How to Find Great Books to Read (Even if They're Not Well Known)
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
You know that feeling when you finish reading an amazing book (or even worse, a series)? It’s like losing a friend. A best friend.
Like the last scene in Friends when they all leave that house ☹
I’ve felt it more times than I can count. Especially recently.
When I’m done reading an awesome book, I always, always feel like no book can compare to it. I know it’s silly; there are so many terrific books around, but I just can’t help it!
And that causes a weird sort of reader’s block. Not the kind of reader’s block I went through after I lost touch with reading during my four years of college.
No. I’m talking about the kind of reader’s block when I think, “I have no good books to read!” when my bookshelf is filled with books.
You know the feeling. It’s the bookish equivalent of, “I have nothing to wear!” when you have lots of clothes in your wardrobe.
But the thing is, unlike the other kind, this reader’s block is a little easier to get out of. You just need the right book, after all!
I get out of such funks by, well…finding a good book.
It's not that hard, is it? Welll...it is. It really is. But...
There are several places where you can find great books you’ll love. Here’s where I find the best books:
There's no better way to start this list than with the amazing bookish community of Instagram (unoriginally called “bookstagram”). All of them have different tastes and preferences, so I just follow the ones whose tastes match with mine (or those whose feeds are especially pretty because who doesn’t like pretty things?) for great book recommendations.
It’s important that you don’t go listening to just anyone’s recommendations on here. There might be a majorly influential bookstagrammer with thousands of followers whose tastes just don’t match yours. So choose carefully!
Another great way to use bookstagram to get out of your reading funk is through a readathon. People organize such things all the time. They’re online events (?) or something of the sort, based on a theme (like Fantasy readathon or Classics readathon or even author-based readathons). The organisers often share their own and other participants’ recommends for the readathon, and it’s really fun if you like the theme.
I’m an ebook reader. Don’t get me wrong – I love paperbacks (and hardcovers!) but ebooks are way less expensive than printed books. So I use my Kindle app on my phone to read a lot of awesome books. And since I’ve read so many books on the Kindle app, it gives me recommendations of “other books I might like” based on my preferences.
It’s actually a bit creepy how good Kindle (a.k.a. Amazon) is at recommending stuff I end up liking. Most of my recent reads have been based on Kindle recommendations (case in point, my entire list of fairytale retellings and the fantastic Red Winter trilogy) and I’ve loved many of them.
An alternative to those who prefer paperbacks is the Amazon “people also read/people also buy” list. It’s remarkably (creepily) accurate in guessing our bookish preferences.
Just ask your friends
This doesn’t work for everyone, mind. My friends, for example, have different tastes than I do and it just doesn’t work for me. My parents, on the other hand, have exactly my taste (or do I have their taste?) in books. So if I don’t really know what to read, I just go to my mom and tell her, “Ma, gimme a great light fantasy book”, or something like that. And we have the same taste in books, so I’m almost never disappointed. But your friends may not have the same taste in books, in which case…
Google may be your best friend
If you know what kind of book you’re looking for and you can put that into a few words, well, Google is awesome. For instance, if you’ve just read an amazing Neil Gaiman book, you can just search something like, “Authors like Neil Gaiman”, and there you have it. Lots of lists. But this will never work if you want something vague that can’t be searched or if the book or author you read isn’t famous enough to get you big lists of similar books. When that happens, the best thing is to turn to…
Seriously. I found this only recently and it’s amazing! It’s a social media platform unlike any other, where you’ll find the strangest discussions, and the most amazing ones as well. Reddit has dedicated communities to help you find books to read (among lots of other things, but let’s not get into that here). Some awesome groups to join (called subreddits) are r/booksuggestions and r/suggestmeabook. Just see what kind of questions get asked (and answered!) here:
Seriously. Can you get any vaguer than “books that make you feel like you’re experiencing autumn”? And it’s got 49 comments! So yeah. You can find some pretty good recommendations here, especially if you’re feeling muddled. I found Stardust through one of those subreddits.
There. I think that’s it! That’s the list of places where I’ve found great books to read during a reader’s block. I had also signed up to bookish newsletters by different book review sites like Kirkus Reviews and Book Riot but somehow, I never get anything I like from them. But it might work for you!