How do you find the books you read?

I’ve been thinking recently about how I find the books I read. I used to spend a lot of time browsing book shops and I have discovered some fantastic books this way. But I think I do this less than I used to, especially now my local Waterstones has merged with the local HMV making it very busy on a Saturday afternoon.

I thought it would be interesting to dig out the books I have read so far this year from my Goodreads account and see how it was I happened upon each of them.

Richard Yates by Tao Lin

This one came from browsing Amazon. I can’t remember what I started by looking at but I followed a few of the ‘people who liked this also liked’ links. I had never heard of the author before but the write-up was interesting enough for me to buy it. It’s fun to browse Amazon in this way. If you start with a book you love you can find some really interesting stuff.

Fup by Jim Dodge

This was a special promotion on kindle. They had a few different books available cheap for a short time over Christmas and this was the one that I most fancied reading.

Confessions of a Conjurer by Derren Brown

I’ve been a big fan of Derren Brown for a long time now. The first I ever saw of this book was a big display in Waterstones but if I hadn’t discovered it then I would have by some other means for sure.

All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

Another happenstance discovery from journeying through Amazon. Possibly the same trip that led me to Richard Yates.

Room by Emma Donoghue

I wrote about this one in another post. Short-listed for the Booker prize, sounded interesting and ultimately was purchased as part of a three for two offer. I think I would probably have bought it even if it hadn’t been in the three for two.

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

Hard to say when I first heard about this book but it had been on my things-to-read-eventually list for a long time. Sartre is too famous to worry about how people hear about him.

Naive, Super by Erlend Loe

Another Amazon discovery. I think this one came by following links that started at The Virgin Suicides.

Why Do Buses Come in Threes? The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life by Robert Eastaway

Lent to my by a friend at work after we got chatting about maths.

The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith

There was a show on TV around the same time as World Book Night where celebrities of varying degrees would talk about favourite books. This book was mentioned on that show and it sounded quite good so I downloaded it for free on kindle.

Little Hands Clapping by Dan Rhodes

This one I found by browsing the shelves at the Southend branch of Waterstones. I had never heard of the author before either so it was purely by picking it up and reading the back of the book and the first few lines that I decided to buy it.

The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey

There was another show on World Book Night about selecting a group of debut authors to keep an eye on (because they are talented rather than because they are likely to try and steal your cutlery). This book was the first and most emphatically selected book on the list and it sounded very interesting to me.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I had heard about this book from a lot of people tweeting that it was their current read but it was another work friend that got me reading it. He not only told me it was very good, but also loaned me his copy.

Help! A Bear is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen

Yet another discovery by roaming unsupervised around Amazon. It is, incidentally, pure coincidence that I read two books about people having a hard time surviving in Alaska back to back.

So, whats the score? Amazon recommendations accounts for five. Personal recommendations accounts for two. World book night and associated television programs accounts for two. Booker prize short-list accounts for one, author being terribly famous gives us two more. Browsing bookshops only accounts for one.

I guess it’s not a big surprise that Amazon rates so highly. I do spend a fair bit of time exploring the new releases and recommendations. This does inspire me to buy a few more random books off the shelves though.

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