February 18, 2020
Through trial and error, I have discovered more efficient ways of finding my next pleasure read. Here, I have compiled a list of helpful resources and places to turn to when you find yourself in a reading rut.
My goal this year is to read 50 books, which is a feat I should hope to accomplish as an English major. By the end of this semester, I will have reached almost half my goal because of required readings in my three literature classes. While I do enjoy most of my assigned readings (most recently, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”), I have very little time to indulge in pleasure reading; reading that remaining 25 seems impossible to achieve.
“Pleasure reading” is defined as reading that is freely chosen or that readers freely and enthusiastically continue after it is assigned.
The time I do have for pleasure reading is entirely precious to me. Thus, I found myself with another problem and one question weighs heavily on me: what am I going to read?
At that point, I carefully scoured the Internet for reviews of popular Young Adult and Fiction titles. I would set out for the nearest Barnes and Noble and peruse the aisles for hours. 100s of books passed under my hands before I would settle on my paperback match. My search prolonged, I am spending more time searching for a good book than reading one.
That was the old me. Through trial and error, I have discovered more efficient ways of finding my next pleasure read. Here, I have compiled a list of helpful resources and places to turn to when you find yourself in a reading rut.
The Goodreads app helps booklovers meet their next favorite book. By creating a free account, the app recommends books based on titles and genres you have enjoyed in the past. Goodreads resembles Facebook in that it curates a newsfeed, profile and allows you to connect with friends and view their reading lists. The app also keeps track of past and current reads. The Goodreads app is available for download on the Apple and Google Play stores.
Reese’s Book Club
Reese Witherspoon: you know her, you love her and you applaud her iconic portrayal of Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde,” but you probably did not know that she has her own book club. Every month, Witherspoon chooses a book that celebrates women at the center of the story. I recently read “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng, one of Reese’s recommendations and I am OBSESSED with it. February’s pick is “The Scent Keeper” by Erica Bauermeister. Her book club also offers numerous resources to assist you in your readings. Follow her Instagram @reesesbookclub
Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize Winners
Books whose authors are recipients of a Noble Prize in Literature and Pulitzer Prize for Fiction are labeled with a sticker accordingly. Look out for those stick – they are usually a very good indication that that author knows what they are doing. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr made the list in 2015. I read that book over the summer and have nothing but good things to say on it. Link to the lists: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/lists/all-nobel-prizes-in-literature https://www.pulitzer.org/prize-winners-by-category/219.
New York Times Bestsellers
I am not telling you to judge a book by a cover in any way, but often, the cover can reveal a lot about the book. Especially when its cover is marked with “New York Times Bestsellers.” On the current list, “Where the Crawdad’s Sing” by Delia Owens has taken up one of the number one spots for the past 74 weeks, and I can personally vouch for that one. Phenomenal book. Are all NYT bestsellers deserving of their dub? That is debatable. However, I have found that my chances are better when selecting a book that has made the list. Link to the list:
Join or create your own book club
Call me old fashioned, but I think there is value in meeting with others face to face and discussing books. Some of the greatest books I have ever read were the result of a friend suggesting me to read it. You do not need a large group of people to start a book club either. Maybe it is just you and a friend. Physical book clubs are a neat way to meet like-minded people and expand your reading horizons.