Why I Go to Facebook to Decide What to Read Next

Tell us where you get most of your reading recommendations. Traditional media outlets, Goodreads, Facebook, your favorite bookseller, or old-fashioned word-of-mouth?

For me, choosing my next read is an exercise fraught with equal parts trepidation and eager anticipation.

Thing is: I’ve usually just finished reading something I loved and am feeling deeply satiated yet slightly maudlin over its ending, which makes the selection of a new book read feel very weighted.

Unfortunately, I rely increasingly less on traditional reviews in all the places I used to go, like The New York Times, for instance. It’s not because I don’t still value them; it’s just, sadly, a lack of time. The continual flow of recommendations Amazon sends me based on algorithms developed by what I download on my Kindle are very hit or miss. And I don’t keep up on Goodreads in the way that I used to as much either. Who has time for Facebook and yet another social media hub?

So speaking of Facebook, it’s become one of my main spots to figure out what I’m going to read next – mainly because I know that if I ask for a recommendation there, I’ll get suggestions from people who’s literary tastes I trust, or at least know are in line with my own.

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Sometimes I put up a very simple status: “Looking for next novel to read. Suggestions?”

Other times I’ll give a quick rundown on the last few books I read and liked, to both alert people to my proclivities as well as to prevent shout-outs for things I’ve already consumed.

Sometimes I’ll even highlight certain people in my ask. There’s one woman with whom I used to work, for instance, who uncannily seems to be reading exactly what I am in any given month. I’m either finishing a book she’s just started or vice versa.

Knowing that I can get a quick and generally perfect choice from her is both expedient and satisfying, almost like my own personal shopper for books. It’s the closest thing to word-of-mouth that I can find in the digital age.

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About Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

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