It seems like a simple question, but the process of selecting a book can make or break your reading experience.
Early on, there were many times where I selected a book simply because the cover looked intriguing. I learned the hard way to never judge a book by its cover.
Today I will be providing you with a step by step process of how to pick a book to read so that you will avoid making the same mistakes that I made.
Trust me, there is nothing more burdensome committing to reading an awful book simply because you’re too stubborn to admit you picked the wrong book.
The process of picking a book to read involves three main steps: form a possible list of books to read, research each individual novel from your list, and narrow down the prospective list using your prior research as a guide.
There are certain tools that can be utilized during this selection process to accelerate each step along the way. These helpful devices are explicitly outlined below for your benefit.
1.) Form a List of Possible Books to Read
When asking yourself how to pick a book to read, it can often be overwhelming knowing where to start with the vast array of novels out there today.
The very first step in selecting a book to read involves compiling a broad list of possible novels that interest you. If you have no idea of what sort of books would pique your interest, I advise employing some of the strategies listed below:
Search “Best Selling Books” Online
Using the internet is not a bad place to start compiling your list of possible novels. Often times, best selling books cater to a large audience and satisfy a variety of stipulations that people use to narrow down their book selection.
This tool is especially useful for readers that have yet to establish a reading habit and do not know what their preferred reading genre is.
Although this method provides a broad range of books that may not be geared toward your particular reading interests, it is a good place to kick off the book search.
Librarian or Bookseller Recommendations
Another method of going about finding the perfect novel is asking for the top recommendations of a librarian or bookseller. This can be especially helpful if they have the same reading taste as you.
Often times, librarians or booksellers can jumpstart a reading journey that you would have never thought to take on your own. For instance, I never believed I would ever find myself enjoying novels in the science fiction genre.
What turned everything around you may ask?
I took a trip to Barnes & Noble and conversed with one of the booksellers on some of his top reads ever.
He swayed me toward a science fiction thriller called Red Rising. He spoke of it as if it were one of the best novels he has ever read.
After doing a bit a research on my own, I finally gave the book a try… and I loved it! Ever since then, I have expanded my reading selection to include the science fiction genre and have never looked back.
Needless to say, librarians and booksellers are definitely a good source to reach out to when you are in a pinch.
Browse the Works of Renowned Authors
Opening up the consideration of your next book to include some of the best writers in the business is not a shabby idea by any stretch.
These authors have proven time and time again that they possess the rare skill to write masterpieces. Even if you are not a fan of their best selling works, you may be able to discover a diamond in the rough.
Every now and then it can take a reader a bit of time to warm up to an author before they can truly appreciate their work.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is another solid option to consider when picking out a novel.
If you have friends who read, do not be afraid to ask what their all time favorite reads are. They may mention novels that you haven’t even heard of before. Or they may just reinforce what you already researched for yourself.
Either way, consulting with your friends for reading advice is a viable option.
2.) Research Each Novel from Your List
Now that you have formulated your list of potential reads, it is time to do your due diligence and research.
Analyzing each individual novel from a multitude of angles provides you with all the information that you need to make your final book selection.
Where people have trouble with the research process is finding out where to start. Below, you will find an explicit list of details to look for when exploring which novel to read next.
Analyze the Back of Book Blurb
The back of book blurb is the short section found on the back cover that is written primarily for advertising purposes. An example of a back of book blurb is shown below:
A back of book blurb can give you valuable information on the gist of the story. It can also grant further insight into the personality of the main character and how this individual engages and interacts with the world.
This condensed, miniature passage is meant to sell you the plot and its characters. The back of book blurb should not be used as your sole resource of narrowing down your viable list of novels.
Nonetheless, when it is taken into consideration with a blend of other relevant research tools, it can be extremely helpful.
Read Through Non-Spoiler Book Reviews
Non-spoiler book reviews can conveniently be found on the Internet. These reviews are almost like an extended back of book blurb, except much more worthwhile.
Rather than merely presenting a two hundred word response on the gist of the story, non-spoiler reviews can afford a much more comprehensive analysis. Nearly every conceivable aspect of the novel can be scrutinized without divulging the story.
