How to Choose What to Read Next!

By Portia Turner

With all of the amazing books out there, it can be stupidly hard to figure out what to read next.  As a bookseller, I have spent much time perfecting my technique.  So here is a step-by-step guide for how to choose what to read next:


1.     Decide what mood you are in.  Fiction?  Non-fiction?  Mystery?  History?  Fantasy?  YA?  Middle grade?  This can narrow down the options.

2.     Look at your bookshelf.  What’s there?  Look at each book and remember what interested you about each of them.  Make a list of top-contenders.

3.     Go online and look at book lists.  Check out The Millions.  Read “best of” lists from last year (and make sure to read multiple lists because everyone has different opinions).  Look at lists of the most anticipated books that are coming out this year.

4.     Add any of the books that look interesting from these lists to your TBR (to-be-read) list.

5.     Go to your local independent bookstore to see if the staff has recommended any of the books that you are considering reading.

6.     Talk to each staff member at the bookstore and get their recommendations.

7.     Look through each of the shelves to see if anything calls to you.

8.     If something looks really great, if you fall in love with a staff pick, or if the staff recommends something from your TBR list, buy the book.  Or buy many books.  It’s up to you.

9.     Take your new books home and put them on your floor.  Put the rest of the possible book options on the floor with your new books.

10. Look up reviews for each book.  Create a pro-con list of each.  Go to multiple websites and find the average of the star-ratings for each book.  Write this average as well as your pro-con list on a post-it and stick it to the cover of the book.

11. Compare these lists and numbers, taking into account how interested you are in each title.

12. Surround yourself by all of your options.  Place a bottle in the middle and spin it.  Evaluate your feelings about the book the bottle has selected.

13. Repeat step 12 many times to help yourself.

14. Take a break.  Eat a snack.  Popcorn is always a good choice.

15. Return to your floor covered in books.

16. Become insanely stressed out and start panicking.

17. Break down into tears and fall to your knees, surrounded by the books that are taunting you.

18. Pull off all of the post-it notes and start ripping them into tiny pieces.

19. Throw this new confetti into the air while screaming “Why god?  WHY?”

20. Take a nap.  Depending on how stressed out you are, this nap can take place on top of the books.

21. Wake up and randomly select a book from the floor.

22. Congratulations!  You have found your next read!

23. Repeat steps 1 through 22 when you complete the book.