As you can probably tell, I’m a voracious reader. I strive also to stay varied in my reading selections. Too much fiction, and I’ll find myself missing out on some of the many things one can learn through well-informed nonfiction prose. Too much of the various nonfiction genres, and I’ll lose something of the wonder one finds when reading a good story.
Finding Books to Read
There are so many books out there! Whenever I step into the library or bookstore, I get overwhelmed – but in the best possible way. The world just feels full of possibilities.
So, how do I choose? I find books through a variety of sources:
Reviews in periodicals – When I read magazines such as WORLD or Christianity Today, I find a wealth of reading ideas, particularly for Christian non-fiction. I will often put sticky notes next to books that I want to investigate.
Blogs – Other blogs are also a great source for reading ideas. I read a wide variety of blogs, and find book ideas for both fiction and nonfiction there. I think it’s important to get a sense of the blogger’s preferences for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, particularly when looking for resources, I want to have an idea of who is recommending this book. Am I reading a review of a theological work from someone whose view of Scripture is similar to or far different from my own? How well does the blogger know his or her topic? For instance, I hold degrees in history and law, I keep a home, and I love cooking, so I am probably more confident in my recommendations of books in those arenas than I would be in evaluating works on physics and engineering.
Word of Mouth – Another important place for reading recommendations. I’ve gotten great ideas of books to read from pastors and other church leaders. Friends, both online and offline, are also a wonderful source of book information. I enjoy sharing my great finds with friends, and I love it when others do the same. That’s one of many reasons why I’ve been enjoying meeting folks on Twitter and Facebook.
Providence – Sometimes books just providentially cross our paths. We’ve all had that experience. Maybe you picked up a book in the store because you loved its cover, and it turned out to be a fabulous read. Or perhaps you were sorting through your basement and came across a treasure you didn’t even know you had. However it happens, these “Aha!” moments are always wonderful.
So, how have you found some of your favorite books? Any recent reads that you would recommend to others?