How to find books you’re more likely to love

This weekend I visited a terrific used book sale in my town. When I went on Friday, the place was packed: a whole lot of readers were crammed into one smallish room. It made browsing a little difficult, but it was mostly delightful, because you could hear your fellow readers oooing and ahhhing over the selections. Like when I spotted a Joshilyn Jackson hardcover I hadn’t yet read, in terrific condition, and I let out a little exclamation of delight before I could stop myself.

Many of the book sale volunteers are avid readers themselves, and several of them walked around the room, scanning the bookshelves and boxes, plucking their favorite titles from the stacks, and recommending them to whoever was nearby. Have you read this? They’d ask. No? You really should. This is a great book. 

I attended this sale last year, and enthusiastically took home a new-to-me paperback after a book sale volunteer raved about it. It’s in my lifetime top 3, she said. Read it.

And I did. And guess what. I hated it.

Readers, the second category in the 2018 MMD Reading Challenge is “a book recommended by someone with great taste.” I’ve gotten lots of requests from readers wanting to know what that means, exactly.

Not every reader is alike, far from it. Not every reader enjoys the same books. But if you can find fellow readers who tend to enjoy the same sorts of books you do they can be a fount of solid recommendations, whether they’re in your neighborhood or book club or local bookstore or library or right here on the internet.

Every reader is different. This is why every week on my podcast What Should I Read Next? I don’t just make blanket book recommendations. First, I invite readers to tell me three books they love, one book they didn’t, and why. With that information in hand, I’m much more likely to recommend books that you will enjoy. And readers who are listening in will recognize themselves—or not—in each week’s guest, and are therefore much more likely themselves to add books they will truly enjoy to their TBR.*

This category is your invitation to pay attention to how you find the books you love, and to read something that source recommends. It’s an exercise in assessing what it is you enjoy, as a reader, and whose taste resembles yours. (Honestly, when I say a fellow reader has great taste, what I often mean is their taste is a lot like mine.)

Not sure what to read for this category? Check out this post where I ask 8 readers whose taste I admire to recommend a book they love. Check out these book flights and use a title that complements something you’ve already read and loved. Check out this big list of book lists and see what catches your eye.

Ask a friend the next time you have coffee, ask your coworker when you’re grabbing a snack. Pop into your local library or bookstore, tell a staff book-lover three books you love, and ask for recommendations on what to read next.

Reading is personal, and this is an especially personal category. I can’t wait to hear what YOU pick for it.

Happy reading!

* TBR = To Be Read list. Mine is currently pushing 4 figures. You?

P.S. It’s not too late to sign up and get our fun Reading Challenge goodies. Do that right here. If you’re a challenge participant, we include those download links in every challenge email, so no worries if you’ve misplaced yours.

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  1. Rissie Lundberg says:

    So true! Everyone has reading preferences just like they have movie preferences or workout preferences or a food preferences. I’m glad that you consider so many different types of readers. There are books out there for every preference, we just need some help to find them!

  2. Nickie says:

    This was the first item I checked off of my MMD Reading Challenge. I have recently made a new friend who enjoys reading as much as I (and it is so much fun getting together!) so I asked her. She reads a lot more fiction than I but since we have become friends and gotten to know each other, she had an idea of my preference. She recommended Lie To Me by JT Ellison….and I loved it! A Book In Translation and A Classic are the hard ones for me so I am saving those for last. This is my first reading challenge so i hope there is not a rule that says you have to read in order of list on challenge. I have checked off 3 categories so far and am having so much fun!!

    • Andrea Wells says:

      Your comment about your TBR pushing 4 figures made me laugh!I’ve been feeling the need to winnow mine as add faster than I read:)

      • Same here, Andrea! My TBR list just hit 600 and that’s with much contemplation before a new title is added. I sighed relief when I read Anne’s is pushing five figures, especially since she seems to be a book a day reader. 🙂

  3. Laura says:

    I thought your reading personality quiz was really helpful in this regard! We don’t have to read books just because everyone else is if it doesn’t fit our reading profile. That’s an easy way to shorten our TBR and find books that appeal more to our tastes.

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