Where do you go to find new books?
July 8, 2017 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Other than wandering a bookstore & word of mouth, where do you go to find new books you'd like? What blogs, websites (e.g. The Millions, Goodreads, Booklist), magazines, or podcasts do you use...?

Bonus points if they regular feature books by diverse authors.
posted by flibbertigibbet to Writing & Language (30 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
The New York Times has a weekly feature called "By the Book." It's an interview with a famous author who gets asked a lot of questions, including some about favorite books. I end up finding a lot of books I want to read, especially when it's an author I like.
posted by FencingGal at 9:15 AM on July 8, 2017

I like vol1brooklyn.com an awful lot. Also, The Paris Review's blog has turned me on to lots of good and great stuff: theparisreview.org/blog/
posted by old_growler at 9:16 AM on July 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sarah Weinman concentrates on crime fiction but I think any reader can get a lot out of her mailing list. She's a very interesting writer herself, wide-ranging and vigorous.

A lot of my recommendations come from critics and authors I follow on Twitter. They are doing log-rolling, of course, and I abandon quite a few of the books I find that way--easy to do in the age of free downloaded samples-- but if you curate your following some, this can be surprisingly low-fuss and fruitful.
posted by BibiRose at 9:17 AM on July 8, 2017

I'm an SFF fan and Tor.com has enough entertaining book discussion/promotion on their site that I keep going back there. Also J. Scalzi has a "big idea" feature where authors talk about new books. You can see some very intriguing, in depth story pitches there. SFF is becoming a lot more diverse on the young end, though there's still room for a lot more diversity.
posted by puddledork at 9:19 AM on July 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Nearly all the books I've read in the past year (3-5 per month) or so have been from reading the answers to other people's ask.me book recommendation questions! I think ask.me deserves at least partial bonus points.
posted by moonmilk at 9:54 AM on July 8, 2017 [14 favorites]

I get a lot of recommendations from people I've friended on Goodreads --I "met" most of them when I had my own blog that focused on literacy and book reviews. I also like Bookmarks magazine. And, I also get a lot of ideas from AskMe questions about books!
posted by bookmammal at 10:11 AM on July 8, 2017

I think that the best way is to find books you like, find people who reviewed it favorably on Gooodreads and see what else they like.

If you are just looking for what is in the zeitgeist, you can follow the Strand and see what they recommend
posted by kbbbo at 10:13 AM on July 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

My local library's catalog has a feature that allows me to set up searches on specific criteria (subject, keyword, call number, etc.). These searches are automatically run weekly and the results sent in an email to me containing all matches new to the catalog from the previous week, including items just ordered. Then it's easy enough to read reviews in the catalog of items I'm interested in and place holds if I like. I expect most library catalogs have something similar, and if your library has a decent budget and keeps current with selection, the list can be very useful. Searches I've set up include broad ones like SF and fantasy, as well as narrower ones like historical British mysteries and electronic music on CD.
posted by ClingClang at 10:14 AM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Martha Wells does regular SF/F book recs and new book listings on her blog. Her intro paragraph for every post is:

(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)
posted by current resident at 10:21 AM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I hear about some new SF/F by being a regular reader at tor.com, and I also read Scalzi's blog as mentioned above by puddledork. The rest, I have friends who tend to talk about what they're reading. Oh, and I go to the library and browse the new releases area every so often.
posted by Lady Li at 10:21 AM on July 8, 2017

Library library library! Both their book displays and any featured book plugins they might have on their site, and also ask the people who work there for recommendations. We are superusers and can give lots of good leads.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:33 AM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

For sci-fi and horror, I pick up a copy of Locus Magazine at the bookstore every month or two.
posted by eugenen at 10:48 AM on July 8, 2017

I read Goodreads, and reviews in Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, etc., as well as general-interest stuff like The New York Times Book Review. I'm also on some publisher-specific email lists, and I participate in a couple email-readers-advisory services (SPL's Your Next 5 Books is probably my favorite). And I browse the physical shelves at local libraries.

For the sake of completion, I'll mention a couple librarian-specific things (as rabbitrabbit mentions, this is one of the things we're supposed to be good at): we get Advance Reading Copies, and lists of new items added to our collection each month, and we have an internal Slack channel where people talk about new things they're reading, solicit recommendations from each other, etc.
posted by box at 10:50 AM on July 8, 2017

I get nearly all my reading list from npr's book reviews. And right here also, I mark as favorite posts listing genres I enjoy. Then I keep a list on a website my library system hosts called myreadinglist where I have them sorted by read or unread along with notes on the titles.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 10:57 AM on July 8, 2017

A while back I decided to expand my literary horizons by making a point of reading more books by non-American writers - I googled for lists and added several books to my Amazon list and have been working through that.

Some books make it on my list because I heard an interview (usually on NPR) with the author. I've posted here to ask for recommendations, and FB. Last year I wound up reading a great book because a woman mentioned it at a party.

I once knew a woman who just for the heck of it was reading all of the books awarded a particular literary prize, though I don't recall which.

