It’s the bookworm’s biggest dilemma: Too many books and so little time. So how do you find the best book recommendations for you? The world is full of books, and even full of those who want to recommend great books, but not everyone is great at recommending books just for you and your unique reading tastes. If finding great books is your biggest challenge, we’ve got a few tips for how to find book recommendations for books you’re sure to love.
Check Out Author/Book Read-Alike Guides
Let’s start with something basic: finding books like the books you’ve already read and loved. Ask yourself what some of your favorite books are, or what you’ve recently enjoyed. Are they fiction or nonfiction books? What genre are they? What time period do they take place in? What are some of the themes or elements that you really enjoyed in those books? For example, if you recently loved Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, maybe you want books that are smart and satirical, or deal with race and privilege. Maybe you want to read more books by contemporary Black authors. These are all good starting points.
Then, do a little search for “books like [insert your title here].” Check out the suggestions and see where there is overlap or similarities between the suggestions and the book you loved. If you’ve loved some recent big titles, there are plenty of great suggestions for further reading. For example, we’ve got guides for books like Educated by Tara Westover, books to read if you love John Grisham, epic fantasy books like Wheel of Time, magical books like The Night Circus, books like Trust Exercise, and books like Sharp Objects. No matter what your tastes might be, you can usually find read-alikes that will be similar in genre, theme, and style.
Look Up Celebrity and Author Book Recommendations
Hey, if you like or admire someone and their work, there’s a good chance you might like what they’re reading. Many celebrities and authors share what books they love on their social media feeds—authors especially. Follow the authors you love on social media, and keep an eye out for celebrity recommendations. If you want some quick book recommendations, oftentimes an author or celebrity’s book recommendations are compiled into one convenient location! You can find book recommendations from Barack Obama, all of Meghan Markle’s book recommendations before she ceased her social media presence, Reese Witherspoon’s book recommendations (check out her book club too!), Matt Nathanson’s recommended reading, and Mindy Kaling’s book recommendations. From authors, check out 99 of John Green’s book recommendations, and 50 books recommended by Roxane Gay.
Talk to Your Local Librarian or Bookseller
Librarians and booksellers are professional book nerds, big-time readers, and they spend a lot of time around books. They might know of titles that you aren’t familiar with, or know of new releases you haven’t discovered yet. In the case of librarians, they’re actually taught how to recommend books to patrons in library school—it’s called readers’ advisory. The trick to getting the best recommendations from librarians or booksellers is to be as specific as you can, and to ask more than one person on staff if you aren’t finding anything appealing to you. Don’t just say, “Do you have any good recommendations?” (Although, if you are open to anything that’s a great way to discover something new!) Instead, say, “I am looking for fiction recommendations, and I recently enjoyed Transcription by Kate Atkinson. I like historical fiction and spy novels.” Or…whatever it is you like! Be open to their recommendations, but don’t be afraid to ask questions or politely give feedback if you think they’re off the mark. The more a professional knows about your and your reading tastes, the better able they are to help you.
Peruse Book Club Recommendation Lists
Books are considering book club material for good reason—they’re usually excellent books with many exciting talking points, and definitely worth reading. Check out what some of your local book clubs are reading at libraries and bookstores, and be sure to peruse book club recommendation lists as well. We can point you in the direction of short book club recommendations, the best book club recommendations for 2020, some romance book club recommendations, and YA book club recommendations. Who knows—maybe you’ll be inspired to join a book club and get recommendations from like-minded readers!
If you’re a busy person and you want truly personalized book recommendations from a professional, try TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. TBR is a quarterly subscription service that puts you in control of what types of book recommendations (and books in the mail!) you want to receive. First, fill out our reader survey. It’s designed to help us understand what you love, what you aren’t a fan of, what types of books you want to read more of, how adventurous you want to be in your reading exploration, and what themes you might be searching for. Be as specific as you like, but the more details you give, the better. You can even link your Goodreads page to your survey! Then, you’ll be matched with an expert Bibliologist who will pick out three books just for you and write you a recommendation letter. You may choose to receive your letter in your inbox within two weeks, or you can receive your letter and the three books recommended to you as hardcovers in about four weeks. All books are delivered from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, Maine. Enjoy your books, and then leave us feedback in your account so that your Bibliologist can continue to recommend great books just for you! Learn more about how TBR works and get started now!
Finding great books can be a process, so be patient and thoughtful and try to enjoy it! With so many books in the world, you’re sure to stumble upon the perfect book for you.