Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Feel The Need to Read

Some of you may know that I kind of like to read. "Kind of" meaning: holy cow if I don't have a book to read I'm going to go insane. I get questions about my reading habits. Questions like: When are you going to stop reading and start writing? How many books have you read this week? Mommy, can you stop reading and make me lunch?

One question I seem to get a lot, however, is this: How do you find all the books you read?

Well, it's a complicated process really. It involves hours of research, a mild case of sausage fingers, a little chocolate and a scanning electron microscope.

If this process doesn't sound appealing to you, today is your lucky day. I am prepared to simplify my complicated process and share with you a few of my secrets for finding great reads.

Blogs - It's no secret that I very much enjoy the book gems found over at Fuse #8. A recent Fuse #8 blog post listed a few trusted book review sites. I've added those links to my side bar under "Book Stuff" but if you'd like to hear what NYC children's librarian Betsy Bird has to say about them, you can read that here. She also has a list of about a thousand other children's lit blogs on her sidebar for you to peruse when you have a few days with nothing to do.

Fuse #8 also has, from time to time, lists of books that are being considered for awards or that should be considered for awards. I get many book suggestions from these lovely lists.

People - Yes, people, I mean you. I get many suggestions from my fellow readers at Your personal recommendations mean a lot to me and I can trust that if you loved or hated something, I have a good chance of possibly loving or hating it too!

Amazon - I utilize the "customers who read this" feature on When I read a book I can't stop thinking about, I go to Amazon and look up the book. I can find many suggestions for other books both from what Amazon generates and what I read in the comments.

Brick and Mortar Stores - When I find myself in Barnes and Noble or Powell's or Costco's book section, I check out books that look interesting. Yes, it's a lot of judging books by their covers, but I read the jacket flaps too. If a book looks good, I make a mental note, or a written note, depending on my mental state that day, and put it on my list of books to read.

Once I've got a list of books to read, I put it somewhere I will not lose it. For me this means an Excel spreadsheet. also has a feature where you can keep track of books you want to read. Sometimes, I skip the Excel spreadsheet and go right to my library's website.

If you judge best-friendiness by the amount of phone calls you get from a single source, then my library is my best friend. I don't think I will ever tire of hearing, "Our records indicate that you have items being held for you. Our records indicate that you have THREE items being held for you. Please pick these items up as soon as possible. Thank you." (Sigh...)

In case you don't know, you can log onto your library's web site, search their catalog and request items to be held. If your library doesn't have an item, edumacate yourself about inter-library loan. You should be able to lay your paws on just about any book you want.

Sometimes, when I hear about a book that is good, I immediately request it from the library. Occasionally there is a long, long waiting list, but other times there is no waiting list at all. It's good to have several books on your waiting list with various waiting times. This way you will have a nice even flow of books coming to you, and not everything all at once.

So that's it. That's how I find and acquire the books I read. Still too complicated? (I warned you!)

Well, if you want, I suppose you could just ask me for a recommendation and I will be happy to make some suggestions.


Angela said...

Are you going to try to beat your summer reading count from last year? That's when this whole "reading" craze started, right? I'd like to know how many books you read from that time until now. Give me some statistics. That's the stuff I like.

Betty Grace said...

Dang, that is a process. I just figured you went to the library and found something you haven't read yet. I figured it was a minimal selection.

Debbie said...

I would also like to know how many books you've read in the last year! I didn't realize this was a new thing! Interesting to hear about your process (I only knew some of it)!