Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. -P.J. O'Rourke
Finishing a good book is a bittersweet moment for me. I don’t like saying goodbye to characters I’ve grown to love. But that’s only part of the problem. Ending one book means it’s time to select what I’m going to read next. With so many books available and so many ways to decide, making that choice is no easy task.
Some readers might visit the new books section at their library; ask for recommendations from their local book store; follow their book club list; or, opt for something a friend or family member mentioned in passing.
Others might go online for advice. Recently lifehacker.com ran an article, “The Five Best Book Recommendation Services.” They included sites I would expect to find, like Shelfari, Library Thing, Amazon, and Goodreads, plus one I wasn’t familiar with called GetGlue. The article mentions the pluses each site has to offer.
There are some people who find an author they like and read without a pause everything by that one writer. Once the author’s books are devoured, the fan can select from a list of books that the author likes. At toptenbooks.net there’s a top ten book list by a wide range of authors. For instance, here are the number one selections from a few random authors:
Kate Atkinson: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Russell Banks: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Carl Hiaasen: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Stephen King: The Golden Argosy by Van H. Cartmell & Charles Grayson, editors
Anita Shreve: The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
Tom Wolfe: L'Assommoir; Nana (tie) by Emile Zola
Jodi Picoult: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
John Irving: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Joyce Carol Oates: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Alexander McCall Smith: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
OK, so they aren’t exactly recent releases…but, classics can always be reread.
Another option, and one of my favorites, is to select books after reading about them from blogger buddies. They might be books they’ve written or books they have reviewed.
While all of the above methods are good, I wanted to work my way through my leaning tower of to-read books before adding more confusion to the selection process, so I utilized a very unscientific approach. I recently finished reading The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle (passed on to me by my sister). I thought it was an excellent book and I enjoyed it, but it was dark, sad, intense, and addressed a touchy subject these days (immigration). My next read needed to be on the lighter side. I plucked a book from the stack according to the fun-looking book cover (I warned you my method was not scientific).
I selected Delicious and Suspicious, a cozy mystery by Riley Adams (an author I ‘met’ through blogging). The only problem I can see with my selection, after reading only a few pages, is that I might have to go out for barbeque tonight (those who have read it will know what I mean). Check out Mystery Writing is Murder for more information on this author (also known as Elizabeth Spann Craig) and her books.
How do you go about selecting your next book to read? Are you inclined to read all books by an author you like before moving on to something else, or do you like to mix things up a bit? If you made a top ten list, which book would you include as number one? (I didn’t answer this question, because I simply don’t know. Again, there are too many for me to select only one—or ten.)
Thanks for dropping by today. I hope to see you again next Monday.
Tags: P. J. O’Rourke, Lifehacker, top ten books , Delicious and Suspicious, Tortilla Curtain, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult , book recommendation services, Elizabeth Spann Craig, Riley Adams,