My ever expanding wishlist

Novels in a Polish bookstore

Novels in a Polish bookstore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As of the date of this post, my wishlist is 2,628 books and it is constantly expanding. Every time I hear of a good book I might like to read, on to my wishlist it goes. Honestly, my wishlist is getting so long, I doubt I’ll put a serious dent in it before I die. It seems like every time I read a book off my wishlist, I hear of another book I’d like to read. Some are newly released, others are old books that I just hadn’t heard of before (in fact, sometimes it seems like everybody but me has heard of them). So where do I (eventually) find out about all these wonderful books?

My main source of information is www.bookcrossing.com and, by extension, the BookCrossing Australia group on LibraryThing. On the BookCrossing site itself, there are several forums where people either discuss books or offer them up as gifts or bookrings. The BookCrossing group on LibraryThing is where those of us who utilise both sites discuss the books we have recently read – what they were, what we thought of them, how they compare to other books, the usual drill. If I see a book mentioned or discussed that seems like it could be interesting, on to my wishlist it goes. LibraryThing is also useful in another way. Every month they have a service called Early Reviewers, where authors and publishers offer free copies of new books in exchange for an honest book review. They also have a section for member giveaways, where members can give away their newly published or pre-loved books. This is an excellent way to find new books to read (with an opportunity to obtain a free copy).

Another way to find out about good books to read is by browsing bookstores – an activity I engage in at every opportunity. Most of the time I don’t actually have any money to spend, but I carry a little notebook to list any book that catches my interest. Bookstores are good, in that they have their books divided into different categories, and they usually have a shelf devoted to new releases. It is also a great place to find out if your favourite author has released anything new recently. Libraries are also a great place to browse the shelves, especially if you like older or out-of-print books.

When combined, magazines and Amazon are a great source of inspiration for non-fiction reads. For example, when I see a book mentioned in a magazine, I will look it up on Amazon. If the blurb on Amazon sounds interesting, I will add the book to my wishlist. Then I will scroll to the section called ‘Customers who bought this item also bought’, and check out the suggestions there. If something seems of interest, I click on it, read the blurb and perhaps add it to my wishlist. I then repeat the process until I run out of books that interest me, or time, whichever comes first. It can be interesting to see how different the subject you finish up on is from the one you originally searched.

My final source of good books is the oldest source of all time – word of mouth. Recommendations from friends and family comprise the smallest percentage of my wishlist books. However, they generally turn out to be the most reliable – probably because they know my taste in books as well as I do myself. Or maybe they just share my taste. Maybe both?

In any case, if you are stuck for something to read, or are simply looking for something outside your usual genre, why not give one of the above methods a try? You just might find yourself pleasantly surprised. As for me, I’m off to work on my goal of reducing my wishlist by at least 5% before I die. Wish me luck – I’m going to need it!

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