I’m sure you know the feeling. You’ve just finished reading the last page, last paragraph, last word of a fantastic book. You close it, put it down, and are struck with that itchy feeling, that need to just keep reading. But what? It’s going to have to be something good to live up to the book you’ve just put down. Will the next book you pick up have a character quite as lovable as that one hero you grew so attached to? Or will it have someone quite as chilling as that other character that was so ambiguous you couldn’t figure out if they were a hero or a villain (but you were so invested in them nonetheless)? And what about that ending?! And the way it tied so well back into that chapter where there was that confrontation that made you question everything you’d thought about where the book was heading. How are you going to find another book as good as that one?
Maybe though, this wasn’t the feeling you got when you finished your last book. Maybe you slogged through it. Getting slowly through page after page of foolish characters doing foolish things over and over and over and over. Maybe none of the characters were particularly good people and you dragged yourself through chapter after chapter of them all making each other unhappy with their poor decisions, hoping that maybe once, just once one of them would do something redeemable, but they never do. Maybe the characters aren’t even that bad, but the combined mix of foolish decisions and self-interest just put you off them entirely. Maybe the author’s writing style just didn’t catch you. Perhaps they included too many descriptions of food, of oatfarls and elderflower cream and shrimp and hotroot soup and acorn scones and dandelion tea (I’m looking at you Brian Jacques!), or not enough descriptions of food and too much dialogue! If you’ve been reading a book that you really struggled to get to the end of (but still persevered through to the last page) you might be left with a bad taste in your mind and the need to consume something actually good, or at least better suited to your tastes.
Whether or not you enjoyed the last book you read, upon closing its cover for the final time you will be, I am very sure, be beginning to ponder over the question “But what will I read next?”
And that’s what I’m here to help with! So sit back, pour yourself a glass of dandelion tea, and ready yourself for wall of text I’m about to present you with.
Tip number #1 (And this one may be slightly too obvious, so my apologies if so!)
Did you like the book you just finished? Has that author written anything else? Do you want to read something else by the same author? If your answer to all three of these questions is yes, then simply jump on over to our catalogue and search them up by name. Maybe they’ve written an eight-book series. That should give for reading material for a few weeks! And remember, reserving is free here! (As long as you collect your reserve…)
Tip number #2
Ask your friends! A recommendation from a friend is always better than one from some faceless internet amalgam. Your friends, I assume, will know some things about you, like what you like and don’t like, and should be able to point you in the direction of something they’ve loved that you’ll love too.
A bonus of following this tip is that once you’ve read your friend’s reading recommendation you can have in-depth and intense discussions about every aspect of the book. Always a fun time!
Tip number #3
If you really like an author, but you’ve read every single thing they’ve written, or you’d like a bit of a change, or you’re fifty-sixth in the hold queue for the next book and you need something to tide you over until it arrives, then I highly recommend you try out Literature Map.
Literature Map is a website that maps authors. Type in the name of an author, and it will show you other authors you might like. The more people who like the author you searched for and another author, the closer together their names appear on the map.
Have a look at this screenshot:
I really like Megan Whalen Turner and I’m anxiously waiting for the day when all of her books are available as eAudiobooks on Libby. Looking at the names that appear on her map, I also like Joan Aiken, Tamora Pierce, Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Wein, Patricia Wrede, Frances Hardinge, and some things by Sherwood Smith. I’ve also read some Laurie J. Marks, Hilari Bell, Lois McMaster Bujold, Kristen Cashore, and Robin Mckinley. A pretty good map!
We’ve also got a Who Writes Like page here on our own website, though it’s aimed a bit more towards adult fiction.
Tip number #4
Check out our booklists! They’re right here on our website and have been carefully and thoughtfully compiled by real people who work here at Wellington City Libraries.
Tip number #5
Try the internet – read some reviews, find some booklists, or find a book blogger whose tastes align with your own.
I recommend having a browse through the Out on the Shelves booklists or signing up for a Goodreads account. All the titles on the Out on the Shelves lists have been user-submitted and vetted by the wonderful people at InsideOUT. Goodreads lets you choose your favourite genres, rate the books you’ve read, read reviews written by other readers, and it will give you recommendations based on the books you’ve already added to your “read” shelf- the more you read, the better their recommendations will be!
So these have been all my tips. I hope at least one of them has been useful for you. And if they haven’t you can always rely on my fallback option, listening to Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief eAudiobooks basically on repeat. Trust me, they’re great.