I've always considered myself an avid reader and a huge bookie. I could spend hours in a bookstore and have always prioritized living close to a library.  So over the years, I have honed my technique in finding books that I am going to enjoy from cover to cover.  Here are my 5 tips to finding your next great read:

1. Get recommendations
This may seem pretty straight forward but the best way to find a great book is to ask a great reader.  Recommendations can come from all over: friends/family, bookstore employees, magazine picks and even through social media channels. The most important thing to remember is to make sure the recommender is into the same books as you.  For example, if your friend only reads WWII biographies and you're more of a chick-lit person, you probably won't find their recommendation all that captivating to read. 

2. Do judge a book by its cover
I know the old age wisdom is to not judge a book by its cover but when it comes to actual books, I tend to disagree.  Books are inherently aesthetic and you should be excited by the cover art, the title, the font, etc when you pick it up. Of course, the words and story inside are the most important part but when you're busy scanning the thousands of books at your local library, a good cover is what is going to catch your eye.

3. Read the synopsis
So once I've gotten my recommendations and found an enticing cover, I immediately flip the book over and read the synopsis. This is the author's chance to grab me.  They only get a paragraph or so to convince me their story is worth reading. If I'm not intrigued by the back cover synopsis, I'm not reading the book. 

4. First page test
If the synopsis hooks me, I then move on to my first page test.  I open the book and read the first page of the story.  Here, I'm not exactly looking to be captivated. I understand that most good stories take more than a page to get into. But I am looking to see if I enjoy the format and the author's style of writing. If I can't get a good sense from the first page, I may flip to a random middle page and read a section of it just to give the book a second chance.

5. 50 pages to love it
So at this point I have decided to read the book but I still give myself one more out. I commit to reading the first 50 pages (shorter if it's a short book).  If I am not in love with the story by the end of the 50 pages, I give myself permission to stop reading. I hate the idea of reading a book just to finish it. You should enjoy what you're reading (mandatory school readings aside).  50 pages is more than enough time for an author and a storyline to connect with me.  If I don't want to turn to page 51, I put the book down.

Bonus: It's okay if you hate the book! 
A lot of book-lovers get really worried if they don't love a popular or critically acclaimed book.  But, that's okay! So what if you think Jane Austen is boring or if (like me) Catcher in The Rye was the most painful thing you've ever read in school? It doesn't matter! Reading is supposed to be fun and enjoyable - it shouldn't be a chore! And variance in book tastes is why so many genres of literature exist. If we all loved mystery novels there would be no need for fantasy, romance, biographies, etc. Don't get caught up in the idea that just because the New York Times/your book club/your mom really loved a book that you have to as well.  Just follow the tips above and find the perfect book for you! 

Published by Riana Autumn