Sunday, November 18, 2012

How to Find Good Books

While it's fantastic that we have so many books so readily available to us from so many different sources, sometimes this can lead to a problem of just too much choice.  So today I'm going to try to give some advice on how to (hopefully) pick out the best books.  I'll try to avoid the really obvious suggestions of recommendations from friends, family, etc.

Read the middle pages

If a book doesn't seem like it's going anywhere or doing anything by the middle, then what are the chances that it will suddenly decide to pick up in the home stretch?  And, are you really going to want to read through to the end to find out whether it does?

Judge a book by it's cover

It's a really bad idea for life in general, but it can be applied really well to books.  A lot of time and energy goes into designing every cover, because publishers recognize that often people will be skimming though dozens of books, and they want theirs to stand out. 

One thing that I think should set off some pretty massive warning bells is when the name of the writer is written in bigger font then the title (I am looking at you, Nicholas Sparks).  What are they selling, the book or the writer?

Use the internet

There are probably hundreds of different websites dedicated to books and book recommendations, such as Goodreads and Stumbleupon, not to mention too many blogs to count.

Classic literature

The famous ones have survived the ages, so the majority of them are really good. Plus, they're available for free on the internet, so what's not to like?

Be open-minded

There are too many people in this world who will say "But I don't read sci-fi/romance/fiction".  There are very few genres that are inherently bad,  and almost every genre will have something that will appeal to a wider audience, not just hard-core fans.  Don't close yourself off to good books just because they have been put in the same category as books that you don't normally read.

Do you have any advice on finding good books?