Books: What Book Should I Read?

Dougs-booksI often have strangers ask me for a book recommendation. They walk right up to me and say something like, “Can you tell me what book to buy? Because, I have trouble thinking for myself so I figured I’d ask you. You work in a bookstore.” Where that might be a good idea in theory, it isn’t a good way to find a book. For starters, you might end up asking the bookseller who is super into dry historical non-fiction, or worse YA fiction. You’ll get talked into reading a book about a seventeen year old girl in love with outter-space vampires who are dying of cancer. Which kind of sounds awesome now that I think about it… But how are we supposed to know what you like? You might as well ask me to pick out a gift for your wife and kids.

You should be able to give the bookseller something to work with. Tell them the last book you really liked, or an author you love. Tell them what themes you are interested in and if you are open to non-fiction. Do a little research before asking someone to choose for you. If you can’t be bothered to do even that, here are a few books that you definitely should read.

  • You should read the book that you hear two booksellers arguing about while in the bookstore. Whatever it is, it was good enough to garner debate.
  • You should read the book that you see someone reading on the bus, trying to hide that they’re laughing. Or crying. Or both.
  • You should read the book you find at a yard sale with the inscription which says, “Happy Birthday! I hope this book has brought you as much joy as it has brought me. Love Grandma Jolene. 1949″
  • You should read the book that you find in the airplane seat pocket, on a park bench, on the bus, at a restaurant, or in a hotel room, or in a Book Sharing Library. Free books are the best, especially when they are found books.
  • BeFunky_Zarsthors_Bane_1983_95491-X.jpgYou should read the book that you find on the library’s free cart with the best or most outrageous cover. I found a copy of Zarsthor’s Bane (1978) and couldn’t believe no one had snatched it up before me. Just look at that cover! PS – It has illustrations inside, and cats. Lots of cats.
  • You should read the book that everyone claims to have read, but hasn’t.
  • You should read the book you avoided reading in High School because you thought it looked boring.
  • You should read your favorite book from when you were in high school. Reading it as an adult will be a whole new experience.
  • You should read the book about a place or time that makes you uneasy. Stretch your limits.
  • You should read prize-winners, bestsellers, beach reads, book club picks, and classics, when you feel like it. Mix it up!
  • 1959452_10152154561902496_1939943964569190439_nYou should read the book that is the polar opposite of the book you just finished.
  • You should read a book by a man if you just finished a book by a woman. (Or Vice Versa)
  • You should read the book that your favorite author says is her favorite book.
  • You should read the book that Jon Stewart can’t stop talking about.
  • You should read the book that your girlfriend just finished so you can talk about it with her. Chicks dig that.
  • You should read the book that your dad, teacher, friend or bookseller offhandedly says, “…which was a great book by the way…”
  • You should read the book before you see the movie.
  • You should read the book on the Staff Recommendations display of your local indie bookstore. The one with the funny blurb, not the one exuding exultations.
  • You should read the book about your city and its history that was written by someone who grew up there.
  • You should read the book set in the place you are about to travel to.
  • tumblr_lqswn2tC5r1qd9gmoYou should read a book from a genre you don’t normally read. Try a mystery or a science fiction novel if you normally go for literary fiction. You might be surprised!
  • You should read the book that your boyfriend says is his favorite.
  • You should read the book with characters you might not like.
  • You should read the book you’ve started a few times and keep meaning to finish.
  • You should read books about places you have lived or traveled to. See if your perceptions and memories match up.
  • You should read books about historical events you don’t know anything about.
  • You should read books about things you already know a little about and learn more.
  • You should read the book with an adorable kitten on the cover.
  • You should read the book you’ve never heard of before.
  • You should read the book that everyone is talking about. After they’ve stopped talking about it.
  • You should read books mentioned in other books.
  • You should read the book you feel drawn to.
  • You should read the book you feel like reading.
  • You should just read.
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5 thoughts on “Books: What Book Should I Read?

  1. This is awesome. You had some good points! I am a writer and my first book. ” Because of You” is coming out this fall! Can I guest post on your blog or would you be willing to recommend my book?

  2. Hello, Alicia, I am here only to say thank you for your blog. I read it only in frame of my goodbye to Prague as I moved to some even most fairytale city 90km northwest from Prague. I had need to kind of finish my 15 year Prague experience and your insights are unique. First snow in Prague, potato cooking in Vinohrady flat with no job and future and Riegrovy sady perpetual adventures are like our shared past. Thanks.

  3. Nice blog, Alicia. But re “You should read the book that your girlfriend just finished so you can talk about it with her. Chicks dig that.” I’ve read 3 Nicholas Sparks books on just that premise. That is entirely enough.

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