Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

I’ve always been a rabid reader, right from childhood. For 2019, I set a personal goal to read 250 books, and having finished number 176 yesterday, I’m right on schedule. When I talk to friends and colleagues about reading, I often hear, “I’m just not a reader” or “I wish I read more” or “I can’t ever find the time to read”. I’m constantly encouraging others to read more, because in addition to being a great mental escape, it’s good for your brain, decreases stress levels, and improves communication skills (for more on the benefits of regular reading, check out this article from Lifehack).

The first step to reading more is to get your hands on something that appeals to you. You might think that with all the reading I do, I don’t have any trouble finding great books. I wish that were the case, but burning through books so fast means I’m constantly on the hunt. With so many options, finding the right one for you can be really daunting. However, it’s completely doable:

Step One: Figure Out What You Like

Screenshot 2019-08-25 at 1.06.01 PMReading is going to be more interesting if you follow your interests. I read mostly fiction, but I do keep an eye out for nonfiction about things that genuinely engage me. Are you a movie fan? Consider a biography of a favorite director, a book or article going behind the scenes of a favorite film, or maybe a book about cinema history. If you watched a documentary or took part in a conversation on a topic that piqued your interest, dig a little deeper on the subject. I’m a longtime circus fan, and that interest has led me to read a lot about circus and carnival history (which, by the way, is a fascinating subject). If you’re looking for a starting point, try a collection of essays (I frequently recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw, which has engaging examinations of topics ranging from advertising to condiments to the difference between choking and panicking). You can also look for biographies of people you admire, self improvement books on things you want to change in your life, or books on your professional field.

Screenshot 2019-08-25 at 1.51.08 PMFocusing on your interests also helps when selecting fiction. My aforementioned interest in the circus led me to Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, one of my favorite books of all time, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, which has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever encountered, and even Stephen King’s Joyland, which is actually about an amusement park but had some of the same ambiance. Outside of the circus connection, these books have very little in common, but I thoroughly enjoyed all three. In fiction, you can also focus on genre. What kinds of stories do you like? Romance? Science fiction? Fantasy? Horror? Military fiction? Historical fiction? Another genre entirely? A genre based search is a great way to find books that will appeal to your personal taste. If you aren’t a big reader, start with movies. The kinds of films you really enjoy will help point you towards the kinds of books that will hold your attention. My dad, who isn’t a huge reader, enjoyed watching Jack Reacher so much that he read the entire series-more than 20 books. After that, he went looking for similar thrillers and discovered a lot of other authors. A friend of mine enjoys romantic comedies, so she got into chick lit.

Step Two: Find the Book

Ok, so you know what kind of book you want. Now how do you find it? There are lots of ways to hunt down that perfect title, including:

  • Visit a library or bookstore. Wander the aisles or go straight to your preferred genre section. Pick up what catches your eye, read the blurb, and flip through. Talk to librarians and employees and get their recommendations. Browsing an online bookstore or library site also works, but be sure to read the sample before you make a purchase.books
  • Web resources. Goodreads let you browse titles and reviews in several ways, including genre, or you can check out their lists (one of my favorite features) to see collection of books that fit a particular interest. If you sign up for an account and enter things you’ve read and a start rating, the site gives you personalized recommendations. I also really like What Should I Read Next, where you enter a title or author you enjoy and receive suggestions for other titles.
  • Get personal recommendations. If you know someone who’s a reader, ask him or her for suggestions. Be sure to specify your interests, so you don’t end up hearing all about a book you’ll never want to read.
  • Check out book blogs. I follow quite a few, and other people’s reviews often point me towards books I might have missed, or help me determine whether or not a book is for me. For example, I had no intention of reading City of Girls until Kristin’s review changed my mind, and Beth and I share so many of the same tastes that a recommendation from her is as good as gold.
  • Keep an eye on the bestseller lists and look for titles that appeal to you.

So go find your next great read, and on the next post we’ll talk about finding the time to read it.

reading on book

Read any good books lately? What’s on your interest list? Facing any reading hurdles? 

21 thoughts on “Worth Trying: Read More, Part One (Finding the Book)

  1. kagould17 says:

    Agree that the book has to interest you if you are going to read it. I am not in your territory of 250 books in a year, but since I retired, I picked up reading again and I probably read 10 books a year. I am OK with that. Just about finished Outlander and there are another 7 books in the series, so I know where my reading will go.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I love finding a new series! It makes it a lot easier to feed my addiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tips! I didn’t know you were so into circuses! That’s interesting. I like finding new authors or series I find that makes me read more.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      My parents took me to the circus for the first time when I was nine, and I fell in love with it and wanted to know everything about it. It’s amazing how many books, documentaries, and films are out there about my personal obsession.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I often suggest audio books for those ‘I can’t find time to read types’. Beautiful way of getting some good stories into your day without having to set time aside for it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      One of my favorite suggestions, too. It’s definitely going to be part of my next post. I often listen to books I’ve already read, too, because it adds a new dimension to the experience.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Absolutely. You get to hear different voices for the characters. There are also certain longer books I feel too much of a slog to read but, on Audible, the longer the book the better the value for my monthly credit 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  4. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    This has absolutely nothing to do with your post, but a local farm has started selling their apple cider donuts and I got to thinking today I wish you could try them!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Oh, that sounds amazing!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

        They awesome!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My bucket list of books I want to read gets longer every day. I used to be a voracious reader too but ever since I started blogging I dont seem to get the time for books. Now I read posts on the blogs I follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Reading blog posts is definitely time well spent. ☺

      Like

  6. masercot says:

    1. Water for Elephants is a fantastic book. I recommend it to ANYONE who reads.

    2. Your dad has good taste in literature…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It’s such a wonderful book! I read it once or twice a year.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A really good post but my only advice would be to take your own pictures of the books, you can get a more effective post if it looks all your own, you can go to an antique book shop for some even better pictures x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I use my own pictures when I can. Unfortunately time is often a factor. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Carol Anne says:

    I’m currently finishing up reading a stolen life by jaycee dugard. then I am also reading maggie hartleys new book, please dont take my sisters. I am also rereading cathy glass’s book, will you love me? xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. alexraphael says:

    The Night Circus is just gorgeous. If you look up the words spellbinding in the dictionary you’ll find a picture of it there.

    Liked by 1 person

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