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How do we find the books we read?

That's become a pretty serious question to me.
I know that my personal method is quite chaotic, and that I'm likely missing many titles that I just have to hope I encounter later.

I read quite a number of author's blogs, and so I often know months in advance when a new book of theirs is coming out. But that's still a tiny portion of the authors I might like to read.

I listen to my friend's post about what they're reading, and what they're looking forward to, and that helps a lot especially with the new authors.

I'm sad to say I haven't found the Amazon recommendations worthwhile at all. Besides the slightly annoying tendency for half the group to be books I already own (more than a few bought through Amazon, so you'd think they should know better), it's almost rare for one of the others to be something attractive. And all too often it looks like a title is only in there because they paid to be. I don't know if that's actually what happens or not, whatever the algorithm is it sin't finding good matches for what I might buy.

So let me ask the vast readership here: what sources do you use to choose your new reading material?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 22nd, 2013 04:29 am (UTC)
You of all people don't need reminding of the changes in dissemination of reading material, but for years now I have been asking "How do you find out about what you want to read?" without much response.I'm reduced to word of mouth, a little publisher news, and the occasional huckster table, although with the unicorns, sidearms the size of Volkswagons, and sparkly vampires, "do you have a science fiction section?" has worn thin.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 04:44 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm well aware of how reading material is now available in more forms than ever, from more sources than ever, and for less cost than ever.

What I'm not clear on these days is how folks deal with this abundance. Or, as is the case for most of us, ferreting out those few jewels in the acres of choices that now confront us.

Never before has the bookseller's function as a filter and guide been more needed, yet less able to be payed for as part of the transaction.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 04:51 am (UTC)
Like you, it's chaotic. However, I'm depending more on Goodreads for a lot of new things.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 05:20 am (UTC)
It is totally unreasonable of me, but ever since Amazon bought Goodreads I haven't been as willing as I was to post or to rely on recommendations from anyone I wasn't already friends with.

And now that my life may be taking a turn for the strange, and I may be doing a lot more outreach than I have, I am questing about to find what the best platforms are.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 02:26 pm (UTC)
Goodreads hasn't changed much, I was relieved to see, though I was not thrilled about the sale. Some use it as Facebook (45,786 "friends" and 50 books, which means they are most likely using it as a platform for self promotion) but I avoid those, and stick with those who talk about books.

In general, there seems to be more honest reviewing there than on Amazon, wherein many get their best buddies to post five star burbles to help sales. I've found myself skimming Goodreads first to check out a possible book, as always reading the three star reviews.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 05:18 am (UTC)
Recommendations from friends, year-end lists (this year the top 100 list from good reader gave me some ideas), reviews (ya stuff via unshelved, frex), browsing the shelves in bookstores/libraries.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 05:40 am (UTC)
When it comes to genre stuff, I'm doing a lot of following authors I like on twitter (entertaining in itself) and then paying attention to both what other authors they end up chatting with, and the things they mention reading and liking. A fair amount of this is short fiction that is available online, which is then a good taste test for if I should seek out longer work.

I still read the backs, at least, of a lot of books on the big paperback display in front, if the cover is at all intruiging. A lot doesn't pass the first 10 page, test, though.

I like the "Big Idea" series on Scalzi's blog also.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 10:34 am (UTC)
If Seanan McGuire recommends it (or someone on Squeecast does), it usually means it's far enough up my alley to give it a shot. Ditto Alasdair Stuart of Pseudopod. Other than that, if friends recommend stuff, I'll try to read it, depending on which friend and how much they are fanning about it (this applies to tv/music as well) - for example, I got into Pat Rothfuss's work because a friend of mine had him as a professor and she simply would not stop squeeing about how brilliant he was, so I managed to find a copy of his first book to see what all the fuss was about. And I promptly got hooked.

Given that my free-reading time has decreased as my time devoted to academic research has skyrocketed, I have to be really picky about what I read because I simply don't have enough time to read all the stuff I want to AND get my research done. It's a shame, because a lot of the authors I like are putting out a ton of stuff, and I keep encountering new people to like. Really grooving on Zen Cho and Malinda Lo and Seanan McGuire and Mary Robinette Kowal right now.

Also, Mark Oshiro's Mark Reads blog is a nice way to not only discover new stuff, but his commentary is really interesting. Highly recommended!
Dec. 23rd, 2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
90-95% of my reading is either 'new book by known author', or 'reread old book'.

The bit that's left is 'noticed book on table at con'.

icyfeetofdeath was at a B&N the other day and mentioned she should go to one more often, it was so nice to browse the tables. That said, I don't think she actually bought a book from the displays.
Dec. 25th, 2013 02:31 am (UTC)
This stayed in the back of my head for a while. I'd like to say that I get all my recommendations from the New York Times book review (which I do read), but it's not true. Most of the books I buy in recent years are by writers I know, either because they've taught at Clarion West or because they've been students at Clarion West. Recommendations from writers I know is a good source.

I used to follow the Tiptree shortlist more closely than I do now, but it's been a good source of recommendations, too.

I read less than I did in my youth, so I don't need as many recommendations as I used to need.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )