Q: “Can you recommend a good book to read?”

January 6th, 2013 by cathay

Q: “I’d like to find something new to read.  Can you help?  I have been kind of stuck in a rut with romance novels for light, pleasure reading, but I want to try something else.  Where do I start looking?”

The new year is a great time to embrace new ideas and explore different places that good writing can take us.  There are many amazing stories that can capture our attention and lead us into seeing the world and everything around us in ways we never thought of.  Everyone’s taste is unique, though, and librarians can help you define what it is that may spark your interest beyond what you have normally been drawn to, now that you are ready to explore something new.

To know more about good matches for what you might like, we ask questions about what you have been reading and the specifics — what it is about the stories that you like:   the characters?  the settings?  the way the author unfolds the story?  We may ask what kinds of movies or television shows you’ve enjoyed and those that interest you today.  Maybe we’ll ask about what it is that interests you in life – do you have a hobby, enjoy mysteries, like light reading or something with a message?  Do you like to learn something about the world around us, or are you sparked by a purely made up story, maybe with dragons and elves or beings from another planet?  There are so many options, we want to gain enough clues about what direction you’d like to take as you expand into a new literary realm so as to target some exciting ideas.

Once you have a general idea, you can break this into genres:  action-adventure, crime, fantasy, Western, mystery, and so on.  Within each of these you can find tons of books, so the next step is to consider the setting and style of writing (modern, classic?), and other details.

A common way to find good books to read is through bestseller lists, award-winners, and recommendations from others.  The following list some resources for each:

  1. Bestseller lists

The Delaware Library Catalog features popular and bestselling fiction.  The default view is the New York Times paperback and hardback popular fiction.  You have other options too, such as popular non-fiction and new books, and children’s books are featured as well.  If you click on the book cover image, you are brought to the item within the catalog so that you can learn more about it, and if desired, place a hold (a request for it).

Also provided by the Delaware Division of Libraries is a list of reading recommendations on the Genre LibGuide.  This offers a vast treasure of options and ideas, and because it is provided by Delaware Libraries, the titles are directly linked to the catalog for easy access.

2.  Award winners

There are many well-crafted stories and recognition for these is often specialized by type.  For example, award-winners for mystery books (Poe Award) and for science fiction (Arthur C. Clarke, Nebula, Asimov, and Hugo Awards) are some offered every year.  The National Book Foundation offers another recognized award for well-deserved fiction.

3.  Reading recommendations

Generally speaking, recommendations from librarians, family and friends are wonderfully prolific and fruitful.  We can start with The Readers Advisory Link Farm – a directory of links to reviews, bookstores, and lists.  Pinterest is another way to share book recommendations and lists for adult fiction.  Another online social place is Goodreads, which is well-loved by many librarians and readers who share their own suggestions.

I hope this helps you with ideas for exceptional books for the coming year.  Please feel free to ask a librarian anytime you want to find a good book to enjoy, whether it’s a print book, an audio version, or ebooks.  We’re glad to help and love treasure hunting for books and information anytime!  You can visit us in person or log on to chat (Ask a Librarian Delaware).  We truly appreciate your service!

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