My senior year in high school, I sat next to my class valedictorian. For the twenty minutes before A.P. English started (who really listens to the announcements anyways?) we would share breakfast and talk books.
It was somewhere halfway through the year when we decided to start the SSBC, the Super Secret Book Club and invite only the people we could actually tolerate in our class. For a few months, seven of us would meet at Borders (R.I.P) and over analyze books until the cows came home.
Unfortunately, all of us are in different places doing different things now. I think what I miss most about those days was always having book suggestions. With the SSBC, I trusted my fellow book nerds’ judgment and I had a slew of books on my shelf on my “soon” list. Now that we’ve lost touch, it’s tough to find suggestions for books I would like.
I try and read some book review. Entertainment Weekly has a few, though the section is sparse in comparison to the other mediums, but I really feel reviews can’t tell you if you’ll like a book; they tell you if someone else liked the book. Sometimes I ask my mom was she was reading in her book club, but I always get a lot of floofy titles. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good floof book here and there, but I need substance. I need character development. I need an enticing plot!
I’ve been doing a lot of movies to books. If I like a movie, I try the book on for size. I enjoyed the kitchy movie Something Borrowed, so I bought that (the sequel’s better). Next on my list is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because the movie was so ridiculously good. The only catch with this way is that it’s semi annoying that I already know what’s going to happen.
Sometimes, I go to BAM and scan the shelves. Let’s not lie, the age-old cliché of don’t judge a book by its cover is good in theory…but shiny things will always attract us with short attention spans. A bizarre title also stands out to me, and at least makes me read the back cover.
Lately, I’ve found a solution. I’ve had some great finds from the wonderful services of Amazon. When you view a book, you can get a book summary and reviews. With the “Look Inside” option, you can preview a book before you buy it, just like you would in a store. The New York Times Bestsellers list is also better to view on Amazon because you get a description that’s more than 20 words long. Best part is, when I search a book I’ve read and loved, Amazon suggests 100 similar titles for me to read. Amazon will also suggest books other customers viewed and/or bought to give you more options.
That’s how I do it, but I’m curious: how do you find a new book to read?