What You Said: How You Find New Books

By Jason Fitzpatrick on December 14th, 2012

Earlier this week we asked you to share your tips and tricks for finding fresh books to enjoy. Now we’re back with tips ranging from the old school to the digital.

SJ highlights several of the most popular web-based tools for finding new books:

Goodreads.com is quick and easy. Yournextread.com is fun and helps a lot. But I gotta be honest, Amazon’s suggestions are probably the most useful to me.

TheFu suggests checking out award-winning lists and one rather quirky way to pick a good Sci-Fi book:

For scifi, see Hugo winning books. Life is too short to read bad books. Sometimes that leads to an author with an entire series of books to enjoy. I really enjoy some of the scifi from the 40s and 50s. Wells stuff is always timeless too (and free). I’m less happy with Nebula winners–-different type of writers and not my personal taste.

I also enjoy reading the books that were made into movies (usually bad movies). Someone though that the book was great enough to blow $50M-$300M on it. Sphere really was a great book, but please ignore the movie.

We’ll second his vote to read Sphere and avoid the movie.

While many of our readers relied on digital recommendations, several took a distinctly analog approach. JSilvers writes:

When it comes to books, I am a member of the Lead Pencil society – physical books preferred.

I peruse the contents of Bookmarks magazine to compose a list of BooksToRead, The list is hand written on 3×5 cards and I keep it in my purse. I add to this list with comments from my various book clubs.

Cruising the New Books aisles of the various libraries within 20 miles is my main recreation. I pick books matching my lists and other appealing titles, based on the inside blurbs. I also troll the local independent book stores, and Barnes&Noble. I am fortunate to live in the Phoenix area which allows me to checkout books from the libraries of several adjacent towns, and has several independent book stores selling new and used books.

I end up with a pile of books on my table, sorted by due date, then by contents, so I don’t read two books of the same kind sequentially. Books are added at the bottom and read from the top. I will resort the pile, just so long as I don’t keep a book past its due date. Of course, reading turns up a few duds; I give myself permission not to continue reading them.

Thanks for the opportunity to share.

Giving oneself permission not to finish a bad book is an important literary skill to development–life is too short and good books are too abundant to waste time on a bad book, for sure.

Have a book recommendation tip or trick to share? It’s not too late to join the conversation; sound off in the comments with your book search tips.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/14/12
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