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17 Ways To Find Good Books To Read

17 Ways To Find Good Books To Read

Finding good books to read can at times appear to be a troublesome prospect. However, in this age of global Internet communities and online sharing, you’re never far away from an incredible find. Courtesy of the Internet, and traditional means, here is a list of ways to find yourself an incredible new author. Outstanding? Indeed, sir/madam.

1. The Book Seer

    Ask the Book Seer what to read next, and based on your preferences, he’ll kindly suggest a similar author and book.

    2. Goodreads

    meet your next favorite book

      Goodreads is a nifty community website which allows you to connect with literature fans around the world. Millions of books are rated on Goodreads; sign up, read the reviews, see the high scores, and find good books within minutes.

      3. Head for Nobel Prize Winners

        Anyone who’s won a Nobel Prize in Literature knows what they’re doing. Think Jean-Paul Sartre (pictured above with Simone de Beauvoir and Che Guevara in 1960), Albert Camus, Pearl S. Buck, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and many other luminaries. Here’s the official list.

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        4. Take a Look at Best Books Ever Lists

          There are plenty of them, but this Top 100 Books of all Time list was voted for by writers from around the world. You can find the list here–100 books is sure to keep anyone busy for a considerable amount of time.

          5. WhichBook

            Another impressive online resource, WhichBook “enables millions of combinations of factors and then suggests books which most closely match your needs.” Handy.

            6. Avoid Best Sellers

              This may sound like odd advice, but the books you see at the top of the charts may not exactly be riveting reads. Books can succeed merely on an authors name, or through a massive advertising campaign. If you really want to read a best seller, check out a few reliable reviews beforehand (from critics and readers); otherwise, give lesser known authors a try.

              7. Penguin Classics

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              Penguin classics

                The Penguin’s Classics selection is very impressive indeed and can easily fill a bookshelf with great novels. What’s just as good are the suggestion lists you’ll find at the back of Penguin books which offer new titles for you.

                8. Head to Bookstores

                SONY DSC

                  Commercial and independent bookstores often have well received old and new texts placed around the store, so have a read of their synopses and see if any of them are for you. You can also try reading several random pages as this can be a good indication of the quality of writing.

                  9. Talk to Staff

                  librarian

                    Staff do tend to be big literature fans, so if you’re after something on a whim, talk to them for their recommendations. They should well versed on the quality of recently released books, so ask for guidance on new or old authors.

                    10. Ask Friends and Family

                    Ask Friends and Family

                      Chances are, someone in your family or circle of friends is a literature fan–ask them for any books which are must-reads. They’ll probably even lend you some for free.

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                      11. Study Literature

                        Take up a free online literature course and you’ll soon have canonical literature to read and deconstruct for essays. It’s a great way to come across new authors and texts, as well as allowing you to achieve something. Sites such as Learn Out Loud have free courses, whilst Bibliomania offers free study guides.

                        12. The Library

                          The benefits of a library are much like those of bookstores, except everything’s free. Talk to staff for ideas on what to check out, or simply pick an interesting-looking book at random. The joy of libraries is the ability to be able to sit down and read a large portion of the book in the building. There’s no sales pressure as with book stores, and if you enjoy the text, you can rent it.

                          13. Head for obvious Classics

                            You may have heard of 1984, The Old Man and the Sea, Crime and Punishment, and Mrs. Dalloway, but have you read them? Think of all the canonical literary classics you can and head out to read them–your local library will more than likely have them in stock.

                            14. Go to Book Fairs

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                              There are plenty of them in local areas, as well as national events. You can go along to these literature conventions and meet authors and talk to them directly about their book(s). Head straight to the source to see if you’d like to read a new book. The Publishers Association book fair list is a good place to start, but there will be more localized events if you do a community search.

                              15. Watch Films

                                Although it’s frowned upon by some literature fans, watching films is a great way to discover excellent books. A large proportion of the movies you see will be adapted from a literary text. Hunt down the book and read it beforehand (or after seeing the film) to offer a new perspective on the story. Ken Kesey’s brilliant One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is a perfect example–you’d be surprised how much the text differs from the film.

                                16. Join a Book Club

                                  Check your local community for book group meetings. You’ll meet with fellow literature fans, pick a novel to read, and then report back after a few weeks. This is also a good way to meet like-minded people who can share their favorite books with you.

                                  17. Write Your Own

                                    Everyone has a novel in them, and a book will mean a great deal more to you if you’ve written it yourself. It doesn’t have to be a full scale novel of 70,000 words; novellas can be 20,000, and short stories can be even less. There are regular, online community-supported writing projects, such as National Novel Writing Month, where you can gauge your progress and have local meetups with fellow writers for a moral boost.

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                                    Alex Morris

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                                    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                                    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                                    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                                      Why You Need a Vision

                                      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                                      How to Create Your Life Vision

                                      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                                      What Do You Want?

                                      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                                      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                                      Some tips to guide you:

                                      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                                      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                                      • Give yourself permission to dream.
                                      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                                      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                                      Some questions to start your exploration:

                                      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                                      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                                      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                                      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                                      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                                      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                                      • What qualities would you like to develop?
                                      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                                      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                                      • What would you most like to accomplish?
                                      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                                      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                                      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                                      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                                      A few prompts to get you started:

                                      • What will you have accomplished already?
                                      • How will you feel about yourself?
                                      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                                      • What does your ideal day look like?
                                      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                                      • What would you be doing?
                                      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                                      • How are you dressed?
                                      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                                      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                                      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                                      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                                      Plan Backwards

                                      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                                      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                                      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                                      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                                      • What important actions would you have had to take?
                                      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                                      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                                      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                                      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                                      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                                      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                                      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                                      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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