How to choose a library book you’ll actually enjoy
Have you ever decided that today is the day you will borrow a book from the library and actually read it, or more importantly, enjoy it? If you have, but with little success, then our contributor Bryn is here to help you with her top tips:
- Firstly relax! A library book is for a loan period not forever.
- A library is a business as much as it is a place of literary and academic discovery, the people who work there often know a thing or two about books. If you are utterly genre-less, lost and unaware of where to start then ask someone who works there. Based on what you like, or alternatively what you’ve already read, they will be able to suggest a title or at least point you to the right shelves for the next stage.
- If human interaction is not something you enjoy then I direct you to Goodreads where based on the books you’ve read and rated they can suggest a plethora of novels across every genre. Too much trouble or don’t feel what you’ve read in school is an accurate indication of your taste? No problem, Goodreads also has lists and groups for genres, tropes and authors where hundreds of titles have been curated for your perusal. The user-generated tag and rating system is a handy guide for the indecisive.
- If, however, you should choose to physically step inside the library without research and be directed to a section; horror, young adult, historical fiction or even to a recommended reads bookshelf and still find yourself lost then, don’t worry. The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is taken too literally sometimes and I completely understand and support that, but I also support people picking things because the cover looks interesting to them.
- It’s got vines and a tree on it and the title sounds confusing? Cool.
- He’s shirtless and wearing a kilt and the word ‘passion’ or ‘rogue’ features across his pectorals? Fantastic
- There’s two pale hands holding an apple… you catch my drift. If the cover appeals to you then there is nothing stopping you giving it a whirl!
- “But what if the book I choose isn’t a good book!” – Devalue your expectations of what a book will do to you. This is a library not a tattoo; by very definition you only have the book (or books) you choose temporarily. Picking a book you don’t enjoy or one that isn’t a Times Bestseller or a highly rated classic isn’t a big deal, especially when you have to hand it back in 14 days time. Similarly, there is no shame in not finishing a book. You wouldn’t finish an uncooked meal so why finish a book that leaves a sour taste in your mouth? Put it down and choose again, it’s free after all.
- Remember: No time spent reading is wasted. Bad literature can contain nuggets of inspiration or decent prose. Even truly terrible literature should serve as an example of how to do better. Picking a book you don’t enjoy just enables you to choose better in the future, to cater to your personal preference.
- Above all, reading should be a pleasant experience. A predominantly solitary activity the audience comprises of you, you’re the only one that has to be pleased, so don’t stress. Pick something that catches your eye and if it doesn’t hold your attention then pick again…there are so many worlds to lose yourself in, don’t be afraid to start.
Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments below!