At the end of 2012 and again at the end of 2013, I posted lists of the books I planned to read in the next twelve months. I’ll have to say that I’m pretty proud of my progress so far. It’s just into the second quarter of the year, and I’m already on the tenth book from my list of 23 titles. I’ve only gotten sidetracked once so far (something that happened quite often last year), so I have some hope of actually getting through my entire list.
It was fun looking at the year ahead and asking myself, “What do I want to read?” Whereas many people look forward to vacations and promotions and other big events (and I do, too, don’t get me wrong), I love the anticipation of discovering new fictional landscapes and re-reading some of my old favorites.
When it comes to choosing books, I know that some people read book jackets and may even skim a few pages before making a final decision. Others will look for titles that have won awards. But that’s not really my style. How, then, do I choose the books for my list? Many times, I read books by authors that I’ve read before. If I’ve had good luck in the past, I’m likely to read more titles by those authors.
Other times, I’ll either see a movie or the preview of a movie based on a novel, and if intrigued, I’ll pick up the original books. This happened most recently with the Divergent series, which I read, then saw the movie. It also happened with Harry Potter. I saw the first two movies, then jumped on the bandwagon. Every time, I’m pleased that I got the books because there’s just so much more to love on the written page.
Lastly, and perhaps the greatest way to introduce me to new books is through recommendations and reviews from friends who know what I like to read. In fact, that one extra book I’ve read this year was from a friend who is responsible for lending me some of my favorite titles. When I see someone with similar tastes with a book in hand, I’m always interested to see if there’s a new favorite in the making.
I love personal recommendations and book reviews because they’re not written by some writer who’s paid to make books sound good. Reviews have sometimes saved me from wasting my time (“It turned out to be a good love story in the end, but the writing wasn’t any good.”) and have often encouraged me to try books that I might not have read, otherwise (“It’s long, but you’ll want to make time for it.”).
My regular readers know that I’m on the staff of Fiction Fix, and one of our goals is to not only publish great new fiction but to also encourage people to read until they’re full to overflowing. In order to mix up our blog a little bit, we decided to write book reviews – but in new and fun ways. The first way was in haiku form, the second as six-word reviews. Read the whole story here, and check out the haiku reviews, all of which are now up. (One six-word review is available, with more to follow.)
I don’t know about you, but these reviews have certainly encouraged me to expand my library, yet again. And it’s never too late to make your own “must read” list.