When I was younger choosing which books to read was easy. I’d consult my list of books that Rory Gilmore would read (there was a legit list of all the books she read in the series) and pick something from there. Years later and I’ve completed that entire list and needed a new source of book recommendations. I’ve found a system that works and is completely free. If, like me, you just can’t afford new books at the breakneck rate you read.

Compile Your List

Goodreads is an obvious choice if you just want to browse some of their fantastic lists and recommendations. I don’t even have an account and just click around. I’ve found Book of the Month to be a great resource for fresh, newly-released options every month. If you’re someone who likes to purchase their books, I definitely recommend signing up for their service. But I find that just looking at what books they’ve sent out in the past and reading their descriptions does the trick. You aren’t able to read the descriptions unless you make an account, but I’ll just look them up online to see what the story is about.

As I’m going through Goodreads and Book of the Month Club I write down all of the various books that have peaked my interest on a page in my planner. There’s really no system to it. Just titles and authors. If you purchase your books, you could do this in an Amazon list or on paper as a shopping list for your local bookstore. Libraries usually have a section on their portals where you can make lists as well. But I’m a pen to paper person through and through.

If someone mentions a book online or in person that they’ve enjoyed reading, I’ll write it down on a scrap of paper or make a mental note to read a description about it. Then, if it interests me, I’ll ask to borrow the book or add it to my “to read” list.

book tracker

Place Holds at Your Library

I’ll use my library’s online portal to place holds on the books I’ve written down in the first step. Most of the time the books recommended by the Book of the Month Club are either not purchased by the library yet or have long waits. I’ll place a hold on them anyway and add myself to the wait list. I don’t particularly mind because the Goodreads selections tend to fill in those gaps. Plus it’s kind of fun not knowing exactly what books will come when. I’ll check how many people are in line ahead of me as I add the books into the system. I won’t have more than two or three in there that don’t have wait times. That way I’m not swimming in books and they trickle in. I get a text message when they’re ready at my library and go do curbside pickup.

Document Your Progress

If you read a book and don’t write it down, did you even read it? I mean duh, you still read it, but there’s something so satisfying about documenting which books you’ve read. I use these Build Your Own Bookshelf stickers in the back of my planner and write on the sticker spines when I finish a book. There’s nothing that inspires you to keep reading than seeing some empty books in need of titles.

I’d love to hear how you find book recommendations!