The 6 Best Sources for Building a Reading List

New Year, New Reading Goals

Now that 2016 is here, many of us are focused on goals. New Year’s resolutions tend to be health-oriented. My own resolutions have focused on that in the past. This time, however, I decided to set a reading goal. I plan to read forty books for pleasure (i.e., outside of work-related reading). If you follow me on Goodreads, you will see my progress there.

Setting reading goals is a great idea to motivate yourself to read more. I know I constantly fall into the trap of aimless “Facebooking” and other “Interneting,” and I know I’m not alone. I made the conscious decision to read more books in 2016 instead of waste as much time as I did in 2015, and I hope others will do the same.

Reading Dilemma: Too Many Books to Choose From

A major issue for me when it comes to reading and motivation is that I get overwhelmed by all the books I want to read (the classic “too many books, not enough time”). There is something to be said about the paradox of choice. This is why I chose to do a specific reading challenge: it creates limitations. Without limitations, I’d likely continue my usual indecisiveness regarding what I want to read and when.

Too many books? You need a reading list.

Too many books? You need a reading list.

If you find yourself facing the same dilemma, I suggest doing a reading challenge like the one I’m doing. If that doesn’t interest you enough, or if you wish to maintain more control over your reading habits, then try to at least impose your own limitations on your reading choices. You can do this by tapping into several sources for suggestions.

The 6 Best Sources for Building Your Reading List in 2016

  1.  Goodreads ( is a popular site for book lovers. It allows you to build lists of books you’ve read and want to read. It also allows you to rate books and write reviews, among other things. What makes the site particularly useful is that it’s also a great source for finding books to read. But rather than simply browse through the site and still have too many books to choose from, there are a few ways to narrow things down a bit.
    • Friends: Goodreads has a friend system not unlike Facebook’s. This allows you to see what your friends have read, are reading, and want to read. You can also see how they’ve rated books. There is even a tool that lets you compare your books with a friend’s to see your similarities/differences.
    • Listopia: This is a section of the site that allows users to build lists based on various themes. Other users then vote on them. Many of these thematic lists are very popular (having thousands of voters), and they might help you decide on reading certain titles over others.
    • Recommendations: Goodreads has a recommendations tool based on the books you’ve listed and how you’ve rated them. It also takes into account your favourite genres. This tool is a good way to discover books you might never have come across by other means.
  2. Facebook is now home to many companies, organizations, and even celebrities. By “liking” book-related pages, you can get ideas for reading from your feed daily. Pro tip: Organize your liked pages with lists using Facebook’s “Interests” feature; it makes it easier to access specific content whenever you want.
  3. Ask your mentor/boss/role model/hero what they’re reading. Also consider simply asking what books they’d recommend to you. People are often flattered when asked about subjects they’re interest in. You might be surprised by how generous they are with their recommendations. And while you might not personally know your role model or hero, social media is now so mainstream that there’s a good chance yours will discuss what they read, or at least discuss what their personal interests are.
  4. Your local library is an excellent source for ideas. In this age of Internet technologies, smartphone apps, and social media ubiquity, try not to overlook your city’s public library system. Librarians are educated, trained, and experienced in seeking and recommending books and other resources, and they can cater these to your interests. It might seem “old school” to go this route, but this option could become invaluable to you.
  5. Your local bookstore is likely staffed with passionate booksellers with a lot of experience recommending books to readers like you. Indie bookstores are especially good because they tend to be more specialized in their offerings. You might already be used to asking booksellers to help you find a title you’re looking for. Next time, try asking one to help you find an interesting book that you might be unaware of. This is how hidden gems are unearthed.
  6. Are you about to finish reading a fascinating nonfiction title? Be sure to have a look at the bibliography, recommended reading, etc. These are great avenues for exploring a subject further. Also, many fiction and poetry titles contain a list of other titles by the author, and some publishers even list titles by other authors they’ve published that might interest you.

I wish you the best in 2016. Happy reading!

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