I know that we all have a to-read list that’s way too long, and if you’re like me, piles of books sitting around that you haven’t yet read – piles that never seem to shrink. But sometimes, all of us, even me with my huge piles of books and daily access to a library, don’t know what to read next. Maybe we’re bored by the same old authors and genres, or maybe we love them and want to find more like them. Could just be that we’re in the mood for some science fiction or romance or a biography or a mystery and don’t know where to start. Luckily, there are tons of great free resources out there for bookworms. I know that I won’t possibly list everything useful that’s out there, so please feel free to share your favorites!
- Your Local Librarian! They deal with books every day – the read reviews, order books, read books themselves, and know what other patrons read and like. Ask them for help! They will surely have some recommendations.
- Novelist – If your library has a subscription to this online database, use it! Unfortunately, our library system had to discontinue our subscription due to the cost and underuse, but I think it’s a really fantastic tool for readers.
- GoodReads – A place where you can keep track of what you read, read and write reviews, and get recommendations from other readers. You can follow other readers, and they can follow what you read. You can follow me there! https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/17550974-watchingthewords
- Shelfari – Another place where you can keep track of your reading, read reviews, and share recommendations. This is where I keep track of everything I read, even if I never review it. I just like their interface better than others. You can follow me here too! http://www.shelfari.com/watchingthewords
- LibraryThing – And yet another site that does many of the same things as Shelfari and Good Reads. Unfortunately, I no longer keep an active account on their site since I found the interface to be a bit too clunky for my tastes, but there is tons of information available on this site.
- The Reader’s Advisor Online – Search based on your reading preferences for a selection of applicable titles. Clicking on one of the titles will give you a brief description of the book. The ability to refine your search is really nice on this site and can give you very specific recommendations.
- Book Reporter – A site with tons of reviews and information about upcoming releases. They also have contests and we all need to win more books! 😉
- BookPage – You may have seen this magazine in your local public library, but their website has even more reviews, interviews, and contests! You can also sign up for emails.
- Overbooked – Lists of starred reviews as well as “if you like…” lists by author, genre, themes, literary devices and more!
- What’s Next – This site gives users a simple interface for finding the in-order list of books by an author or in a series.
- All Readers – The search possibilities on this site are significant. You can narrow down your search to very specific books that you like or browse through lists by genre broad categories.
- YA Series – A site for getting a list of the books in a young adult series, in order.
- Fantastic Fiction – A site for getting the list of books published by any particular author and getting the ordered list of books in any specific series.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books. And who doesn’t love lists??
So this week the challenge is to list the books that we recommend the most. Each experience with a book is intensely personal, recommending a book is dangerous business. What you love may not be loved by others since every person’s experience with a book is distinct. You may not love the books that I love, but these are those that I love enough to recommend to others…
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – If I had to pick one book that has impacted me the most, which I found to be the greatest book I have ever read, this would be it. I believe that we are watching a classic be born and someday I will be telling my grandkids that I remember when it was a new release! If you have not read this book please do so, immediately.
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – A fantastic coming-of-age story about two boys (all they have in common is the name) who are figuring out who they are, how to be that person, and how to find acceptance. There are a ton of coming-of-age books out there, but I have never read one that tells the story so beautifully.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry – Can a utopian society really exist? What has to be given up? And is it worth the price? What if you decide it isn’t worth the cost? There are a lot of books out now that deal with dystopian societies, but this is definitely my favorite, dealing with the core questions artfully.
- The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny – I love the Inspector Gamache series and it only gets better with each book that is released. While there are a lot of mystery series that I enjoy, this series has a depth and beauty that I have not found elsewhere. The character development, history, settings, depth of interactions and emotions, make this my favorite to recommend for mystery lovers.
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick – An inspired work of art. The story is told through a combination of words and amazing illustrations and is done seamlessly. His second book, Wonderstruck, is just as wonderful and I recommend both of these books to children and adults alike.
- Whatever it Takes by Paul Tough – I am passionate about the importance of education, particularly literacy. This book about Geoffrey Canada’s work in starting The Harlem Children’s Zone is information and inspiring.
- Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – The story of Louis Zamperini’s life, from his delinquent childhood to the Berlin Olympics through harrowing experiences during World War II, is an amazing tale of perseverance and faith.
- The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – My favorite DiCamillo book and the book that I enjoyed reading to the kids the most. A new fairy tale – another one that I will tell my grandkids about someday!
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – Both humorous and heart-wrenching, the story of people as told from the point of view of a dog. Sounds a hokey but somehow it really does work, leaving you loving the soul of this amazing animal.
- Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh – I love the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk exiled from Vietnam. This book is a conversation between Jesus and Buddha, centered in compassion and the similarities that are at the core of both beliefs.