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    • Here's something I've been thinking about: how do other people decide what books to pick up, put on their lists, and read? I know how I do it, a sort of rough intuitively weighted system with 'direct tailored recommendation from trusted friend' and 'rave review from friend or reader whose interests/tastes I share" at the top, and all sorts of other factors below. I pay heed to Goodreads, Twitter, word of mouth from friends and sufficiently interesting published reviews from trusted sources, as well as occasionally to mentions on podcasts. Sometimes there's an element of impulse which can of course be influenced by author familiarity, blurbs, subject matter, even covers!

      Below is a tiny fraction of my to-read pile including some recent acquisitions. The book on top I picked up on impulse in a bookstore, and justified buying by reading good reviews on Goodreads on my phone! Emily Wilson, who translated that edition of the Odyssey, posted comparisons of her translations of individual passages with those of other historical translations on Twitter, and someone retweeted them -- I followed her and decided to get her translation. Roadside Picnic I'd never heard of when I walked into my local indie bookstore with a giftcard, but I was chatting with a bookseller and he handsold it to me: his recommendation, my desire to read more translated science fiction, and a blurb on the cover from Le Guin were my only datapoints. This stack is all over the place!

      What sources do you consult and trust when deciding to read a book, or where do you even hear and notice books that might be of interest? Where did you find out about your favorite authors?

    • I need to implement a notation system like you have, @Felicity! Too many times I reserve a book from the library, and when it finally comes in, I can’t remember why I reserved it! Ha.

      I go to the same sources you do-I’ve also found that library-sponsored book groups are often good sources (librarians do the research before recommending a book for a group to read). I’ve picked up some good recommendations from the “What are you reading?” thread in Chris’ other forum, too.

      I do cross-reference before making a final decision though — I need at least two different sources to confirm that the book is worth my time. I use Goodreads (hit and miss), Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, special awards, etc. to give me that confirmation.

      I rarely purchase books anymore. I used to have waaaaaaay too many—I thought if I owned the book I somehow owned the ideas in them. Then I had to do a big purge before a cross-country move and realized how silly that was.

      In my current reading pile, I have just two purchased books—one because it is 900+ pages long, I wanted to write in it, and I didn’t want to be rushed to read it; the other because my library system doesn’t own it yet. I may donate it when I’m done.

      These books are all from recommendations except the one about the Scandinavians (trip to Scandinavia coming up) and the bicycle one (just got an e-bike). I will probably just skim some of them—others will be deep dives.

    • It's not perfect, but there is a field buried on each book entry on Goodreads for 'who recommended this to me'. They wanted you just to link to another GR user, but we convinced them to let you enter plain text, too :) So when I'm really on the ball, I enter that information when I shelve a book as 'to read' or 'to maybe read'. Sometimes I still find myself, as I did recently, reading a review of a book and going 'wow, that sounds AMAZING', going to Goodreads, and finding I'd already mysteriously marked it to read. Oooooooops...

      I definitely take a few 'strikes' to establish firm intent to read something, as well, unless the first one is a home run :) I have to confess that it takes more than one person I know liking a book before I get interested. That depends a lot on established track record and whether our tastes align, though. Don't you find some people's recommendations are a lot more reliable for you than others'?

    • Maybe we gave you a few ideas? :)

      I actually get a lot of ideas from wandering my local bookstores. Even when you don't talk to an individual bookseller, the little flags they put on the shelves to mark books they love are often golden. Powell's and Annie Bloom's Books, in my town, both have extensive employee-picks systems, and those are often great ways to get ideas. A little different from Lidja's librarian-pick suggestion, but in a similar vein!

      Of course, I also often first notice a book because it's on a sale table, I admit. But after a cheap book catches my eye I still do my research, and read a page from the middle too (I favor page 108.) There are two books in my stack above that were sale-priced finds, in Portland and Seattle.

    • New books come into my life when...

      * It catches my eye when browsing in a bookstore. This is my favourite way. (e.g. Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis).

      * Somebody picks it for the monthly book at our book club (e.g. Sleep Donation by Karen Russel).

      * Amazon recommends it based on something I purchased (e.g. The Vorrh by Brain Catling)

      * I decide that I like the author after reading one of their books (e.g. Definitely Maybe, by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, after reading Roadside Picnic).

      * My wife reads a review in the newspaper and figures I would like it (e.g. Foe, by Iain Reid)

      * I've consulted a list of 'best books for x' on the web, often on Tor.Com (e.g. Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin).

      *I discovered a series of book and sought other books on the series, such as the Gollancz SF Masterworks Series (e.g. Mockingbird, by Walter Tevis)

      *I read an article that interviews the author and was impressed(e.g. The Odyssey by Emily Wilson)

      * I found it on one of my occasional searches for new books on a subject I like (e.g. Arabia Felix by Alessandro De Maigret)

      * I found it listed as a reference in the bibliography of a book I enjoyed (e.g. First Footsteps in East Africa by Richard Burton)

      * I read the reviews of one book that caught my eye, and a reviewer that tells me another book is even better (e.g. The New Edinburgh Scottish History series).

      * A friend recommended it. (e.g. Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang).

      As you may have guessed, I read a lot of books.

    • We moved a few months ago and as part of the purge, I tossed out hundreds of books I was no longer interested in (gave to friends and family, rest sent to Goodwill). In the process, I found a bunch of books I didn’t remember I had. So I’m in the process of slowly working my way through them and am on “don’t buy anymore books!!!” lockdown for the foreseeable future.

    • Well I got to understand that have always had this urge to write novels but haven't done that for a while but I really want to start again because I think have read from somewhere that a writer would always be a writer