Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe: Selecting Your Next Leisure Read

Posted: January 21, 2020 9:00:00 AM CST

Raise your hands, how many of you turn into a kid in a candy store when you walk into a bookstore? Now, how many of you believe the following statement to be true: “Despite the fact that I have a table, shelf, floor, etc., full of books I’ve purchased and have yet to read, I still need more?”

My own hand is way up because I love books (so typical of a librarian, I know). As a matter of fact, I’ve reached the point where if I’m purchasing a book as a gift, I have to repeatedly tell myself, “You’re going in for [insert book title] for [insert recipient] and THAT’S it, no looking around.”

This wasn’t always the case, however. While I was always a fan of reading, after high school, I was at a loss of what to read for leisure.

Sure, growing up my mom would take me to the library and I would grab a picture or small chapter book with the coolest cover; but, as I got older I realized the pretty cover did not always equal a book I would enjoy.

So, now that I no longer had the selection process of my younger self, nor did I have an English or Reading instructor telling me to read a particular title, how was I supposed to know what I should read next?

For a shamefully long while, I went without. I didn’t know where to start and I had plenty of other distractions, so I just let it go. It wasn’t until my older sister stumbled upon a little book about sparkly vampires.

That’s right, people, my first “read for leisure” discovery was none other than Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.

The book had just been released and the fandom was slowly building. We picked up a copy, took turns reading it, and just loved it. Lessons learned? I’m a sucker for Young Adult (YA) with paranormal elements and romance. I had a category to search for now!!Graceling by Kristin Cashore book cover

Time goes by, as it’s prone to do, and I’m hired as a Children’s Librarian at the McDonald Public Library (formerly known as Greenwood Public Library), a branch of the Corpus Christi Public Library. While working here, I was approached by a young lady around the age of 14 or 15. It was Spring Break and lo and behold, she was singing my tune.

She enjoyed reading and wanted to read for leisure but had never ventured beyond classroom assigned readings. Her question, “How do I even know where to begin?”

Excitedly, I showed her to our YA title and my questions began with, “What kind of themes do you enjoy?”

Unable to get a concrete answer, I tried again.

“What kind of movies do you like to watch?”

Boom, this is where I got her! She began telling me all about her favorite movies which leaned heavily towards fantasy. I then recommended Graceling by Kristin Cashore, which was a great story with a strong female lead and rich with fantasy.

The young lady checked out the book and went on her merry way. Less than two weeks later, she returned and excitedly told me that Graceling was spot on for her. She then happily ventured to the YA collection, searching for a similar book.

Linking movie preferences with book themes worked for her, but there are of course other ways to identify what to read next.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes tip. I am part of a small team that selects the Popular Reading titles for our collection here at the Bell Library. When I’m looking for popular titles, I have a few go-to resources.

I usually start my browsing with retailers like Amazon or Barnes and Noble to research their list of top books of the month. This allows me to see what titles have been high sellers or rated well. Naturally, I don’t limit my research to one source. I then jump to other sites like Goodreads and Kirkus Reviews to see other ratings and read reviews of the books.

Still, with the wonders of the internet, you have numerous other options.

Included are category reading lists that include topics like: a book based on true events, a book written by an author of color, a book that has a flower on the cover, etc. The Bell Library created a list like this for Winter break reading.

what to read next google search screenshot

A quick Google search for “what to read next” pulls up a number of resources and websites that will assist you as well. As a matter of fact, there’s one site by Make Use Of (MUO) that has pulled together a list of “what to read next” resources.

So now I have to ask…what are you going to read next?   

 

Happy Reading!!

Trisha

Popular Reading Options

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Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

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By: Trisha Hernandez

Category: Behind the Scenes, Books & More, Library Hacks