Friday Fun — How do you find new books to read?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

This week’s question is part of a series based on 100th episode (“Ask The Readers Anything” ) of the UK-based podcast, The Readers. We thought it would be interesting (and fun!) to answer these questions from the perspective of writers who also (obviously) love to read. 

QUESTION: We find new books to read in all kinds of place and via all kinds of winding paths. Sometimes, the best books turn up in our lives in the most unexpected ways. How do you find new books – recommendations from friends or family, reviews, podcasts, publishers, serendipitous happenstance?

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson: I’d say that I get the majority of my books from publishers and authors seeking a review. The past few years I’ve limited (or tried to) my spending on books simply because I have so many book cases of books To Be Read already! Sometimes a book cover or title will catch my eye, though, or a book featured in one of my interviews with an author sounds so delightful that I just have to get it. I do have a couple hundred books downloaded to my Kindle that I’ve yet to read, too. So many books, so little time!

headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: I see books everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I can’t help it. I find new books even when I’m not trying. Maybe especially when I’m not trying. I read a lot of blogs about writing, and many of them frequently feature books by the writers on the blog. I listen to literary podcasts that review and critique books, I flip through that free Book Pages flyer at the local library, I browse bookstores (I particularly like the staff picks shelves of indie booksellers). I cruise goodreads. I attend book sales, ask friends what they’re read lately, and look over the shoulders of people reading in the local coffee shop. I linger over the ads for new books in Poets & Writers and Writer’s Digest. I pay attention when the authors I admire talk about the books they are taking to bed. In other words, I am 100% open on all channels to hear about new books. Go ahead, breaker, I’m all ears.

hennrikus-web2 Julie Hennrikus: I find out about books several ways. First, in my mystery writing community, I have a lot of author friends. I try to support them if possible. And in my mystery reading world, I have a few authors and series I read. I always go the the “staff recommendations” sections of libraries and bookstores as well. And then if I hear or see an author interview, I will take note of the author. One idea I have started to use–when I hear of a book I want to remember, I download a sample on my Kindle. It becomes my to be read pile.

wendy-shotWendy Thomas: Like many of the other writers here, I live for books and as a result I have far too many. Does this stop me from buying more? Nope. I like ideas and books encompass new ideas. If someone recommends a book, like Jamie does in her Saturday posts, I’ll check it out. If I listen to a show that references a book on a topic I’m interested in, I pull out my amazon One Click (which is glorious and dangerous option) and it’s on its way. When friends write books, I get copies. When I read a review in a magazine that sounds particularly good, I’m there.Basically, if I catch some excitement about a book, I check it out.

I don’t do drugs, but I definitely do books – they are my fix in life.

12 thoughts on “Friday Fun — How do you find new books to read?

  1. I also access several sources.

    I have joined the social networking site Goodreads ( After entering many of the books I’ve read and rated them as honestly and accurately as I could, there is a section that “recommends” books to read. Also, other readers critique the books. I am a bit careful about reading critiques though because some critics forget to note “spoilers”.

    Also, offers the same information and services, but there are also “lists” to look at. What you do is search lists with your favorite book titles or authors. The lists often include favorite books. I sometimes read fantasy, so I look at readers who include my favorite books in their “top-#” (top-20, top-100) lists. It might happen that their list includes many of my favorite books. However, I do find a few books that I have not read. Some of the lists are not strict genre lists. The lists might be “books that changed my life” or “books that changed the way I see things”. The list creators/curators often offer a brief explanation about their choices or tell some kind of anecdote, so I get a sense of what I may be in for. Also, I can check their blurbs about the chosen titles usually included in the “top-#” lists.

    Another source for new book recommendations is LinkedIn. I interact with various connections and with commentators belonging to different “groups”. Sometimes, discussions center around an article or a suggestion or a question, but the responses include books that responses cite. I add these books to my “books to read” file.

    I still have books on my bookshelves and in boxes that I still haven’t read.

  2. I am a fairly new author, dabbled with a couple of short stories, which I have taken down to re-edit, but I released my first novel last year (which will have a sequel). I took a lot of time and effort (and spent a lot of money) to get it copy edited, content edited, proof read, beta read and published. My novel is Dead of July. Would anyone be willing to give me a review if I mailed a copy to you, or gifted it on Amazon? Thanks.

  3. When I am on the bus or subway, I try to subtly see what other people are reading. Of course sometimes I am not so subtle, but that often leads to a conversation…which leads to book recommendations.

  4. Wow, that’s a lot of ways to get new books! Thanks for the post! For me, it’s the usual ways: library, bookstore, giveaways. 😀 I too have shelves dedicated to the TBRs, sadly other books (and of course, Life) gets in the way.

  5. I’ll read the cereal boxes if I don’t have a book handy! Like all of you I keep myself surrounded by books in hardback, paperback, or ebook format. I find a lot of books for sale at our local library which sells donated books, and they usually have a great selection. Amazon one click is my downfall and I also load a sample of books I don’t want to forget to find. I’m not sure if anyone else has this weakness, but if I love a book that is part of a series, I have to read them all right away. Sandra, I’ll look for your book and be sure to review it.

  6. That is a very interesting question!
    Just realized that most of my readings of late have been sourced out of recommendations from within the other books I have read or from articles about different personalities – newspaper / magazines / online etc. I am also contemplating penning some of my thoughts for a book, so reading a bit from that genre.

  7. I usually get recommendations for new books by browsing the amazon library or through articles in the newspaper. But I found an earlier comment here very interesting! Try to observe what other people are reading in a bus or train. I like doing that by notice that with e-readers and tablets it is becoming increasingly difficult to do!

  8. We can see many book title around every day, every hour, at anywhere.
    I usually focus on some books which were recommenced by another who already read it and understand clearly what we will got from reading the book.
    It’s important to know why they read a book and read it with yourself feel.

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