1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do you choose new books to read?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Lea`Brooks, Apr 11, 2016.

    I used to work at Walmart, so buying a new book occurred often and easily. They only had one small section dedicated to each age group, most of which were popular at the time, so it never took long to read the synopsis of nearly every YA book before choosing one.

    Now, however, I go to the large chains to pick a new book... But if I'm being honest, it's quite overwhelming. There are thousands of books to choose from, and I have no idea which are good and which are terrible. And the chances of choosing a terrible book is greater since there is such a large selection. I've tried looking through "best new book" lists, but I've found most of them to have poor writing quality or bad plots/characters. The last few books I purchased were from such lists, and I was unable to get through the entire thing they were so bad.

    So how do you go about choosing new books? Any suggestions on where I could start?
     
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  2. SadStories
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    SadStories Member

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    Personally I usually just avoid new books unless it's by a favorite writer. The chances of it being something remarkable are pretty slim, whereas there are always tons of books that I haven't read on basic lists like BBC's Top 100 and this list of the best fantasy books voted on by thousands of people. Another way I find new books is that books will often contain references to other books, so if a lot of books I like keep mentioning some book, I'll read that. Writers are also usually quite outspoken about what books influenced them, so often I get inspiration from interviews and by reading about writers I enjoy too. Hope this helps, lol.
     
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  3. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I have a gift when it comes to picking up books.
    I never once bought a book I didn't like.
    My secret? Pure gift from the gods.

    I mostly read the back and the first page or two before I decide.
    Usually I know whether I'll get into it or not.
     
  4. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    Quantity over quality. I go to the library and check out a whole bunch of books if they sound even slightly interesting. If one turns out to suck, I drop it and move on to the next. I've found some real gems that I would never have bought in a bookstore because the blurb didn't sound all that promising.
     
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  5. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Apparently I choose the worst book I can find, so I can tell everyone here about it.
     
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  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Author
    Genre I feel like reading
    Cover
    First page or two

    That's about it.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I've read 72 of those.
     
  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    It is a long tedious process, involving many 'tests' that it needs to pass. Books are not like music, and should not be chosen randomly. After a thorough analysis, if it passes then it sucks when it turns out to be a dud. Which doesn't happen all that often thankfully. :p

    Uh, I mean, I am illiterate. :superlaugh:
     
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  9. SadStories
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    SadStories Member

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    Impressive! I've only read like 14. I'm only in my early 20s though, and fantasy is not what I read the most.
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read reviews from a few trusted reviewers. I look more at the description and reasons given, rather than the rating - if the reviewer says it's a 5 star read because of the brooding alpha hero, I know it's not for me, but if the reviewer says it's a two star read because the characters are too complicated and damaged, I might give it a try!
     
  11. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Sometimes I embrace random, I find it a good tool for keeping oneself 'rounded'. If one meticulously serves their own preference all the time; isn't there the danger they'll exaggerate and compound any biases and prejudices they hold? It's beneficial I'm sure to run to what one resists occasionally — Sure you can get a dud, but there's also the chance to stray across a gem in the dust of all you'd not usually consider. And... that which is a dud: does it not serve the consolation (and the confidence) that you could do better?

    ^ Trying to type like a wise man there. I also tend strongly towards reading recommendations from authors and people I aspire to and admire. These methods work well for me for both books and music.
     
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  12. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I try to read what I would have wanted to write and I try to write what I would like to read.

    As a result, I've been mostly sticking to science fiction/humour (or /comedy, if you prefer). It's tough, though, because there aren't many out there.

    Stephen King once said that if you're a fan of horror, you have to put up with some real crap because there isn't much good horror. He's been working to change that since the mid-70's and I'm aiming to do the same with science/speculative fiction/humour.
     
  13. pyroglyphian
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    pyroglyphian Member

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    Usually go by the opinion of the receptionist at work. If she hates it then it's probably worth a look. Even better if she "didn't get it" - probably a classic.
     
  14. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    No, it is not serving self preference. I read the back and a few pages, to see if it is something I would like to invest in for the long run. I base my reading material off of whether or not I am interested in the story, is it written to be readable (bad writing, or odd wording are an issue). Rule of thumb if it isn't doing it for you in the first 10 pages, then it probably is not something you're going to enjoy.
    Also pretty harsh on books, because I grew up on oldschool authors, who actually had to write a compelling story and hold the reader. Don't make me make a list of the worst books I have read/couldn't read based upon the fact they were just that badly written. :p

    Also I enjoy the genres that I enjoy, that doesn't mean I turn something away just because it is not in the genre I enjoy reading. So I am ready to be judged. :superlaugh:

    To answer your final question: I only compare my writing against modern works of fiction. But I am not the one to moderate the ordeal, even if I think I am a better writer. Sadly this is why I feel that I will never get published. :( But at least I can say I am a hardworking failure. (Also there are a few people that do enjoy my fiction. and they didn't have to spend a damn dime on it). :D

    Just case it's hot at the moment, does not mean it is good. And what is good, might never be hot. :D
     
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  15. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I get reading blurbs and the first few pages... I do that too. But... how you decide which books to look at? Like I said, there are thousands in a book store. Do you just walk in and randomly start picking them up off the shelves? Do you literally judge the book by it's cover? It's name? The author's name? Or do you go in prepared, with a few books already in mind to check out? Do you do research beforehand, looking at the best sellers lists, new releases, the lists posted a few posts up?

