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This will be another short post because I hate Comcast and their inept staff of badly-trained tech-school washouts with the heat of a thousand burning suns and not unrelated to this point, I am reduced to trekking to a coffee shop for wireless access for an indeterminate period of time ranging from a day or two to the cooling of the sun, depending on which stammering script-reciting moppet answers my call which is Very Important to Comcast Which Values My Feedback and would like me to answer a survey about how well they have Exceeded My Expectations after I've been told how Very Very Sorry They Are For the Inconvenience (which they can't do anything about or give me an ETA on fixing).

What, melodramatic, moi?

Where do you get your recs?

So, if you are like me, your To-Be-Read pile has a distressing habit of growing faster than your Read pile shrinks. Being an organized sort (HAHAHAHAHAHA I laugh bitterly), I kind of plan my reading sort of, but I also have a habit of just grabbing something that looks interesting even if I hadn't heard of it previously.

One of the worries authors have about the growing self-publishing phenomenon is that Amazon now has five billion books for sale that aren't clearly marked as "Self Published," often sitting alongside professionally-written and edited books published by real publishers. We've discussed self-published books before, but even if you are one of those people who will read them, presumably you like to have some indication as to which ones are worth your time. The fact that self-published authors are increasingly resorting to schemes whereby they all friend each other and write each other 5-star reviews makes it a lot harder to rely on Amazon reviews.

So what makes you decide to read a book? Do you just browse through bookstores and grab books with pretty covers? Do you read professional book reviews? Do you mostly look for favorite authors or the next in a series? Do you rely on Goodreads and other social media sites? Do all your recs come from bookish? Do you follow a few reviewers whose tastes you trust?

I mostly follow a variety of book bloggers and Goodreads reviewers. I have bought more than one book on an impulse to read it immediately after the author did a good job of pimping it on John Scalzi's The Big Idea. And there are authors whose backlists I am slowly working through. I can't think of any individual who consistently likes what I like and dislikes what I dislike, but there are reviewers who do a good job of describing why they like or dislike something, such that I am motivated to read something (or not) based on their description.

So, here's a chance to promote your favorite book blogger or community to find the next good read. (This is not for promoting your own book blog, though; if your reviews are made of win, then someone else ought to say so.)

ETA: Screw it, poll code is borked and with coffee shop wireless, I don't have the patience to edit and fix. So just comment, yo.

How do you choose new books to read? Check all that apply.
Random browsing in a bookstore.
I look for new books from a favorite author or series.
I go trawling for books of a particular type that I am in a mood to read.
Professional book reviews.
Browsing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.
Recs from friends, favorite book bloggers.
Book clubs.

Previous Saturday Book Discussions.



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 22nd, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
- a show or a recent/soon-to-come movie shows/mentions/is-about it
- I have developed an interest on the subject around the time I have the time to start reading a new one
- it's thin/sparsely texted enough to read fast (esp. as a challenge-list filler) and has more text than pictures (important with challenges)
- I see it and I get an overwhelming URGE to start reading it

And where the recs and reviews that I notice come from: Amazon and here, really.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
I think you fiction readers have more trouble with this than non-fiction readers. I mean, I've never been in the middle of a book about animal husbandry practices and suddenly had a Xanth-like discovery of someone raping a baby cow. And it wouldn't particularly bother me if I happened to pick up someone's self-published book on goat-raising, because if they're bothering to put out a book about raising goats, then they probably know more than I do on the subject, and that's all that really matters.

So anyway, I have a number of interests (childcare, atheism, the Mongols, food, science, etc.,) and I have a big list on Amazon (like 300 titles) of works which fall into these categories. Generally I just search for books which fall into these categories, read the summaries and reviews, and then pick a bunch of the best ones. Then when I feel like something from that subject, I see what from my list I can find at the local library.

If I like that book, I check out the author's list of recommended books, their bibliography, etc., and add those to my list. If I really loved a book, then I will take that author's recommendations seriously. Or if the book inspires interest in a new subject, (say, modern hunter-gathering in the Pacific Northwest and the Native culture and history of the area) I'll start looking for books on that.

I also like to keep my eyes open for just random books, because you never know when you might find a gem that's totally outside your normal reading circles or that you've never heard of. Have found some great works that way. And I do listen to recommendations from friends and family and interest-related online communities, though I've learned to be careful with that because I find that the books that 75% of my parenting community, say, really loved, I find too light and fluffy, while the books I loved, people describe as too dry and intellectual. Just a difference in preferences.

Anyway, the majority of the books on my TBR list aren't actually there because I intend to read them, but because they are (as far as I can tell) basically equivalent, and if I can't find one at the library, I can probably find another, so it's convenient to have them all on the list together. Every now and then I go through and purge a subject because I've either read a lot on it recently and aren't really interested in the remaining books (diminishing returns, yo,) or my interests have just changed and they're no longer priority.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
--Random browsing in a bookstore.
--I look for new books from a favorite author or series.
--I go trawling for books of a particular type that I am in a mood to read.

and sometimes i find stuff here on bookish.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
I get most of what I read from the library. Ours has an online feature that lists all the new books that have arrived or are on order, and it also has a thing where readers can make lists, so if I like a book, I check and see what else other people who like it have recommended.

I tend to have 50 books at a time from the library, and inevitably I have to return a lot of them before I have the chance to read them. I'll add those ones to my list, but I always have more that I'm ordering, so I never seem to have a chance to go back and get the ones I missed.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
I browse bookshelves, the library, and Goodreads. But the books I tend to like best are the ones that a friend recommended to me after hammering out all my literary kinks and turnoffs, and considered what they'd read that fit the bill. Also, sometimes my favorite authors will list books they've really liked, or that influenced their writing, and I'll often find myself in agreement.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
I find my books at the library, and from browsing bookstores. And series. And at school. Like, you-have-to-read-this type of a book.

