“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ” – C.S. Lewis
I love to read, but I failed at the endeavor wholeheartedly last year. Well, I did read a phenomenal number of children’s books and helped gain my daughter entry into the library system’s “Breakfast of Champions” to celebrate enthusiastic young readers. But I can’t remember a single tome that I read last year for myself.
I was stuck on non-fiction, and well, those books don’t tend to stick with me. I harvest tips and ideas from reference books and guides and then return them to the library like a cast off lover. So I knew that getting back on the literary horse would mean finding a good work of fiction. Where do I turn for ideas on my next read?
- My Library. Public library systems range, but I happen to be nestled well into an amazing one. The website offers a “Next Five Reads” feature where a librarian will assess your book desires and reply via email with five suggested titles. Nothing beats the personal relationships that I have with my local library staff. They are keen to make engaging book displays, and our small chat always includes a book or movie recommendation. They are purveyors of media, and I will gladly sample their wares.
- Social Media. I’m always interested in what my friends are reading, and I will lurk on their posts asking for book suggestions to open the range of suggestions.
- Article apps. Think Zite or Flipboard. When I load up a list of my top interests, the articles by or about new authors come to me.
- Websites. What Should I Read Next? Goodreads. Shelfari. Whichbook. LibraryThing.
- Spontaneous Finds. A free book shelf. A loaner from a friend. The book next to the one that you were searching out at a bookstore or library.
I found a list of top Seattle authors through the library website and put several on hold. The first to arrive was “Joy For Beginners” by Erica Bauermeister. I read it in two sittings; her writing is clean, descriptive, but not flowery. It was the perfect read to engage me again in the simple art of reading. Now I have “How To Travel The World for Free” by Michael Wigge (grabbed from a library display of new titles); “Waiting To Be Heard” by Amanda Knox (from a librarian friend’s Best Of 2013 list); “Mom & Me & Mom” by Maya Angelou (another new book at the library); and “Kindred” by Octavia Butler (from a shared bookshelf with my neighbors.) Now excuse me while I get back to reading…
What was the last great book you read? When did you last read to someone else?