Let’s talk books, and the reasons why we aren’t reading enough of them. Of course, you’re reading to your kids, but when was the last time you dove into a book just for you? You’re busy. I know you are. I am, too. And we can probably squeeze in some reading time while we’re waiting in line at the BMV or after the kids have gone to bed, but who has time to actually FIND books to read? You do. Really. You do.
It’s the internet age, which may mean we’re distracted by millions of soundbites and tweets and youtube videos, but it also means we don’t ever, ever have to be without good books to read. I mean it. Used properly, the internet will keep us in books forever. I’m always looking for new ones, and since I don’t have tons of time for browsing (or for wasting on books I hate) , I’ve developed a go-to strategy. Ready?
It starts with finding the recommendations. I follow a few blogs that review books or that give recommendations, though I keep this to only a handful to eliminate clutter. Here are ones that I”ve found the most useful.
- Great New Books – Only posts once a week, but I’ve found some I would NEVER have tried but was really glad I did.
- Green Bean Teen Queen – She’s a librarian, so not all the posts are book recommendations, but she’s a librarian, so she knows about a lot of books you haven’t heard of.
- Epbot – This is girly geek blog, and only very occasionally has book recommendations, but when she does, we have very similar taste. Search her book posts. Even the comments have good stuff.
Also, have you guys seen this website? You just type in a book you loved and it pulls up several you might want to try. Pretty fun.
I also use Amazon for this. Go to Amazon, type in a book you love and see what else people who bought that book are buying. I’ve found tons of books this way, though I always check them out pretty carefully before diving in, since, you know, they are trying to sell you something.
And I just found this post, which takes books you loved as a kid and tells you what you should read now as an adult. It is rocking my world. I want to try so many of these books.
Then comes (very quick) research. Once I have an interesting title, I turn back to Amazon. I use them as a reference tool even more than I buy from them, which is really saying something. On Amazon you can get a good description of the book plus a rating and a whole bunch of short reviews. It’s helpful to me in figuring out if this is really going to fit my taste. Pro tip: If you look down at the “customers also bought” strip, and you see other books you like, you should probably check that out.
Then go crazy on the library’s online reservation page. Of course, at this point, you can just click “Buy with one click” on Amazon, and the book will be at your doorstep in two days. That’s a good option, if you can afford the habit. I, on the other hand, am cheap, and I only like to buy books that I love, which means I have to read them first. So, once I’ve found the books I want to read on Amazon, I head over to the library page and reserve myself a copy (in Indianapolis, that’s here). I go for ebooks if I can get them and hard copies if not. If the ebook is in, I’ve just gone from no idea what to read to a book I’ll probably enjoy in under ten minutes. If I have to wait on a hold, then…well, I’m waiting, but I usually have a whole list of books on hold at any given time, so they keep coming in a steady stream. If you don’t have a library card, GET ONE. When my biggest kids were little, I thought the library couldn’t help me because who has time to browse with little ones hanging on your knees? But the whole online reservation thing has changed the game. When I’ve reserved a book, all I have to do is stop by and grab it when they send me the email that it’s in. Five minutes, in and out, no browsing necessary. As my five-year-old is constantly saying, easy-peasy lemon squeezy.
So there you go. In ten of your Facebook browsing or medical symptom researching minutes, you could have a couple of great books at your fingertips. No excuses!
It’s a heady time to be alive. Let’s get living (and by living, of course, I mean reading).