The best sites to help you find the perfect next book

First off, No, this is not a sponsored post. I am a huge reader and I work in a library so I know a thing or two about searching for good books. The thing about recommending books professionally, is that you don’t know much about the person you are recommending to, and they might just be interested in a genre that you literally have NO INTEREST IN. To be certain, very few come up asking for the next great erotica.

But you still have to help them.

Enter the “professional tools” of R.A.

Goodreads is likely the most well-known of the websites I recommend. I use it to track my reading and my TBR list and it is an infinitely valuable tool, in my opinion. But the sheer number of users on goodreads means that I can find “shelves” or “lists” on almost anything from Bratva Romance/Erotica to Animal Xenofiction. If you are looking for things related to a narrow topic or a specific genre, Goodreads, or adding “goodreads” to your google search is a great place to start.

Whichbook is an awesome website for discovering new authors when you are in a serious book slump or recommending to a person who isn’t sure what they want to read. It asks very different questions from the typical ones I think of. Whichbook has different approaches, but the main function looks like this:

You can click on a few of the options and drag the arrow along a sliding scale. Some of the categories seem a bit random, but I think this is because they are designed to not pigeon-hole you into certain genres. Asking a customer these questions are more likely to help them find a book containing the emotional experience they are seeking, which I love! I also really appreciate that Whichbook has a “funny scale” because this is one category that I find very difficult to make recommendations for in books, especially fiction.

Whichbook also has different approaches to help you narrow down choices based on plot, character or setting. For character, you can refine search results by specific character traits for the hero/heroine.

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Or you can choose a plot based on popular archetypes.

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Finally, Whichbook also lets you choose books based on geographical setting, which can be narrowed down by country, and includes a category for imagined settings. One of my favourite aspects of this tool is that it does not usually recommend bestsellers, so your top search results shouldn’t all be authors you’ve read before. Whichbook is currently designing a companion site for children’s books, and I am looking forward to being able to use this for RA at work!

Literature Map is the best tool I know for finding author readalikes. You can search nearly any author and it will create a word web type result. The author you search is in the centre of the map results and the authors who write books most similarly to them will be closest to your search query.

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In this example, I have highlighted my original search and circled the authors who I have already read and enjoyed. Now I have a bunch of new authors to read while I wait for the next few releases from my favourite authors!

I hope these tools help you all on your next great book hunt. Hopefully Autumn brings us all some fantastic books!

xx

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Goodreads TBR List

One of my New Years Resolutions goals this year was to bring my Goodreads TBR list down to below 90 items. At the time, my list was hovering somewhere between 100 and 110 items which stressed me out! I put those books on my list for a reason, and I don’t want to leave them there forever, I want to read them.

I seem to be reading an average of about 45 books per year. I knew that over the course of 2015 I would A) find more books to read or add to the list as the year went on and B) knew I had multiple books coming out from “automatic buy authors” aka my fave authors from whom I buy every work that would be released and read this year but did not yet have goodreads pages and therefore those books weren’t on my official TBR list so my count of want to read books was actually higher than reflected online. Reducing the list to below 90 seemed like a reasonable task for 2015 without making reading a chore. I was aiming to get that list down to below 25 books eventually, and only have books that were not yet released on there.

My plan is not working.

My to-read list is currently 112 items, which I think is 4 more than when I made that resolution (my memory could be slightly faulty). So even though I have been reading books like crazy this year, apparently I’m still adding at a faster rate.

Ahhh! *tearing hair out*

Anyone have suggestions? My thought is to put tape over my eyes so I can’t see more new books that I want to read. Possibly an impractical idea though.

I have just moved five books that have been languishing on my want-to-read list for over a year onto my audible account, so at least I know that I will be making my way through those soon. Watch this blog for reviews of: Still Alice (Genova), Dark Places (Flynn), The Light Between Oceans (Stedman), A Feast for Crows (Martin), and A Dance with Dragons (Martin) in the coming months.

