Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How to Pick a Good Book

Let's be honest - for every great book you read, you end up reading another that's a waste of your time. Or if you're like me and your budget basically includes only downloading free books, you end up with two poorly written books for every one brilliant book! ;)

Tonight I decided to do a little search to figure out some tips for y'all so that you can narrow the amount of bad books you read and increase the amount of incredible books! In no particular order, here they are:

1) Try the "Goldilock's Test" - make sure it's not too easy or too hard, but just right. You won't enjoy a book if you find it too simplistic/young, nor will you enjoy it if it leaves you next to the dictionary because the words are just too darn hard. Sure, this method was meant for parents to use with their kids, but I think it applies to all of us - I have a large vocabulary, but there are definitely still some books that are too hard for me to read!

2) Check out popular book club picks. Generally, if it's good enough to be read in a group, it's good enough to read alone. Generally. However, if the latest book club read is a romance and you don't like the genre, look for an older book club pick.

3) Get a recommendation. You can do this traditionally, from family or librarians, or you can do this online on a site like Goodreads, where readers review books. Or you can do this my favorite way, and read the books recommended by your favorite book blogger! :)

4) Stick with a favorite author. If your author doesn't have any more books out, or at least not any that you haven't already read, look up one of her or his books on a site like Amazon and check out the "Others who bought this also bought" section at the bottom of the page. That will usually give you some similar genres or authors.

5) Browse the shelves of your favorite section. This can be at the library, a bookstore, or online. If you know what genre you like, try out a new author in that genre. For example, I know I like mysteries. So every once in a while, I randomly browse online for mysteries to find some great new books!

6) Pick a bestseller. To quote the site, "Not all bestsellers are great books, but all great books are bestsellers." If a book is a bestseller, there's usually a good reason.

7) Use Whichbook. I'd never heard of it until I did a search for this post tonight, but now that I've found it I can't stop playing with it! :) It's a really fun little website where you can choose from a variety of factors, like happy or sad, gentle or violent, and conventional or unusual.

So there you have it, folks! Hopefully these options will help you find a great book every time.

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