How do you choose what book to read next?

In my last post I wrote about some of the things I am reading when I’m not working my way through the 100 novels I’ve challenged myself to read.

As a kid finding something new to read was never a problem. I used to raid my parents bookcase and the library and choose whatever looked interesting. I soon found my favourite authors and genres. It helped that I had a limited pool to choose from. It only took a few minutes to run along the shelves and pick the next book out.

Nowadays, with over one million books sitting on Amazon’s limitless shelves, and hundreds of thousands more being added every day, I don’t find it so easy. On the one hand, some of my favourite books have been little-known, obscure novels I would have never found if someone hadn’t donated it to a charity shop or market stall. On the other hand 90% of the books for sale I can be pretty sure I won’t enjoy. I’ve read a few self-published novels at random and most of them have been… well, pretty awful.

But I don’t want to miss the not-awful ones!

I could only read authors and specific genres I know I already like. But books are meant to broaden the horizon and make you consider new perspectives. Sometimes you need a new voice and a different set of themes to tackle.

I like to read classics, sure, but I also like to read modern novels. Ones that reflect on my own time, or the near future. The question that plagues me is… how do I find them?

How do you choose what book to read next?

What do you do? Do you use Goodreads recommendation tool? Do you get friends and family to suggest ideas? Do you scour the book reviews in newspapers? Do you have a particular book blogger whose opinion you respect? Is it even possible you buy books when some author sends you a tweet begging you to?

Let me know in the comments (or on facebook/twitter!)

Also, a shameless plug, but if you stumbled on this post looking for something to read… why not give my own short novel a try? The Rising Wind.

(By the way, here’s the full-sized version of that awesome flowchart at the top of the post)

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