15 or so books that are currently on my TBR list are not yet released, so I can forgive myself those. But that still puts me 97 books behind. It’s like my eyes are too big for my … stomach? brain? Okay, not the best analogy but it is the one that keeps coming to mind. Anyone else have a better one?
The struggle is real people!
xx

Goodreads Challenge

Hey, I’m ahead on my goodreads challenge! Yay me!

If you don’t know what goodreads is, jump to the end of this post where I explain it.

For ya’ll others, I’m sure you know the personal reading challenge that goodreads encourages its members to pledge to each January.  I really like it because it helps me to keep track of my reading and gives me a bit of a push.  I get stuck in ruts easily because I like sticking to what I know. When it comes to entertainment, I prefer to re-read my favourites to death rather than taking a chance on someone new. But re-reads don’t count so this is a great way to realize how many new books I have actually read compared to my perception of the actual amount.

I have this strange tendency to not read many new authors in the winter and spring.  The last two years I participated, and both years I ended up being something like 10 books behind pace by June/July, so I had to really hustle during the summer and fall months to complete the challenge by December. It could be because I tend to read thicker, longer books in the winter, epic tomes like Game of Thrones and non-fiction, and thus compensate by re-reading favourite romances to balance out the reading, which means I don’t make much headway into the challenge.  Who knows? I’m not exactly contracting out a study on my reading habits here.

But this year, I am three books ahead of pace, and having been for about the last month! I must have really read this winter!  So far I have read 18/50 books on the challenge.

If you are participating, maybe this is a good reason to check in and see how you are doing, or to set a goal for the remainder of the year if you haven’t done so before. Good luck everyone!

* This is not a sponsored post.

xx

P.S. Confused?

Goodreads.com is a website that has pretty much every book ever published listed on it, and if it is missing the one you are looking for, well you can add it yourself! When you make an account, you start adding books to one of three virtual shelves, “currently reading”, “read”, or “want to read”. You can rate books and/or leave a review. It is great for keeping track of series or authors, or books not yet published that you want to read.  They also have this neat function called lists, where regular users will tag books to a list based on sub-genres, plot lines, etc which helps you to find a new book that you are interested in. Check it out

Doin’ that reading thang

Do you ever feel pressure when you’re reading?

I do.  A lot.  As in, it’s a problem.

I feel completely stressed out when I take too long to read a book, or I’m not just knocking those guys down.  Probably because I know I could never read all the books I want to, even if I lived to be one hundred and eleventy. But still, not a great idea to turn one of life’s greatest gifts into a task on the mental checklist.

One of the New Year resolutions I set in 2015 was to bring my TBR shelf on Goodreads from about 90, down to under 50.  At the time, that seemed like a reasonable goal for the year, given that I knew I would read more books that weren’t on the shelf, especially new releases that didn’t have pages yet.  But I think I’ve only knocked one off of it and we’ve already reached mid-March!

Part of the problem is that I naturally read thick, heavy books in winter (I have no idea why, it just happens).  For example, right now I am working on a few text books because I went back to school for a semester to finish an old degree.

Then I’m also working on the third Game of Thrones audiobook, which has 82 chapters and is 48ish hours long! Craaaa-zy.  I’m trying to finish it before the next tv season starts up in April, and I’m confident I’ll make it but it leaves no time for anything else.

Luckily, I’m in a position where I can take a bit of a break from school for the next two weeks, so I just ordered the first book in a series called Suddenly Royal, from Interlibrary Loan.  It will be a great change from the heavy books I have been into this year and should be a quick way to knock a book off my TBR list, while adding one to my Goodreads challenge.  I swear I am dedicated to my goals, but I think the challenge is a little skewed when it gives you the same credit for a 48 page novella as it does for a 1300 page tome.

When Suddenly Royal arrives, I’ll be sure to leave a review.  Check back soon if you’re in the mood to hear about a little YA chick lit.

xx