If you follow me on Instagram (or just know me as a human), you know that I love giving book talks and recommendations. I also love to talk about different book-related resources and discovery tools. A while ago, a friend of mine requested a blog post that put all these resources in one place for all you bookish babes. I am, of course, here to please.
First of all, I’m obviously going to say, “GO TO THE LIBRARY!” Librarians are on hand to offer you on-the-spot book recommendations, and they (read “I”) love to do it. It’s like a fun puzzle that needs to be solved. You can also ask me for book recommendations directly. I adore giving recommendations and would do it all day long if I could. And if you haven’t tapped into the Instagram #Bookstagram community yet, make sure you get on that! Book recs all day long!
Below is a list of websites, tools, apps, book boxes/subscriptions, and podcasts that I’m addicted to that help me discover books, talk about books, and manage my book ownership and reading life! All of these things I have tried and enjoy. Warning, quite a few things are specific to genre, so if you’re not a fan of that genre maybe it isn’t for you.
Everything Bookriot has to offer! Specifically:
- All The Books (weekly updates on new releases, curated by Bookriot super reader Libery Hardy)
- Get Booked (Book recommendation podcast, you can write in asking for specific recommendations and they will usually get to you)
- The Podcast (Bookriot’s flagship podcast about books, publishing, and writing)
- SFF Yeah! (Science Fiction/Fantasy book podcast, touching on news, new releases, and recommendations in the genres)
- Read or Dead (Mystery/Thriller book podcast, touching on news, new releases, and recommendations in the genre)
Books in the Freezer: This is a horror book podcast that will sometimes dip a toe into other horror genre media (such as films, tv shows, and video games). It’s hosted by Stephanie and Devin and uses fun themes to talk about various horror books, both backlist and new releases. They also do amazing author interviews. Another fun part of this podcast is that they do a monthly book club that you can join on Goodreads!
The Ladies of Fright: This horror podcast is hosted by Lisa Quigley and Mackenzie Kiera, who met each other in their MFA program. It focuses more on writing and the craft of horror fiction, but they also give amazing book recommendation, interview authors and editors, and do book talks. As a Patreon member you also get access to their The Ladies of Fright “After Dark” episodes, which are basically just them talking about horror after a glass of wine hahaha They’re just more relaxed and the conversation is unplanned for the most part. I find it delightful.
Libby by Overdrive: Oh boy, if you aren’t using Libby then do yourself a favorite and download it right now. It’s a much more user-friendly version of Overdrive, so you can checkout ebooks and audiobooks from your public library through this app. The books are sent right to the app so you can read/list on any device!
Hoopla: Much like Libby, Hoopla is offered by public libraries (not all, but many) as a way to digitally check out materials. Hoopla offers a lot more than just ebooks and audiobooks, however. In addition to those, you can also check out comics, magazines, tv shows, movies, music, and more! It’s an incredible app for media and entertainment lovers!
Litsy: Recently bought by LibraryThing, this has been described as Instagram for books! You post pictures, reviews, blurbs, etc. about books you’re reading. You can add books to a TBR stack and you can give book a rating (thumbs up, thumbs down, or an “eehhh/so-so” thumb lol)
LibraryThing: This is more of a cataloging tool than anything. Some small libraries will use LibraryThing for their catalog. It offers very robust options, but it can also work as a way to organize/keep track of your personal library. I have almost 650 books in my apartment, and sometimes I, uh, forget what I already own. Every time I got out book shopping, I make sure to double check my LibraryThing account before buying anything, especially if I’m at a used bookstore. I also use LibraryThing to record where exactly in my apartment each book is. I have to double stack on my bookshelves, so not all of my books are visible. LibraryThing will let me know exactly where to find something! I’m such a librarian.
Goodreads: This one is pretty ubiquitous, but if you’re new to the lovely world of books and reading it is kind of a must. Goodreads is a social media account for readers. You can track your reading, add books to a TBR shelf, categorize your books however you like by making custom shelves, share books with friends, join bookish groups and online book clubs, connect with authors, find amazing book recommendations, and even win books from giveaways!
Bookriot (again): Bookriot is amazing. Their entire focus is on the bookish world, so if something is happening in books, reading, libraries, or publishing, Bookriot will have articles about it. It’s an amazing place to find specific book recommendation lists as well, and they make sure to give lots of attention to social justice, minority authors and books about experiences that most of us would not be familiar with. They also have cute, fun articles and quizes that are just all about the love of reading and books. It’s a great community and a wonderful spot to find book recommendations. When I was working a job I hated and had a lot of down time, I would comb Bookriot and just add books to my Goodreads by the hundreds.
Bustle: Interestingly enough, Bustle’s book section is an amazing place for book lists, author interviews, and bookish news, essays and opinion pieces. I enjoy Bustle in general, and I appreciate a publication with such a strong focus on social justice and feminism turning their attention to books. If you want to diversify your reading list, Bustle can help you achieve that goal!
Booklist: This is a publication under the umbrella of the ALA (American Library Association). It’s main audience is librarians and library workers, but that doesn’t mean that book lovers won’t get a lot out of it as well!
The Modern Mrs. Darcy: Anne Bogel runs this lovely website all about books, reading, and cozy life. There’s a fun amount of like, lifestyle stuff in there too, which can be fun. Ann also has a couple of podcasts that focus on literary fiction (What Should I Read Next?, and One Great Book)! I have listened to them and enjoy them, but they are not my go-tos for discovering new books to read.
TBR: This is a book recommendation service run by Bookriot (can you tell I’m a huge fan?) that offers a couple different options. The general idea is that when you sign up you fill out a profile to let them know what kinds of books you like and don’t like, then they match you up with a bibliologist who then reads your profile and picks out three titles they think would be perfect for you! Depending on which options you pick, you can pay less and just get a letter with the book recommendations and explanations in it, or you can get the actual books mailed to your door with the more expensive option. I went with the cheaper option because we all know I don’t need anymore physical books and I have a great library system here. So far, I have LOVED my recommendations, and a lot of them are books I have never heard of before which is saying a lot.
Book of the Month: The oldest book box subscription in the game…like 100 years old. With your subscription you get to pick one book out of five options. Each book is a nice hardcover new release. They have lots of variety in terms of genre. And you can add on additional books for $10 a pop! You can also skip months if you’re not feeling any of the options, which is nice. I will use Book of the Month as a low-stakes way to take a chance on a book that I might not pick up otherwise. I tend to pick books that are out of my normal genres. I also really appreciate their blending of buzzy new releases with lesser known picks and new authors. It’s a great way to discover books you may love!
Night Worms: When I learned about Night Worms this summer, I freaked out. This is the most perfect book subscription for me. It’s horror themed, run by two women, and it’s a bit smaller so you don’t get overwhelmed with swag you might not want. They always have at least two books (or readable items…sometimes there are magazines and such), there is a good blend of mainstream titles and indie releases, they include fun horror themed items like bookmarks, room spray, stickers, and signed book plates. Last month’s had some heavy hitting prizes from the Horror Writer’s Association, including tickets to the Stokercon.
What techniques/tools do you have for discovering new books? I’d love to know!!