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February 23, 2010

Tips For Beginning Readers

Kate Hart
As authors, it's easy for forget that the general public doesn't eat, sleep and breathe books the way we do. Recently, I put a call out for blog post ideas, and my non-writer friend Tanya said:
"I want to start reading but there is so much stuff out there that it is overwhelming. I have a favorite author and it would be nice to know where else to look for authors like her."

You're in luck, T: In the past few years, several fantastic websites have popped up to help with that very problem.

The big book sellers (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, et al) have reader reviews with each book, but... let's just say when it comes to quality, your mileage may vary. My favorite site is Goodreads. Every list you can imagine is there, from "Books Everyone Should Read Once" to "Worst Books Ever" to "Best Kick Ass Female Character. "

You can see reviews by the general public, but you can also "friend" people and compare your reading list and ratings with theirs. For example, my friend Anna and I tend to like the same things, so when she reads a new book, I can see instantly whether it's up my alley. There are also lots of published writers on there, so you may be able to add your favorite author and she was s/he is currently reading.

You can link your account to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites, but be careful. Even those of us obsessed with books get tired of being spammed with recommendations. A less obtrusive way is to install one of their widgets on your blog-- mine is at the bottom of my sidebar.

I haven't tried these other sites, but Library Thing and Book Army are reportedly similar. Shelfari's widgets are actually a little cooler than the ones at Goodreads.

The other place I get book recommendations is on Absolute Write, and I'm sure other writing forums are equally helpful. Even if you're not a writer, it's worth lurking to see what people interested in the craft have to say. There are subforums for every genre, but the Young Adult thread is here.

Of course the risk here is the one my friend Lindsay mentioned: Overload. My current "to read" list is over 100 books. I like it though. It makes me feel rich in choices, if not money to buy those choices. I certainly don't worry that I'll get bored.

Happy Reading!


  1. How did I not know this??


    Thanks, Kate!

  2. I really should utilize Goodreads more! And thanks for the other links! :>

  3. I've gotten many good recommendations from Goodreads.

    I also look at Amazon's list, the one that goes something like "people who purchased this book also bought...."


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