I remember a time in my adolescence when finding new books to read was a challenge. I would regularly reread my favorites, or only gravitate toward books by authors I already knew and loved. As my reading habits have evolved and changed, I’ve found myself on the opposite end of the spectrum. There are so many ways to find new books to digest, particularly in the digital era, that I consistently begrudge the fact that life is simply too short to read everything I’d like to. It’s a good problem to have.
Here are my tips for never running out of things to read:
Read an anthology every now and then.
Depending on your favorite genre or literary category, this can be a great route for finding new authors. As a poetry-lover, anthologies have served me well. An anthology pulls together several writers, typically from a particular time period (20th century), literary genre (horror), category (poetry), or/and movement (beat). Sometimes I like to read anthologies cover-to-cover and dog-ear any poets that I’d like to discover further. Other times, I like to flip anthologies open at random and see what new poems I can discover. If fiction is more your thing, try reading an anthology of short stories and see where it takes you.
Join a book club.
While some readers feel constrained by book clubs, joining one can be a great way to help you become more disciplined in your reading. Book clubs also ensure that you have something new to read each month. Check your local library system to find book clubs that may appeal to you, or look for book communities online, which may be geared more specifically toward your interests.
Are you familiar with BookTube? It’s a community of bookish Youtubers who upload book reviews, shelf tours, To Be Read videos, and other goodies. Once you find some BookTubers who have similar reading interests as yourself, you’re apt to find book recommendations. Although the majority of these individuals (at least, it seems) are primarily interested in Young Adult fiction, there are plenty of BookTubers who upload content on Adult Fiction and Classics. I’ve yet to find anyone who discusses poetry in much detail, but my favorite BookTubers of the moment are linked below:
Browse the stacks.
I love to set aside a Saturday or Sunday to spend the day browsing the stacks. One of my activities is to explore a big box bookstore (could just as easily be done at the library!), look around, grab a coffee, read for awhile, a carefully pick out a new book or two. If you have time, simply looking around for books that interest you can be incredibly therapeutic, and there’s no better feeling than discovering a book that changes your life simply because you happened to grab it off the shelf!
The same can be said for library book sales, which are a great way to find books if you’re on a budget. If you don’t mind used copies, books sales and used bookstores are great for finding books. Check out the books I recently nabbed at a library sale. I got everything below (and more) for about $3. If you’re willing to dig, you can usually find some copies of books in good condition.
Follow publishers and bookish people on social media.
Goodreads and Twitter are excellent resources for discovering new books, particularly ones that people are talking about right now. Without Twitter, I never would have discovered Hannah Gamble’s Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast, which quickly became one of my favorite books.
Don’t forget the canon.
This is perhaps an obvious tip, but don’t forget to read some classic texts. There’s a reason that classics haven’t gone out of style and are still commonly referenced. You can find bargain copies of favorite books from Barnes and Noble Classics and Signet Classics or beautify your bookshelf with collectors copies.
In the video below from Book Riot’s YouTube channel, Amanda Nelson shares some of her favorite new editions of classics. I love this video so much, and Amanda does such a great job of showing off a wide range of editions, I thought it worth sharing:
And, of course, don’t forget to heed recommendations from your friends and fellow book lovers. Some books that truly changed my life were recommended from close friends, and I probably never would have found them otherwise.
What are your favorite tips for finding new (or old) books to read next?