great books I probably never would have chosen by myself. You are right it is important to approach reading with an open mind. I have found enjoyment in books way outside of my comfort-genres. It just goes to show you never really know what your going to like until you try it.


  3. Funny. I used to think that as long as I’m reading, I’m not wasting time. But now I realize that there’s only so much time and I won’t be able to read all of the Great Books (that Saint Johns College list), so I need to be picky. And then I panic… Then I go back and think, “Well, reading a book period is better than playing Angry Birds, so just read, self, just read.”

    Love your suggestions. I get stuck in nonfiction stuff related to my work (sales, marketing, productivity) and force myself to pick up a novel to take the other side of my brain off of life-support every once in a while.


  4. Once the book gets my attention the first place I flip straight to the first sentences of the story, then to the blurb on the back or inside flap.


  5. I read on recommendation of writers. And I always google the writer of the book that I am reading if I find the person interesting I will try the book. Unless the book is a classic or a fantasy because those are the genre’s I ‘know’ aka read a lot of. Currently I am reading Philip K.Dick for the first time. If you have never read him try it is an experience unlike anything I have had before reading a book.

    Love your blog by the way keep it up and God bless


  6. I’m a library user. My favorite thing to do is get recorded books that I listen to while I sew. I get hooked on an author, and keep pulling everything on the shelf by that person until I have exhausted what is available. I enjoy reading, holding a book in my hand; but seem to get very distracted by the household around me when I sit down with a book. So, I limit my book reading to sitting in the sun or on the porch, someplace “outside” of the household, where my attention is not torn by the chores to be done, the noise of the t.v. etc.


  7. Great article. I have a wide selection of books I have purchased and haven’t read yet in a variety of areas, mystery, non-fiction, romance, real-life experience, etc. When I finish a book I have a wide selection to choose from and can make a selection from whatever appeals to me at the time. This prevents getting bogged down reading the same type over and over. I have also found that periodically my brain needs a release from the heavier non-fiction (even true-life stuff) and that is when I hit a romance — no serious concentration required and usually a quick read.


  8. That photograph just did me. I want to live there. AND I am in the process of trying to branch out my reading tendencies. Trouble is, I don’t trust half the people who make suggestions to me. I’m very suspicious.


  9. Goodreads is a fantastic source for book recs. I’ve also found that most readers love to talk about books, and generally, people have book soul mates. I’ve got two or three people who if they recommend something, I know I’m going to love it just because our tastes are so similar.

    And great photo!


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