by Staff Writer
Reading is a great pastime that promotes imaginative thinking, relaxes your mind, and gives you a greater understanding of humanity, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Reading lists can help keep you focused on your reading and motivate you to read more than you otherwise might. Here's how to choose books that you'll enjoy and create a useful, engaging, and fun reading list.
Remember things you like. An easy place to start is to look at the list of the books you've already read and pick a few of your favorites. Everyone has read books in school, usually from approved reading lists or as a group in class. Try to remember if any of these were particularly appealing to you and consider picking it up again. You may find that books you read in your youth have different nuances now that you're older.
Shop by genre. If you are a fan of science fiction films, it's a good bet you'll enjoy science fiction writing as well. If you like westerns or period pieces, consider picking up something set in those eras. Whatever genre you like in film, there's likely similar stories and settings to be found in books.
Consider the classics. Every genre contains books thought of as classics or popular favorites. Classics are often set aside in selected sections or as discounted books.
Consider short story collections or anthologies. Many authors write short stories and include them in themed collection books. This is a good way to find new authors in genres you enjoy. Many of these include a biography section or a preface that lists the notable titles of specific authors who participated.
Read books that have been made into movies. Many movies are actually based on books, but the story may be cut for time and content by the director. Some movies go so far as to change characters and plot points. Picking up the original book on which your favorite movie is based can give you a lot of insight into the film.
Stick with an author. Chances are, if you liked one book by a certain author, you'll love his or her other books, too. If you find that you like a particular author, go ahead and pick up other books from his or her collection. These are often listed somewhere near the front or back of the book. Often, you can pick up multiple titles bound or sold together for a cheaper price than the individual books would be.
Seek out professional recommendations. Often authors and celebrities themselves recommend books they enjoyed or that inspired them. Check interviews or reviews of books to find their recommendations. Once you find a few good libraries where you enjoy hunting for new books, ask the staff if they have reading lists and recommendations; dedicated readers love to share.
Don't limit your reading. It's easy to decide you don't like a genre or that certain books are too long or too short to hold your interest, but such snap judgments could be a mistake. If you think a book might be enjoyable, just pick it up and try it. It's better to be surprised by a book you enjoyed unexpectedly than to pass up on a book for unfounded reasons.
Keep track of what you read and what you liked or didn't like. It's easy to forget recommendations or your personal interests after a while, so write them down. Note what you liked or hated and any new interests or goals you might find.