How to pick a book you will actually read?
If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.
DISCLAIMER: I swear on my favourite book that this is not an attempt to turn everyone into a reader.
It is a struggle to find good books. There, I said it. I have been a reader for almost a decade now and I scuffle with finding the right book to read even today. There is so much literature in the world to be explored, it gets overwhelming.
For those of us, who are readers, this choice is still easier to make. We know the kind of storytelling we like and the kind of writing we appreciate.
But those who are just turning into readers or are eager to explore the habit, it is a crazy decision. I have been asked to recommend books so many times and as unpleasant as it is to share this, my book recommendations have mostly backfired. Badly.
So, I have learned two things in my experience. One of them goes back to the way my reading developed and the other comes from my backfired recommendations.
Avoid picking classics
If you google, which book should I read, it would give you a list of the best x number of books ever written. And most of them would be what most readers call classics. Do not, I repeat, do not pick a book from that list to read.
Books that qualify as classics already have notions, ideas, suggestions, and takeaways associated with them. If you’re going through the list you just googled, it will plant some pre-expectations in your mind. This would affect your judgment when you read the book. Because, in your subconscious, you have already been told how to read that book.
For my first 5 reading years, I read everything except classics. Most of my books were picks from my school library. The first book that turned me into a reader was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. And that book is not as famous even today. Most people don’t even know who Sylvia Plath was. But to me, she is, and will always be, someone who changed my life.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the most recommended books on the planet. I read that book in 2016. And I will tell you, I did not like it. I understand how it could have been a bold book given the time when it was written and the story it narrates but I do not see why it’s a classic.
I was able to form that opinion because, in 8 years, I had the time to explore the writing I enjoy and the one I don’t. If I would have read this book back when I was a younger reader, I would be just another sheep in the heard praising it without my own opinion.
Pick a genre for yourself
This is the lesson I have learned from my backfired recommendations. You need to pick a genre for yourself. Otherwise, you will most likely not enjoy the book. My favourite genres are historical fiction and sad writing. I love reading tragedies. I have a thing for sad, grief-stricken books.
Because of that, I have mostly recommended people the books I like and they have not talked to me very much after that.
If you’re looking to explore literature, you need to pick a genre for yourself. You must have an idea about what you might or do like. Are love-stories your thing? Or thrillers and mysteries give you a kick? Or do you like your imagination running wild with sci-fi stuff?
Figure out the answer to this question and then pick a book. If it’s a genre you’re interested in, you’re more likely to stick to the book.
Judge a book by its cover
To conclude, forget what they say and judge away. Pick a book because it has pretty art on it or because its character is named after your dog or better yet because it is set in your city.
Read whatever you like and never apologize for your reading taste.