Ten ways to expand your reading

As someone who reads in the region of 170-190 books a year, I often get asked where I find new reads. So, in no particular order I’ve put together a list of the different ways I discover books new to me.

1. Book reviews

Newspapers, journals and magazines review books. The Guardian offers a weekly review round-up with Bookmarks.

2. Join a Book Club

I belong to a local book club, and dabble in online theme-specific clubs. If you are interested in books in translation, I recommend the Borderless Book Club run by Peirene Books.

3. Join a book subscription from an indie publisher

As independent publishers look to new business models to survive, some offer a subscription service. I recommend And Other Stories, who specialise in innovative and contemporary fiction.

4. Book blogs, vlogs and social media

There are thousands of Bookstagramers, BookTubers, book loving twitterati and book bloggers out there. I recommend Eric Karl Anderson, posting as The Lonesome Reader on YouTube and his own website.

5. Podcasts

Book podcasts range from in-depth literary analyses to friendly yet knowledgeable chats between friends. Between the Covers hosted by David Naimon is a good example of the former, while What Page Are You On? with Alice Slater and Bethany Rutter is as entertaining as it is informative.

6. Give Yourself a Reading Challenge

Select a topic of interest, and hunt down books concerning that topic. Topics could be a sub-genre, or geography (as author or setting), a colour, a character archetype, or anything you like. For ideas, check out The Guardian’s Top 10s, where authors choose favourite books on their chosen theme.

Alternatively, many groups on Goodreads have reading challenges. Members suggest, then vote for the topics. This adds a bit of competitive spirit to the challenge.

7. Indie Bookshops

Some independents offer a subscription service, or a reading spa. Alternatively, the beauty of the independent is that they know books and are always very willing to suggest potential reads.

Check the button at the foot of the side panel for your local bookshop.

8. Galleys

Sign up to a galley for advance reader copies of books in return for a review. Many, including NetGalley, allow you to select which books you read, and how many you want to read.

I have been introduced to many debut authors this way, where I have been prepared to take a chance on a book because it is free.

9. Prize lists

Aim to read all or most of the books on a prize list. I enjoy books in translation, so I always look forward to the announcement of the International Booker Prize long list. The Not the Booker Prize is also worth taking a look at and tends to have a more interesting selection than its namesake.

10. Retrospectives & Horizon Scans

Many broadsheets and bloggers publish retrospectives of the best books of the past year, and what to look forward to in the year ahead.

How do you find new books?

Want to keep up with what I’m reading? Follow me on Goodreads.

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