    I get the process of determining whether or not to buy a book. (Granted, it hasn't worked out so well for me.. A lot of people on here suggested a bunch of books, so I went to the story to check them out. I chose Daughters of Smoke and Bone and couldn't even get a fourth of the way through it, even with reading the first couple pages first.) So it's not deciding which one to buy that I struggle with. It's the process before that. How can I choose one book out of thousands, not knowing anything? How can I walk in blind and just randomly grab one? Based on what? It's all very overwhelming.

    I have a few authors that I love, but they only publish books so often. And now, it's been so long since I've bought a new interesting book that I'm so out of touch with hot new authors and high quality books.

    I'm just going to have to start going to Target... :superwhew: They have a much smaller selection.
     
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  16. Indarican
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    Indarican Member

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    recently, I have been picking all the books that I read from Goodreads.
    I go to a list that I like and usually just go down the list. reading the blurb about the book helps.
     
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  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I still don't read blurbs. Almost all seem to include spoilers. For example, I just read Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. "The Dragon" chooses girls from a village every ten years. Part of the blurb:

    "The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn't, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

    But when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose."

    The choosing happens very early in the book, but the whole opening setup is that he is going to choose Kasia, and that's devastating to the MC (Agnieszka). If I'd read the blurb before buying the book, I would have been pissed.

    Great book, by the way. And I haven't liked Novik's other work.
     
  18. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a similar relationship with my brother-in-law, but for movies.
     
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  19. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    I choose the non-fiction that sounds interesting that is available.
     
  20. Callista Reina
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    Callista Reina Member

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    I think that maybe you need to decide on which genre you want to read before you go book shopping. What books have you read in the past that you really enjoyed and would like to read more of? Or maybe, what new genre have you not read, but think looks interesting? Perhaps, if you know the type of book you are looking for before you go out, you can focus on just the section of the store with the genre you want. From there, I'd suggest going to whatever grabs your eye. I once had a high school English teacher tell us that the old saying "don't judge a book by it's cover" isn't really true because the cover often gives us vital information about the tone, subject matter, and intended audience of a book. In other words, it's a good starting point for getting a feel of the book.

    As for not overwhelming yourself, I'd suggest choosing to focus on just one small, manageable section of the store per trip. Maybe you could find the section where you'd most likely find your favorite authors and just focus on that section for a trip or two. If you like the books you find there, you can keep going back to that specific area. If you want to try something different, maybe you could do some research beforehand on a different genre and the authors that are prominent in that genre and just focus on that section for a trip or two, and so on and so forth.If even the smaller sub-section of the store is too overwhelming, tell yourself that you are only going to explore a certain number of shelves. If you look through a few and don't like them, move on to the next section.

    And, of course, I definitely recommend reading decent snippets of the book before buying it. Choosing books always takes me forever because I always open to a random place and start reading. If I am immediately curious or find myself continuing to read, even though I am in the middle of the book, i know it's a good match for me. :)

    Anyway, I didn't mean to be so long-winded with this post, but I hope some of it is helpful! I have always felt that choosing the right book is like a science. It's always a process! Good luck finding something good to read!
     
  21. Dearest Mothership
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    Dearest Mothership Member

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    I usually buy books based on how engrossing the first few pages are. My bookshelf is omnivorous; sometimes the genre isn't even a factor. It's been working pretty well for me.
     
  22. Necronox
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    Necronox Active Member

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    I buy books primarily based on whether I want to read them for fun or for educational or work(in this instance, study) related purposes. If it's latter, it's mostly by content. If it's for fun, it's based on whether on not I'm interesting in it, which typically means it's fantasy.

    I always try to get a paper copy, there's just something about a physical book that's nice. especially the smell....
     
  23. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    I love discovering new authors, so I browse until I see a title that catches my eye. If the cover image doesn't put me off I read the blurb and, if I'm still interested, I read the first page and dip into a couple of sections mid-way, (but never too near the end, don't want to spoil the outcome) to see whether it's written in a style I would enjoy. Sometimes, I just pick out a letter of the alphabet and look at authors whose surname begin with that, just for a random day. I have found several really enjoyable books this way.
     
  24. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which is why I don't understand it when people put so little effort into creating titles (unless they're such good writers and so well-known it doesn't matter, like Stephen King).

    But when I see a title like: The <fill in single word> that could imply anything from a murder mystery to a psychological thriller to comedy/science fiction, it's never enough to make me want to look closer.
     
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  25. tumblingdice
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    tumblingdice Member

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    Honestly lately I only read the kind of books I need to become a better writer. For example, if I want to improve my romance skills I'd pick up something from the romance section, and so on. As a result, I've been avoiding a lot of classics :p
     
  26. tropicanahana
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    tropicanahana Member

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    I get books at the thrift store. Rarely pay more than a dollar for a book from a small but very ecclectic collection. Recently I found "Not that kind of girl" by Lena Dunham and "Lake wobegon days" by Garrison Keilor. People donate their (presumably) NYT bestsellers and oprah's book club picks a lot, so it's not always trashy romance and non-fics about a good pious house wife :p
     

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