For example, non-spoiler reviews can explain the strengths and weaknesses of the plot, characterization, theme, pacing and length of the novel. Certain non-spoiler reviews may even administer a rating at the end.
These ratings can give you an idea of where the quality of a book lies relative to other stories. As you can probably imagine, this can be extremely beneficial in eliminating seemingly feasible novels and working your way towards the next read.
Goodreads is a website that contains a hub of diverse opinions on essentially any relevant novel that you could think of.
Here you can find customer reviews of your precise novel of interest that can help sway you in one direction or the other. When skimming through these reviews, be conscientious of the fact that some customer reviews may reveal some unwanted spoilers without warning.
Goodreads also offers a customer rating out of five stars on all the books found on the site. The most popular novels have thousands of customer ratings to their name. These appraisals are about as authentic as they come when it comes to separating the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
A major component to consider in this process is whether or not you prefer a book that will take you months to complete or just a couple of days.
People can be very meticulous about the allotted time they devote to their book. Some people want to enjoy the adventure for as long as they can. Others like to shuffle around and get a taste of as many novels as they are able to find.
Ultimately, it all comes down to preference.
There is a useful resource to discover the exact page length of your prospective novel called readinglength.com. This tool provides the exact page length of your novel as well as an estimate of the amount of time it will take to complete.
I highly recommend checking out this website to accelerate this chunk of the research process.
Marking down the reading genre is an important step in thoroughly scrutinizing the potential books on your list.
You may be craving a certain reading genre at the time you are looking to pick your next book.
Or it may be the exact opposite.
Maybe you are searching for an altogether new reading experience and looking to jump into unfamiliar territory to pull it off.
It is arduous to categorize a novel with a word or two. Regardless, this can be a constructive avenue into sorting your prospective list of novels into a spectra of topics that caters to your specific desires.
If you are purchasing your book, price is obviously an element to take into account.
Some books can be expensive, especially some of the high end “bestsellers” that lure people into reading in the first place.
When researching your possible list of books, be sure to mark down the prices. A five dollar book can be just as good as a thirty dollar book, if not better.
3.) Narrow Down the Prospective List
If you have done the research portion properly, you should have all the pertinent information laid out for you.
Following this hard earned research phase comes the fun part: finalizing your next read!
It is time to factor in all of these variables and come to a conclusion. How do you do this? Read down below!
Write a List of Pros and Cons
With all of the information you jotted down in the research phase, compose a list of pros and cons for each individual novel.
For example, if the price of a book is on the verge of busting your budget, place ‘price’ under the ‘cons’ section for that specific novel.
Say that the book is in the fantasy genre and you have been craving fantasy lately. Place ‘book genre’ in the ‘pros’ section.
An example of what the format of your pros and cons list should look like is provided below:
|back of book blurb was decent||a bit pricey|
|satisfactory reviews online||mystery genre not my fav|
|strong goodreads rating||too many pages|
Use Process of Elimination
Taking into account all the pros and cons of each individual book, begin crossing off novels that do not fit the bill. Eventually, you will be able to limit your choices down to a couple of options.
From there, you can conduct more research or make a judgement call to pick what book you will read next.
Do you have any alternative ways to pick a book to read?
I do have some alternative ways to pick a book to read, but I must admit they are not nearly as effective at giving me the “perfect” book. An alternative method you can use is a recommended novel generator.
All you have to do is plug in a book that you previously enjoyed and the generator does the rest of the work. Based on whichever novel you input, the generator provides a list of potential novels that may be to your liking.
How do I know when I have done enough research?
Once you feel as though you have enough information on a spectra of variables to formulate a thorough list of pros and cons, you have done enough research.
You do not have to use all of the variables I listed above, just enough to efficiently narrow down your possible book list to a single novel.
How to Pick a Book to Read: ANSWERED!
There you have it! I hope this answered your question of how to pick a book to read.
Do not hesitate to try out at least a few of the strategies listed in this article next time you are choosing your next read.
If you have any additional suggestions or questions you would like us to respond to, message me via the contact form!