How to Find the Perfect Book for You

What do you do when you can’t find books you like? The struggle is real. Millions of books are available at our fingertips. How do we manage the avalanche to choose the right books for us?

Fortunately, along with the avalanche comes new ways to find the best books.

What’s the step by step process to find the perfect book for you?

Start with your childhood favorites

Pinpoint why you want to read

Find your favorite genre

Put the internet to work for you

Use best seller lists judiciously

Start with your Childhood Favorites

First of all, consider some rereads. The very best children’s literature delights all ages, often in a different, more nuanced way for adults. 

Identify the appeal. What do you love about those favorites? Escaping into a story? Vicarious emotional release? The compelling curiosity to know what happens next? The thrill of learning new things? 

It’s easier to find it if you know what you’re looking for. 

The next step is to look for read alikes of your childhood favorites. You could actually read children’s literature— as a read aloud to the kids in your life— or by yourself. A well written middle grade or YA book is the perfect antidote for stressful times. Simple, straightforward plots and a manageable number of characters are easy for the stressed brain to keep up with. 

If you want books written for adults, look for the adult counterparts of your childhood favorites.  Do an internet search of Books Like Anne of Green Gables for Adults

Pinpoint why you want to read

This will help you narrow down the options. 

Are you looking for information or entertainment?

As a general rule, reading for information means sticking with non-fiction genres. Reading for entertainment usually means fiction. 

Find your favorite genre

I wrote a whole article about it.

How to find your perfect book genre

In short, you want to identify the characteristics that you’re looking for and match them up with the genre that has them.

Put the internet to work for you

Start a GoodReads account

GoodReads is owned by Amazon, but it has developed a life of it’s own. 

Set up your own account.  Now you can see what your friends and your favorite authors are reading.  You can see what’s popular and which books are getting good reviews.  You can keep up with new releases in your favorite genre. 

Next you can create a To Be Read list.  You can post your own reviews, start a list that others can vote on or add to and find quotes from your favorite authors. 

GoodReads is a great place to go to find Beach Reads, Chick Lit, Clean and Wholesome Romance, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fantasy— every kind of book you can think of. 

Connect with other readers.  Connect with authors.  Find Book Club Picks.  GoodReads is a good place to go.  

Join a Facebook Group with readers of similar interests

Now that you know your favorite genre, search facebook for groups reading in that genre.

Not only can they tip you off to new authors and new titles, you can find book reviews, content and trigger warning and the best ways to connect to living authors.

Follow #bookstagrammers on Instagram

If you have an instagram account, start with the hashtag #bookstagram.  It will fill your newsfeed with books.  Soon you’ll find bookstagrammers with similar tastes to yours. 

When you find a bookish twin, it will be easy to find book recommendations that fit your tastes to a tee. If they send out email updates, sign up!

More specifically, look for hashtags of your favorite genre to narrow down the field.

Follow your favorite authors and see who they like to read

There’s so many great ways to connect to your favorite living authors these days!  Do a little research to see if they are on twitter, facebook or instagram.  Find their website.  Sign up for their email updates.  

There’s no longer a castle wall and a moat around your favorite living author.  Your messages will get through. 

See if they clue their fans into their favorite books and authors.  Writers are almost always voracious readers.  If you like what they write, you’re likely to like what they read. 

Try a book search site

There’s some interesting new ones available now. 

Check out

On that site you can choose up to 4 sliding scales of what you’re looking for in a book. Among the characteristics you can find are Happy-Sad, Sex-No Sex, Gentle-Violent, Short-Long.  

This is a different approach to finding books. They are not classified by genre but by the reader experience.

What Should I Read Next? also allows you to input your preferences to find the right books for you.

Do you like twisty plots?  relatable characters?  satisfying endings?  well-crafted prose?  traditional values? See what comes up. 

What we’re looking for in a book is different from everyone else.  So, we don’t have to get the same answers as everyone else.  

Use best seller lists judiciously

The bottom line is, there’s a lot better books for you than the ones on the best seller lists. Those books typically continue to sell because they have a platform and people take notice.  But, that leaves hundreds, thousands and maybe even millions of great books unnoticed, in the shadows because they didn’t hit a bestseller list. 

Even though the New York Times Bestseller List has been the gold standard, the grand daddy of the lists, the wagon to hitch your star to, it is not reliable.

Tim Grahl explains the truth about best seller lists. In short, the list is manipulated and doesn’t accurately represent which books are selling the most copies.  

For one thing, it matters how many books are selling in general that week.  Some weeks there’s not much competition, other weeks it’s very stiff.  

The New York Times gets it’s reports from select bookstores which might not represent sales across the board.  They also admit to tweaking the list, and their bias against certain books shows, notably politically conservative books.  

I think this is significant.  Check out my post 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Bestsellers. 

Understanding those drawbacks, you can still the lists if you know what you’re looking for. An Amazon best seller list might serve you better because you can niche down to sub genres and sub, sub genres.

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