You find that you’re nowhere near the friends and share your literature tastes. It’s been a Stone Age since you’ve been in school and you dont have access to a hip librarian or brick-and-mortar bookstore or informative publications like the New York Times Book Review. But it dined the oldest of quality literature. So what do you do?
A really great way to find excellent books to read is to look at book club recommendations. Of course, you might want to nose around a little too get an idea as to which book club profile fits your tastes first, so the following are a few descriptions of the clubs and the kinds of recommendations they put forth, whether direct suggestions or indirect tips:
MAIL ORDER BOOK CLUB RECOMMENDATIONS
When I was a kid, Moma voracious readerbelonged to a mail-order book club. Later, when I was old enough to have my own account, I joined with her. I don’t remember exactly which club that initial one was, but these are the most popular:
Quality Paperback Books
The Literary Guild
Each mail-order set up is unique, but does have a common, tedious trend: they send you a notification of the recommended title (based on the information you signed up with about your reading habits) and or whichever bookends the hat at the time. If you get the card first and do not refuse the offer, you get the bookand have to pay for it. If the books are automatically sent to you, you have to return it within a relatively short period of time after getting it or you will be charged. This is the main complaint of these clubs, though a close second complaint is the title listings arent all that inspiring. These aren’t always the current bestsellers and they’re obviously inventory that they want to clear out.
TV BOOK CLUB RECOMMENDATIONS
On TV there to television shows that discuss books that I can think of. Charlie Roses author interviews and Oprahs Book Club. Both are, in my case, American offerings, the former showing only on public broadcasting, but 214 of them throughout the country.
Charlie Rose runs the gamut by covering just about any kind of literature. The authors that he usually speaks are contemporary fiction and nonfiction writers. A few of the authors that I’ve seen on these very shows include such literary luminaries as the embarrassingly liberal Maureen Dowd, action man Tom Clancy, James Risen, Toni Morrison, and Seamus Heany.
Oprah is a horse of a different color. She generally interviews authors, too, but her book club goes a bit further, she is an avid reader and because of that she finds the authors of books she loves, which is of course completely understandable. She first introduces the book and then panels a book discussion session on the book. If you find, as I did, that Oprah’s recommendations mirror the kinds of work that you enjoy reading, or what you once read and agree is a must-read, then it only makes sense to follow her recommendations in the future. She has been dead-on about such titles as Wally Lambs Shes Come Undone; Kaye Gibsons Ellen Foster; and, of course, all (or most) of Toni Morrisons worksbooks that you must read, as Morrison is one of the most prolific authors of our century.
INTERNET BOOK CLUB RECOMMENDATIONS
The Internet is a great place to find niche books sites. That is, if you are an adolescent seeking highly recommended books, you will find TeenInk.com to be a wonderful destination for locating the best books for your age group. If you are Christian who enjoys reading fiction, you will find like-minded individuals on FocusonFiction.net to be most helpful in listing and detailing the best books for Christian fiction lovers.
And single genre sites and top 100 book list sites serve do pretty much the same thing. These include the following:
Nextbook.org a gateway to Jewish literature (comprehensive archive)
Storycode.com book recommendations made by way of a unique search tool
Random Houses List of 100 Best novels [of all time] at http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100bestnovels.html
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