Monday, January 31, 2011

How I Choose Books

Reading is one of my favorite things to do and there are several ways in which I pick which books I want to read. I used to go to the bookstore. A lot. In fact, me spending $100 a visit to the bookstore wasn't uncommon. When I go to the bookstore just to look around I let the books choose me as I wander around. Certain covers and titles will reach out to me and draw my interest, begging me to read their inside flap or back cover to learn more about them. I will also usually read the first sentence of a book to determine if the writing style is something I like. I always figure that if I want to keep reading after the first couple of sentences it will probably be a book I would enjoy reading to the end.

When I go to the library, how I choose books is completely different. Because all the library books are stacked with only their spines showing, I can't pick books by their covers as easily. (I totally judge books by their covers and I am not ashamed!) Before I head to the library I will look at websites like to find out which books are on the best seller lists or to check which books have been recommended by editors or other readers.

I also look in Oprah's magazine as she has a "Book Room" section where she and her staff recommend books that are supposed to be good. I have since found out that this isn't always the case but it is a pretty good source for ideas. 

Oprah's book club also is a source of books, as I like the idea of reading something that is going to be talked about later so I can compare my opinion of the books with others. I guess maybe I should join a real life book club sometime?

My co-workers are also big readers and we often pass around books that we like. This is how I found out about the book The Art of Racing in the Rain, one of the best books I read this past year.

Lastly, I use recommendations from friends, other bloggers, and family. If someone I know and respect has read a book and enjoyed it, there is a very good chance that I will, too.

So that's it! Happy reading everyone!


  1. I actually formed a book club called the Naked Shakespeare Club. We didn't read any Shakespeare and we were almost never naked. We were dedicated to reading English verse and prose. Every couple of months we would watch a film based off one of the books or a film that was related in some way to British Literature - like The Jane Austen Book Club. Book clubs are funsies, in my opinion.

  2. So interesting to hear how you pick books! Thanks for posting.

    I also can't help but sometimes pick books by their cover. However, sometimes at the library (since they are often missing their cover flap) I am intrigued by the mystery of what is inside. know what I mean?

    Interesting that you read the first sentence and try and get a feel for the book. That sure puts a lot of stress on the authors :) - I hate writing the first line of any paper I write, that's for sure.

  3. SC - Your bookclub sounds fun! I don't know if I could read too much old school Brit lit. Maybe we could form a virtual book club covering 3 states and 1500 miles?! Could be fun for us peeps from ID, ND, and MN to talk about books.

    SJ - I know what you mean about the mystery of books. Sometimes it's mysterious to me why Oprah picks books like "Freedom" for her book club and then they end up being some of the worst books EVER.

  4. This summer I would totally be down for a book club!