Speaking of, it's school that ussually makes my to-read list grow. And I'm not just talking about required reads; I'm talking about homework. There's so much it that it makes reading few and far in between.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 23rd, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
That actually looks like a pretty interesting book. And I'll bet a lot of horror writers would find it interesting. (Just the cover makes me think of the movie Session 9.)
Oct. 22nd, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
I look for reviews on book blogs and such. Sometimes I read Amazon, but I look for well-written reviews that touch on certain things like continuity, characterisation, and pace. I don't pay any mind to "OMG THIS BOOK WAS AWESOMEEEE LIKE SO GOOD OMG EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT" reviews.

Sometimes I look for top 10 lists (top 10 best in a genre, best new authors, hottest books right now, etc.). After that, if a book sounds intriguing, I'll look for reviews. That works whether I am looking for a book (any book) to pique my interest or looking for a book in a particular genre.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
I prefer random browsing, whether in a bookstore, the library, or just the metric ton of books my parents accumulated. (Mostly sf/f from the 60s-80s.)

Otherwise, I look for references to books that catch my interest, skim through online bargain books, or buy new books by a few authors who are still on my auto-buy list.

I don't generally look at reviews, except for bargain books. For those I generally get the overall picture from Amazon's breakdown of the number of reviews by star, then skip to the 1-3 star reviews if I still want more info. I'd rather buy a book despite it's problems, than be surprised by them.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
I've gotten several books from reviews here. Some from random library and bookstore browsing.

But mostly, I look for books of a type I want to read through Amazon's "Recommended based on your browsing history" and "Books related to items you've viewed". Which I build largely from the "customers who bought this also bought..." I heavily edit my browsing history to remove books that I didn't like/aren't interested in. I don't buy them all on Amazon, I mostly just use the features to get the titles.

Many books in my TBR pile come from used book sales, scratch and dent sales and books I got that were in a series I was reading, but I've stalled on and need to brush up on previous books to continue.
Oct. 23rd, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Lately I've been using my book related sites on my rss reader as a way to pick out books I'd be interested in. I have also gotten a few recommendations from here and a couple other LJ book sites (ontd_literature. Basically anywhere. I also use Goodreads somewhat. Basically anywhere I see a good recommendation/review for a book use it. I keep a list of the books I want to read when I can go and hit the used bookstores in my area. I also like to browse the bookstores and pick out random books I'd be interested in.
Oct. 23rd, 2011 02:43 am (UTC)

My to-be-read list is HUGE. I could go for at least five years on what's on it right now.

How I add new stuff:

1. When I find that I respect and admire someone, I usually ask them about their favorite book. I find more new and quirky stuff that way.

2. There are lists out there. "The Great Books." The 1001 books on Inverarity's 1001 project. That list of 100 from the BBC that keeps popping up on blogs (you've seen it; the one that has Tolkein twice and both Romeo and Juliet and "The Complete Shakespeare". Yeah, that one).

3. I go to conventions with a lot of writers. I meet writers. I start reading their stuff.

4. I read something good by someone, I tend to add more of their books to my list.

5. People post about individual titles on forums like this. I read John Green's books because they got so many reviews here, and Stieg Larsson's trilogy, and I have The Hunger Games on waitlist at the library, never mind that I'm a bit old for the target market, I want to know what all the fuss is about.
Oct. 23rd, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
My TBR pile is currently: 31 books. The only books that I put on my TBR list are books I already own and need to read. Now my wish list, I'd rather not even talk about LOL it's huge. Sometimes I do plan out my books in the order I am going to read them but not a lot. It just depends on if a new books that I MUST read the first day is coming out and I have to plan around it or things like that.

As for how I pick the books I am going to read, there a lot of different ways.

-I use goodreads and sometimes I just browse. If the rating is decent and the book sounds awesome, I will plan on reading it.

-I know some friends (on LJ and IRL) that have similar tastes in books as I do. So if they love a book, I try to give it a fair chance as long as it is something I'd be interested in.

-bookish is great for both books that I already plan on reading and for learning about new titles and books I've never heard of.

-I have a Kindle that I don't use that often but my mom and I share an account so we can both read whatever e-books we buy. (Same as sharing 1 book)

-I spend hours in a bookstore. Enough Said. If the book catches my eye, I will read the blurb and first page.

-Any authors/series I already love.
Oct. 23rd, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC)
Would comment but your comment about "tech school wash outs" is really offensive. My boyfriend is a tech and customers are always blaming him for things that aren't his fault. It's fine to dislike the company as a whole, but please have some consideration for the techs. Often their hands are tied. I know he's had people scream in his face before that he was lazy or stupid when they don't understand the problem or because he has certain Comcast procedures that he has to follow.

Oct. 23rd, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
In my experience, the techs who actually come to your house to fix things usually know what they're doing. The ones who answer the phone, not so much.
Oct. 23rd, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
Gotcha. He is one of the ones who go to houses. I know he had to do a month of training, but for the phone people I imagine it's less.
Oct. 23rd, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
My to-read list on Goodreads is huge. I discover a lot of books on there, whether from those on my friend's list, or by looking at the lists people created. I also have a book blog on Tumblr and have several friends on there who I talk to about books. I tend to get a lot of suggestions from them as well. I would recommend these Tumblr users because they post good reviews: prettybooks, thelibraryofminds and bookling.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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