If you’re like me, you’re probably anticipating a family vacation during the summer. Or at the very least you’re looking forward to some down time swinging in the hammock in the back yard or lying in the warm sand on the beach or sitting in a comfy chair outside a mountain cabin.
Whether you have a long car ride ahead of you, or whether you have to spend a day in an airport changing planes, there’s one activity most people DO (or at least intend to do) on every vacation and in every travel situation.
Can you guess what it is?
Almost every time I go on a trip, I bring books.
Next week, I’m taking a trip to the far northern reaches of Michigan to the Keweenaw Peninsula, the setting of my third lighthouse book.
I’m super excited because I get to live in the assistant light keeper’s cabin for an entire week overlooking Lake Superior. It will definitely be hands on research!
In between all my research and hiking and sight-seeing, I hope to relax with a book or two. Reading equals relaxing. Can I hear an Amen?!
As a special trip gift to my kids, I bought them each a book just for the vacation (yes, I’m teaching them right priorities at a young age!).
The trouble is, with the
millions billions of books out there, how can a reader find books that are worth the purchase? As I browse through books, sometimes I’m overwhelmed with knowing which ones I’d really love and which ones won’t hold my interest. Unfortunately, I’ve paid good money for books that I end up not liking.
How do we avoid wasting money on books that are just so-so and instead find books that we’re certain to enjoy?
There aren’t ever guarantees, are there? Even our favorite authors sometimes write stories that don’t resonate as well as others.
However, here are a few ways I’ve learned to narrow down my book search:
1. Find recommendations on Goodreads. I find lots of new reading from browsing various lists on Goodreads under “Listopia.” For example, if I want to find popular YA books released this year, I do a search on Listopia for “YA Novels of 2014” and get a couple pages of popular lists.
Also on Goodreads, anytime you’re visiting the page of a book you like, if you look in the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see a section labeled, “Readers Also Enjoyed.” It lists books that are similar in genre and style.
2. Look at suggestions on Amazon. If you go to a book you like on Amazon, you’ll see two places “Frequently Bought Together” and “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.” If I see a book there that perks my attention, then I go over and check it out further.
3. Look at what books friends are reading. I pay attention to what my friends are reading when they mention books on Twitter, Facebook, book groups, or other places, especially the friends who share the same values and interests as me. I figure if they rave about a book, it will likely be one that I enjoy too.
4. Ask authors for suggestions. From time to time, my readers ask me for suggestions for books that are like mine. I often give ideas for those authors I feel are closest in style to what I write and am always happy to help other authors gain new fans.
5. Evaluate what everyone else is talking about. Word of mouth is usually one of the best ways to see what’s most popular. I often get ideas from my daughter who is an avid reader. As a teen, she usually makes it her full time job to know what’s in and what’s out. 🙂
Do you take a book on vacation? And how do you narrow down your search for books that you know that you’ll like?
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