Stumped on what to read next? Here are some tips to help you decide.
We’ve all been there: you finish a great book and then think, “what should I read next?”. As readers, we typically have endless lists of books we want to read (hello, our queues!), but sometimes it can be hard to determine, from that long list, what exactly to read next.
Because there are so many different types of readers, there are many different ways you can decide what to read next. Perhaps you are a strict list follower and work your way down your list in sequential order. Or maybe you pick up books on a whim as they get recommended to you. We asked fellow readers how they choose their next read, and here is the advice we received:
Read by your mood
Many readers self-identify as ‘mood readers,’ which means they let their mood dictate what they read. They pick up an uplifting book if they are looking for a mood boost. They read a thought-provoking literary fiction book if they are feeling contemplative. We often hear readers share about a time when they couldn’t get into a book even though they thought they would love it. Sometimes this just means the book isn’t for you, but more often, it means you just aren’t in the mood for it (on Italic Type, you can always pause a book you want to set aside). Mood readers recognize these feelings and pick their next read based on those feelings. Perhaps you’ve gone down a Wikipedia rabbit hole about your latest obsession: you pick up a book about that topic. Maybe you’re looking for a book you can devour in 24 hours: you pick up a gripping mystery.
Let the library dictate your next read
This tip will resonate with avid library users. Another way to pick what you will read next is to let the library dictate what book you’ll pick up next. Some readers keep extensive library hold lists, so whatever becomes available next on your hold list is what you read. Others leave it to chance and browse the shelves at the library to see what catches their eye. The best part of this method is that you can go home with a stack of books (for free!) and return whichever doesn’t grab you. No harm done.
Get methodical with it
One of the more practical tips we came across is selecting three books that interest you. Then, sit down and read the first ten pages of each one. Continue with whichever one you don’t want to put down after ten pages. This is a tried and true method among readers and is a great way to get you invested in a book.
Other readers shared that they have a framework for choosing their next read. They purposely try to alternate genres or criteria when selecting their next read—for example, alternating fiction with non-fiction. Whatever your reading goals are, you can incorporate them here to provide guidance.
Turn to the readers you trust
When you’re unsure what to read next, getting a personalized recommendation is always a sure bet. It’s hard not to get excited about a book that someone you trust is raving about. Make a mental note of book recommendations you’ve received that you’ve loved in the past. Maybe it’s your best friend, a particular bookstagrammer, a newsletter you subscribe to, or a book review site. Then, when you’re stumped on what to read next, head to those sources.
And, when all else fails, pick something with a cover you love. Because even though we shouldn’t judge a book by it's cover, we inevitably do.