How do you find new books to read? Do you read book reviews? As a librarian and known lover of books, I am often asked these questions. If you are interested in literary fiction or are looking for the season’s big new books by already famous authors, newspapers and magazines like The New York Times Book Review and The New York Review of Books are great. If your tastes extend beyond literary fiction, you’re looking for books by lesser known authors, or you are simply not in the mood to read a long book review, then you may want to try something else. Here are a few of my favorite book discovery tools:
Bookmarks (print magazine & website)
There are two things to love about Bookmarks. First, it reviews fiction and non-fiction, including mysteries, science fiction, young adult titles, biographies, and general history. Second, instead of lengthy reviews, Bookmarks provides a brief synopsis of each book and snippets of book reviews (good and bad) from major papers and magazines. It then summarizes all of those reviews in one or two paragraphs. On the magazine’s website you can also search for books by theme, genre, or era.
Mystery Scene (print magazine & website)
If you are at all interested in mysteries then check out Mystery Scene. Catch up with today’s bestselling authors, discover up-and-coming writers, and re-discover classics. In addition to books, Mystery Scene covers movies, TV shows, audio-books, children’s mysteries, short stories, and just about everything else related to the crime genre.
RT Book Reviews (print magazine & website)
RT Book Reviews covers romance, erotica, mystery, paranormal, young adult, inspirational, science fiction, and general fiction. The magazine now also covers independent authors (and provides resources for independent authors.
Bonus: RT Book Reviews hosts an annual convention for readers, bloggers, reviewers, booksellers and librarians. This year’s convention runs April 11th through April 17th, and will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. More information is available at: https://www.rtconvention.com/about-rtconvention-2016
Library Journal (print magazine & website)
As a librarian one of my go-tos for finding new books for my library and for myself is Library Journal. This magazine covers all genres and all formats, plus other media related to the world of books.
One of my favorite sections of the magazine is Pop Culture Advisory (under Readers’ Advisory on the website). Are you a fan of Veronica Mars or Broadchurch and looking for something to read or watch that is similar? Library Journal has some suggestions for you.
Whichbook (website/search engine)
Whichbook helps readers find books by providing a list of factors from and then allowing readers to adjust the degree of those factors. Examples of the factors include happy and sad, funny and serious, no sex and lots of sex, conventional and unusual. For each set of factors you can indicate where on the scale between for example, conventional and unusual, you prefer. Readers can also search by race, age, sexuality, gender, setting and type of plot.
For a quick book suggestion try Olementa. Its interface is the simplest you’ll find as it consist primarily of pictures of book covers. Click on a cover to get a short description of a book. The suggestions are not personalized and the categories are very broad (fiction, art, and biography, for example), but on the plus side it is a quick and simple way to find a new book.
What other magazines, websites, or other methods have you tried to find new books? Let me know in the comments.
Mocha Girl Tiffani
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