What to Read Next: 5 Effective Strategies for the Indecisive Bookworm
So many people are coming together (apart) to read virtually, and we love it. Friends are launching remote book clubs. Parents and teachers are becoming read-aloud professionals. Publishers are hosting read-a-thons (be sure to join Simon & Schuster’s read-a-thon on Saturday, April 18 from 10 am – 5 pm). With all these opportunities arising, we bookworms know how vital it is that you choose your next read wisely. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of strategies that have proven successful for picking your next book—because nobody wants to settle in with their coffee and blankie only to realize they have NO DESIRE for an unreliable narrator at this time.
Once you’ve chosen your next book, go ahead and cheer for the winner. Don’t worry about what the neighbors might think—there are no judgments allowed during this time of social distancing.
The Thinker Pose
Sometimes you fall into a certain mood and you just need to find the right book, otherwise you may end up destroying something—or is that just me? Especially during this social distancing era, it seems like I have a new mood almost every hour—oh what a fun roulette of emotions! One moment I just need to curl up and escape from it all, and the next I crave a sweeping historical nonfiction that MUST end happily. When you encounter a mood of particular persistence, it’s essential that you pick the right book, otherwise you might force yourself upon the wrong pages, and end up rage-reading a book that just doesn’t deserve that cruelty. This is the ideal time to strike up the Thinker Pose, and take a good long look at each book upon your shelf to prepare for the long haul. Ask yourself questions like: “Will this read likely sustain me and my moods for the rest of the day?” or “How might I feel after reading it? Will this book leave me in the depths of despair, which will so not be appropriate for my 6 p.m. virtual game night with friends?”
Success Story: Recently I was in the mood to just cry it out and it needed to be done, but I didn’t have a tear-jerker next up on my TBR list. And so, I maneuvered into Thinker Pose. For hours, I turmoiled between In Five Years, Emma, or Spinning Silver. So many colleagues had recommended In Five Years, advising that it was a tear-jerker, but at the same time, Emma needed to be read before I could watch the new film. Yet Spinning Silver was supposed to be a fun escapist read. After much deliberation, I went with In Five Years, had a cathartic sob, and felt much better.
The Book Bracket
With March Madness canceled this year, we all miss filling out those brackets. Satisfy the bracket craving by making your own competition for what to read next. Tip: this technique can also be used to help you pick out what Netflix show to binge next, which podcast to listen to, etc.
To begin, pick out eight books that you’re most excited to read and put those in the outer brackets. Then, let the games begin and watch your list narrow down as each book competes to become the CHAMPION winner.
Success Story: Here’s an image of a successfully chosen TBR champion.
The Phone a Friend
When has a distressed mind not been soothed after phoning a friend? Let them talk you into your next read and their enthusiasm will carry you through any doubts. And if you don’t have any particularly bookish friends, then let your pet do the deciding for you. They can sniff out the best book and whatever they land on (or chew upon) is your winner.
Success Story: Pippa the cat chose an advance reader copy of Perfect Tunes, and while it took a while to dig the book out from under her fluffy, adorable fur, it made the read that much more enjoyable for me, knowing that it had been chosen by a creature I greatly admire.
The Reading Roulette
When the decision-making is just too hard, let fate decide. Lay out all the books on the floor and throw your deciding object—could be dice or a feather or whatever you desire—at the array. If you can’t even decide on your deciding object then you must be Chidi Anagonye and there’s no help for you. Once you do decide, wherever that object lands on is what you MUST READ next. I recommend this tactic for when you just want to dive into a story, because you know that’ll cut at least a few procrastinating hours from your reading time and avoid setting you up for a stressful reading experience.
The Ask the Internet
When all else fails, you can count on the Internet to have the answers for you. I suggest starting with Get Literary’s ample supply of bookish posts to read. We have TBR lists for fans of You, The Circle, Schitt’s Creek, The Witcher, true crime podcasts, Little Women—and just about everything and anything else you can think of. If you’re a human who consumes content, then we have a bookish list for you somewhere.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve also seen a rise in Twitter recommendation threads. So try combing through some of these lists for a book as well.
We’re writing a feature about books that help us stay calm. Share your favorite comfort read below!— goodreads (@goodreads) March 20, 2020
What’s everyone reading? Are you starting a book you’ve always meant to read? Returning to old favorites? We’re all ears!— Narrative Magazine (@NarrativeMag) March 20, 2020
Find out more about the books featured below!