The Trick to Finding a Good Book

This morning I was looking for a new book to read and it occurred to me that I haven’t set foot in a bookstore recently. Every book I’ve read this year has come through a series of clicks on my iPad, and I’m usually led to that book from an online recommendation. With the incredible boom of online shopping, online recommendations are everywhere. It’s never been easier to get an opinion on a product. But just like that friend who recommended seeing National Treasure: Book of Secrets in the theater, not all opinions are good. Finding an online tastemaker is important.

Here are my go-to’s for knowing what’s what in the literary world:

  1. The Rumblr (the tumblr published by The Rumpus) shares what their editors’ personal reading choices every Friday. The Rumblr is one of my favorite publications online right now; folks who are publishing good content are also likely to be reading good books. I put a lot of stock into their book preferences.
  2. The editors at NPR Books also share their recommendations, with a great mix of old and new, fiction and nonfiction, and lots of things that a person like me–with a degree in English–probably should have read already. Everyone knows at least half of what’s on your bookshelf is shame-motivated.
  3. The Powell’s Book Blog. A style and genre for everyone, plus more recommendations from the book buyers and staff, plus interviews with authors, plus tons of other cool stuff that makes you feel all super smart, like you just ate some vegetables and they were really yummy and now you want to share.
  4. Go Book Yourself. An if you like this…, you’ll like this… recommendation site. Their motto is “Book recommendations by humans, because algorithms are so 1984” which I absolutely adore.
  5. The Olive, the tumblr from Harper Perrennial. Photos of book shelves, stacks of books arranged so that the spines form a rainbow, quotations galore—lots of ways for you to lock eyes with that book across the room.
  6. Elliot Bay Book Company blog. Of course, here in Seattle, there’s really no excuse for a trip to the Elliot Bay Book Company. Last year for Valentine’s Day they recommended e.e. cumming’s illustrated Erotic Poems. (It’s amazing—check it out.)

See what you can find out there and get reading. Oh, and let us know what you come up with!  @iReadandSing