Nancy Pearl may be of interest to you.
posted by bunderful at 11:36 AM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just discovered this blog which has great recommendations: thereadinglists.com. I found it through Marginal Revolution, which is itself a great resource for reading recommendations-- so much so there is a database someone created created just for books recommended on it. Another good book blog is bookriot.com. Also, i09 publishes a monthly list of all the best science fiction and fantasy coming out.
posted by loveyhowell at 11:39 AM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Being a cheapskate, I subscribe to Bookbub's daily list of bargains (many of which are free) and have found some real gems that way.
posted by DrGail at 11:58 AM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Literary Saloon has links to numerous blogs which feature a host of recommendations about new books, old books, diverse books, foreign books, UK/US books. Find a few that seem to have the books you like, put them in your News Reader et voilĂ 
posted by TheRaven at 12:18 PM on July 8, 2017

Best answer: I love The Guardian's book coverage. Although it's based in England, virtually all of the books it reviews are available in the US as well. (Apologies for the US-centric assumption about where you are.) And they are very good about covering diverse authors.

Flavorwire has some enjoyable reviews and book news.

Nobody's mentioned LitHub yet? Someone around here must be sleeping.

And of course The NYT Book Review.
posted by scratch at 12:36 PM on July 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've fallen down the romance-novel rabbit hole in recent months - though I stumbled into a few authors via random recommendations on tumblr (my favorite one being someone's rec of Mary Balogh's "Slightly Married" with the single sentence "It's some real Mr. Darcy shit", which turned out to be 100% accurate), I'm now following the Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog & podcast closely for reviews and alerts on special sales. And, if you pick 'Find Books By Theme' from the blog dropdown menu, you can pull up all books tagged with Diverse Protagonists. (Probably not all by diverse authors, but definitely some.)
posted by oh yeah! at 12:45 PM on July 8, 2017

When someone recommends a book, I add it to my book wishlist on Amazon. I don't have to buy it from Amazon, but it's a handy place to keep things. There are fairly frequent book questions here on ask.me. My library is a great resource, as is NYTimes Book Review (newsletter), LATimes, Washington Post, NPR; probably every major and many minor newspapers. Amazon's Books page often has lists of recommendations. You can also look for lists like Best Books of 2015, which can be good. Buzzfeed Books has been all Harry Potter and Games of Thrones lately, not so useful.
posted by theora55 at 12:45 PM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I find Goodreads kind of overwhelming -- like, I only make lists but never actually settle on anything specific.

Two local indie bookstores I'm fond of put our great newsletters with new book recs. If you have a favorite local bookstore, you might try to subscribe to their list.
posted by missmobtown at 1:33 PM on July 8, 2017

Best answer: For literary fiction, LitHub. For translated literature, The Complete Review.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:14 PM on July 8, 2017

It's just once a year, but the Morning News Tournament of Books is a great source for a review of the past year. I haven't read the 2017 TOB yet so am not sure how diverse it is; past years have been hit or miss.
posted by snorkmaiden at 9:30 PM on July 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Usually I find books in one of three basic places

- New shelf in one of the 3-4 libraries I frequent
- NetGalley which provides Advanced Reading Copies of books to librarians and educators
- talking to friends (and MetaFilter friends) about what they've been reading and liked.

ReadMe is a collection of suggestions for things to read. Sometimes I find a good thread that syncs up perfectly with me (this one was the most recent one) and just read every single thing on it.
posted by jessamyn at 6:57 AM on July 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

I recently started listening to a podcast called "What Should I Read Next?" I really dig the format. The host has a guest for each episode and the guest will tell her 3 books they love, 1 book they hate, and what they are currently reading. The guests typically also talk about their reading life (why they read, what types of books they read, etc) and what they'd like to change or goals for reading (like read more books by non-American authors, more biographies). The host, who is very well read, will then suggest 3 books based on everything they talked about. She is really great at seeing the themes and connections between her guests' books and I am regularly convinced to add titles to my reading list.
posted by simplethings at 10:02 AM on July 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Lithub's been mentioned already, but I wanted to specifically point out their Bookmarks section, where they consolidate book reviews from multiple other sources. It's a great jumping off point to see what new books people are talking about.
posted by gennessee at 10:06 AM on July 9, 2017

Recommend Me A Book takes the bias out of choosing a book by randomly selecting a book, without the cover, and allows you to read the first few pages.
posted by onecircleaday at 6:20 PM on July 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

i'm in a book club and they have suggested a lot of books that i wouldn't have found on my own that i really enjoyed.

seconding Nancy Pearl, and her book Book Lust.
posted by katieanne at 7:40 PM on July 9, 2017

Best answer: I've always enjoyed Kevin Nguyen's monthly book recommendations. He used to do them for Grantland, and now he's at GQ. It's a reliably good and diverse mix of 4-5 books, including lit fic, fantasy, sci-fi, and non-fiction. There's always a few books that I've never spotted on the list, as well.
posted by adrianhon at 1:19 AM on July 10, 2017

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