Do you ever wander the big book store aisles and feel overwhelmed? First of all there are the shelves and displays full of placemats and candles, fuzzy animals and cozy blankets. And then the bargain shelves can be filled with unbelievable titles you’d never read in a million years.
Or do you head into the local library and end up totally put off by the worn books lining the shelves? You pick one up (I like the long ones!) and sneeze in its dust. Or you try a well-thumbed one only to wonder how many hands have touched its every page.
And yet, you love to read. Your favourite Christmas present is books or book store gift certificates. You frequent the library as often as the grocery store and pay next to nothing. Finding a new book from one of your favourite authors and losing yourself in it is about the best way to spend an afternoon.
Don’t get me wrong. I love book stores and libraries. I just realize there are some better ways to search them for treasures.
Five Ways to Find a Great Read
- Ask the librarian. People who work in libraries invariably love to read and if you find someone who loves your favourite genres your work is most likely done.
- Book stores often have “Picks” tags on books they are featuring. Some of those employees read voraciously, so much so that they have their own sticker affixed to their favourites. And they’ll even write reviews sometimes, which might be posted in the store or online.
- Read book columns in the newspaper as often as you can. These will show what books are popular and selling well. Chances are bestsellers will be enjoyable but you’ll be wise to vet them in other ways as well. I’ve been fortunate to have The Loyalist’s Wife on our local best seller list many times in the last months thanks to our wonderful book store.
- Listen to others who read what you like to read. Years ago a friend with whom I taught started telling me about great historical fiction. Lynne introduced me to Sharon Kay Penman’s amazing The Sunne in Splendor and I’ve never found any duds in all of the rest of Penman’s books. I’ve been an ardent fan ever since. Ask your sister. While historical fiction always thrills me, through my sister, Linda, I’ve met several other excellent books. We shall an affinity for great stories and stellar writing. When she mentions a title to me, I listen. She got me to read The Help and many more.
- When in the library find the shelf of wonderful new releases. This is now my go-to place and I delight in finding books in the same pristine shape as those I buy. I know, this is a foible, for sure, but it’s me.
Joining a book club is something I’ve always wanted to do and I even tried to start one a few years ago. We met at a friend’s house, about six of us, and had a discussion ostensibly about The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s huge hit. Unfortunately the discussion wandered away from the book and we, good friends all, mostly talked about kids and husbands, politics and religion, and the latest good recipes, if I remember correctly. These days I get a thrill out of visiting book clubs as a guest speaker.
In the comments below, feel free to share your best ways to find great books to read.
For All Lovers of Historical Fiction
Available Now: The Loyalist’s Wife, the first book in The Loyalist Trilogy!
by Elaine Cougler, winner of the WCDR 2014 Pay It Forward Scholarship
When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.
With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.