Sunday, November 3, 2013

Finding reading material

So you like to read. But there are a few bazillion books from which to choose! How do you find the right one? Here are a few ways I have used to find some of the books I've loved:

Keep a log of books referenced in books that you have already loved. These might be as formal as footnotes, or they might just be casual mentions. But if an author of a book you love has a book that he in turn appreciates, that is worth something.

Create a mission statement for your reading. With a given purpose, evaluating each potential book becomes easier. This could be a topic to focus on for a month, or maybe a task you have in mind that you'll do with the information you're reading. (I'm biased toward non-fiction, but fiction could certainly be chosen in a similar way, with a more human-oriented problem statement.)

Find others with similar tastes and ask them. This could be through a physical medium, like a book club, or in a venue you frequent anyway, like work or church.  Alternatively, an online community can be a stand-in. This is a good mechanism for broadening your horizons, where the others here are generality better for specializing or narrowing down the field.

Last but not least, you can just peruse the shelves at the local library and go judge some books by their covers!