About four years ago, I wrote a post about where to find picture book recommendations (or perhaps better titled “Why my library card holds are always completely maxed out”). I figured it might be time to do a version for where to find book recommendations for adults.
I think books recommendations for adults are a little trickier than picture books because a picture book just doesn’t require that much investment. You can check out 20 picture books at the library and read them all, multiple times, in a week.
A 200+ page novel, though? You’ll be lucky to get through 2-3 a week (and frankly, most of us aren’t even close to that rate). So when you pick something, you really want it to be good.
Also, there’s nothing more frustrating than WANTING to read, but having nothing in your queue, whether that’s a stack of physical books, books on your Kindle, or an audiobook.
These are my favorite places to look for book recommendations:
- Book Page. This is a free magazine that most libraries get and you can pick up a new copy each month. Usually, there are about 70-100 titles recommended and they’re broken up into categories (audiobooks, children, YA, romance, cookbooks, etc), so it’s very easy to skim through to the sections you’re really looking for. I’ve found so many books there that I’d never have picked up otherwise, like Things a Little Bird Told Me. Plus, I love the in-depth interviews with popular authors about big new releases, and the short reviews of many books. This is one of the best ways I stay on top of what’s coming out, even if some of them aren’t books I’m at all interested in. It’s also available online and easily searchable, although I’ll admit I almost never look at the website.
- Subscription Book Boxes. I’ve been working with CrateJoy this month, checking out some of their book boxes, and it’s just been SO fun. There’s something so great about having a new book or two just show up in the mail, so you don’t have to worry about library hold lists or overdue fines. Some of the boxes, like BookCase.Club, have just the books (and BookCase.Club has a variety of subscriptions depending on the genre you like, with clever names like “Booking for Love” – obviously that’s the romance subscription), while others, like Book Loot, come with an assortment of book-related goodies (you can see what came in the April box over on my Facebook page where I did a little unboxing video last week). And I love that with ones like Hello Book Lover, you get something popular that you’d spend MONTHS waiting for if you went the library route. You probably don’t want to subscribe to 40 book subscription boxes (although more power to you, if you can!), but for the ones I don’t get boxes for, I like to follow along on their sites and see what books they’re sending each month. As I’ve spent a bunch of time looking through all of CrateJoy’s book box options, I’ve been amazed at what a comprehensive collection they have – whether you’re looking for mystery novels, children’s books, books with a tea accompaniment (and who wouldn’t want that?) and even one that comes with wrapped gifts that you open on specific pages as you read the book, which basically is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
- Instagram Accounts. Instagram is one of my favorite places to find new book recommendations. I don’t actually follow many accounts that recommend books for adults (mostly I follow people recommending children’s titles), but I like to browse the book-related hashtags. I use the new Collections feature and have categories to save adult titles and children’s titles separately.
- Audible Monthly Customer Favorites. I’m a massive sucker for popularity-based lists (probably because so often the critically-acclaimed books are on the dry side, or at least too dense for my sleep-deprived brain to really handle). Every month Audible puts together a list of the twenty most popular audiobooks that month, which I think is just about the right length. Enough to give you plenty of options, but not so enormous that it’s completely overwhelming.
- Book Blogs. Back in the first years of my blog, I followed a boatload of book blogs, but it quickly became just completely overwhelming. Some of these book blogs were posting book reviews every single day, and I basically just started tuning them out. Now I follow a handful of book blogs that have similar taste to mine – I really love Modern Mrs Darcy, of course, and I also absolutely love Sunlit Pages. Interestingly, neither of them are solely focused on books, so I feel like I get a lot of great content from them without it overloading my to-read list.
- Amazon Best Books of the Month. I think Amazon does a really great job curating book lists. I use their monthly children’s book lists extensively and the adults ones are also excellent. They have a few picks for each month and then they also have ten best books in a variety of genres, from non-fiction to romance to mystery, so if you have a preferred genre, you can go right to those types of titles.
- Podcasts. I swing back and forth between listening to a lot of podcasts and listening to a lot of audiobooks, and right now I’m listening to a LOT of audiobooks, so my podcast listening is a little low right now. But I always love What Should I Read Next, The Simple Show, and Read-Aloud Revival as good places to find new titles. My main problem is that I hear books recommended while I’m out walking or have my hands occupied doing dishes or laundry and don’t have a great way to note the books I want to read. Of course, I don’t really have a good system for tracking what books I want to read in the FIRST place.
- Tell Me What to Read. This really is one of my best places to get recommendations. I mean, dozens of people suggesting their favorite books to me? These comments are a GOLD mine. I don’t have many good ideas, but starting this series was the best idea ever.
- Goodreads. I’ve been using Goodreads for nearly ten years, and I know lots of people find it very useful for finding new books, but frankly, I mainly use it just to record the books I’ve read. It’s kind of overwhelming to me, so I follow very few people (mostly just a few close friends and some of my library school friends) on there and then check out what they are reading and add them to my want-to-read list.
And if you have other great sources for finding book recommendations, whether it’s specific Instagram accounts, podcasts, book box subscriptions, or blogs, I’d love to hear!
Because the only thing I love more than books are book recommendations.