February 27, 2017 by femvestige
We all reach that point. You know the one… where you have unplugged your headphones, ejected the CD, shut down the electronic tablet, or closed the cover to those sweet tormenting pages you just spent hours turning. That moment where you have finished the book that’s been the center of your world, and have that seemingly unanswerable question: now what?
I have gone through book slumps where I have not quite been able to get over the last book. I’ve gone through indecision periods where nothing quite tickles my fancy enough to pick it up. Regardless of what kind of reader you are, there will always be that next book slump.
So how do you pick your next book?
I have done several different book choosing techniques that I will list here, to help you get through that ‘now what?’ book slump we all seem to have post-read.
The Currently Reading List
If you read like I do, you have the ‘car book,’ the ‘bedside book,’ the ‘always-in-my-bag book,’ the ‘kindle-book,’ the ‘bath book,’ and possibly even the ‘I’m-alone-guilty-pleasure book.’ I have 7 books in my currently reading list and yet, the list always seems to grow instead of dwindle. This year I have made it my resolution that I will finish the list of ‘currently reading’ books I started out my year with. Even if I continue to add new books, I will not start 2018 with the same books I started 2017 with. For me, this is a difficult feat because several of the books have been in my ‘currently reading’ list for a long time. I have that habit of wanting to finish what I start, even if it does not entirely grasp my attention. However, our currently reading list is a good way to get us off our reading slump rump. If I am indecisive about what book I want to read next, I force myself to step into one of the books I’ve already started. It is the easiest way to continue reading! (I’m looking at you Gold Fame Citrus).
The Want-to-Read List
Many of us keep track of the books we want to read. Some of us take photos of books we see in the store so we can go back through our photo memory to find it again. Some of us keep hand written lists folded up in our bullet journals. Then there are the more tech-savvy folks who have discovered Goodreads. Goodreads.com is this wonderful website which allows you to keep track of the books you’ve read, the books you want to read, and the books you are currently reading. They have book clubs, quizzes, reviews, and a number of other fascinating elements that I don’t really care about. Their want-to-read list is key. Any time I have completed a new book, I go to my want-to-read list and look the oldest date of the book I said I want to read. This way I can try to stay true to my list of books. This sometimes backfires, because I might have found a book recently that I really want to read now versus a book I said I want to read a year ago. Regardless, the point is our want to read list provides us with a (for me at least) neverending source of potential books for when I need to pick a new book.
Luckily for me, as a bookworm and Ravenclaw (I’m outing myself as a Potterhead), I have surrounded myself with many friends who read. They never fail to provide me with regular recommendations of what I should read. I can write a blanket request (must have a strong heroine, must make me think, must…etc) and my friends will deliver. The handful of times I have done this, I have left with dozens of books to add to my want-to-read list. It works every time.
I also have found that the best way to warm to a book seller or librarians heart is to ask them what to read. You can provide a general idea of what you are looking for, or simply say surprise me. I have never seen eyes light up faster than that of a librarian showing me what I would love to read.
Book Swaps/Mystery Dates
I used to organize my own book club that grew to 60+ members, and during that time I had monthly book swaps. Much like the book swap shelves many of you are probably familiar with, members would meet each month with 1-2 books in their hands, and we would have a book swap with fellow members while socializing. This was a particularly fun event when we wrapped our various books in newspaper, fun wrapping paper, or brown paper and wrote three words to describe the contents. This made our swaps mystery dates with a book, and it was so fun. I have been introduced to fun genres I wouldn’t normally pick up this way.
Little Free Libraries are also another way to have fun while mingling with your community. It’s the same concept as a book swap shelf, take a book and return a book. Little Free Libraries warm my heart.
Oprah’s Book Club and other Lists
Similar to our very own want-to-read list or friend recommended books – when in doubt turn to lists that hold weight. New York Times Best Sellers List, National Book Foundation award winners (this is my go-to because they list awardees via genre), and Oprah’s Book Club. All of these books are usually very good and thought-provoking.
Last But Not Least: Genre Exploration
Sometimes, when all else fails and I am still lacking inspiration to get out of my book slump, I decide to try out a new genre. I am usually a fantasy lover, historical fiction buff, and poetic memoir appreciator. I will go to the library and check out the, *gulp* nonfiction section, graphic novel section, and/or local author section and do a number of different techniques. I judge covers – yea, you heard me. I close my eyes and pin my finger on the book. I do eeny meeny miny moe. Whatever works for you, make sure you do not leave the library without checking out a book. You will thank yourself later.
So there you have it. If you just finished a book and you are really hesitating on moving on – there is a list of things you can do to help yourself find the next fish in the sea of novels. So let’s discuss! I invite you to list your own techniques of choosing the next book in the comments! Do you agree with the list? Did I miss something? Are you going through the post-read book blues? Do you have a recommendation? 😉 Tell me about it. Let’s help each other out. We can only grieve for so long before we fall in love with the next set of pages. ❤