Even if you read 100 books in a year—and you can!—that’s still only a tiny fraction of what’s being published. And if you’ve been in a reading rut, it can be hard to know where to start. I know a bit about recommending books — I host a literary podcast called The Maris Review, and I used to be the editorial director for Book of the Month, so I have a front-and-center seat to preview what’s up and coming in the book world. But you don’t need to be an industry professional to find great books, I promise.
The key is to find the right book for you—the book with that unquantifiable factor that in some way excites you, whether it’s a smart new hardcover by a favorite reporter or a dog-eared copy of a Jacqueline Susann novel you found on the sidewalk. Really, the point is to stay in love with books — that’s what will keep you reading in the post–book report era of your life.
Get on Goodreads
The design may be old and clunky, and I wish the site were better moderated, but Goodreads is the most useful book app available right now. I use its list functionality as a kind of diary to keep track of all the books I’ve read and the ones I want to read. You can note which books you want to read and are currently reading and rate the books you’ve already read.
But more importantly, Goodreads has a social function. I can use it to keep track of what my friends are reading and how they rated the books they’ve read. (See my list of books I’m excited about for 2020.) My friend Tobias reads more widely and rapidly than anyone else I know, so I look at his feed when I want to see which indie press gems I may have missed. My friend Emily specializes in fantasy and horror, so I’ll go to her page if I’m in the mood for something scary.
Don’t worry if you don’t have many Goodreads friends or if they’re not into the same things as you are. You can also follow users informally, without being “friends.” Follow an author you admire — anyone from Laurie Halse Anderson to Celeste Ng — and see what they’re reading. One of my favorite Goodreads users is writer and editor Roxane Gay, who somehow finds the time to write…