Fiction is a double-edged sword. Books can be adventurous and emotional and even life-changing, but as soon as you read those dreaded closing lines, you’re left wondering if you’ll ever find another book that can make you feel that way again.
Despite the handful of book recommending services available on the web, none of them are perfect. Goodreads is the most well-known, and we have some advanced Goodreads tips to help you get the most out of it, but even so, nothing beats the recommendation of an actual human being.
Which is why Reddit is such a great place for building up your “To Read” list. This is just one of many ways that Reddit can be used productively, and in fact, I’ve found dozens of awesome books on Reddit that I would never have found otherwise.
The very first subreddit you should visit is /r/SuggestMeABook, which does exactly what it says on the tin. This community is comprised of over 19,000 avid book readers who love dropping new titles that you’ve probably never heard of before.
It’s simple. When you create a new thread, title it with a description of the kind of book you want to read. For example, here are some of the ones on the front page right now:
- Books similar to Flowers for Algernon?
- Was told I had to read a Neal Stephenson book
- Time travel and paradox
You can be as vague or as specific as you want, and most requests will receive at least a few comments within the first couple of hours. Be sure to use the search function to see if similar requests have been made in the past, too.
/r/BookClub is an offshoot of the far more popular /r/Books, the latter of which has over 5 million subscribers. A subreddit that big can be overwhelming and it’s hard to get your voice heard, which is why /r/BookClub, which boasts only 20,500 members, is arguably better.
Even though “book club” sounds somewhat formal, the community itself is laid back and casual. There’s a “What Are You Reading?” megathread posted at the start of every month and plenty of regular threads in between. Check the sidebar to see which books are “officially” being read this month.
If you want to participate as more than just a lurker, you can also recommend and vote on each month’s book selections.
On the flip side of /r/BookClub is /r/BookLists, which is the perfect subreddit for those who don’t want to participate in anything and just want to browse for interesting books. However, if you have an interesting book list of your own, do share it!
/r/BookLists is a place to post anything that would fit a title like “Top X Books About…” or some variation thereof. For example, some interesting ones on the front page right now:
- 6 Books on President Obama’s Summer Reading List
- 15 Fearless Female Leads
- 10 Must-Read YA Novels You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
- The Best Debut Novels of 2015 So Far
If you aren’t looking for a specific kind of book, then this is the place for you. Just browse along and click through on any list that seems compelling. I guarantee you’ll find something new to read in less than ten minutes.
Before we dive into some of the more genre-specific subreddits, I want to draw your attention to /r/FreeEbooks. We know that most of you love reading ebooks, and while there are some great ebook subscription services out there, nothing is quite as awesome as free.
FreeEbooks basically works like this: It’s common for ebooks to have promotional free periods that last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. When one of these promotions is spotted in the wild, members can post it in this subreddit — and as long as you’re quick enough, you’ll be able to snag those free downloads.
This subreddit is heavily moderated to make sure that all available download links are legal. No matter how you feel about piracy, it’s nice to know that you won’t have to worry about that here.
If you’re a fantasy fan, you won’t find a better home than /r/Fantasy. This community boasts over 82,000 members, and the discussions are lively every single day. Whether you want grimdark, urban YA (Young Adult), or just something lighthearted and fun, you’ll find it here.
A quick glance at the front page shows wide coverage of many fantasy authors across different sub-genres — China Mieville, Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, Glen Cook — and that’s just scratching the surface.
Two things I personally love about this subreddit: “What should I read next?” threads are common, and the moderators actively seek out fantasy authors to hold AMAs (Ask Me Anythings) where users can interact and have back-and-forths with the people who write these amazing tales.
The main science fiction subreddit is located at /r/SciFi, but that’s more of a catch-all community that tends to lean more towards TV shows and movies. If you prefer your science fiction in written form, then /r/PrintSF is where you want to go.
PrintSF technically stands for “speculative fiction”, which encompasses fantasy, alternative history, and postmodern literature on top of traditional sci-fi. However, the biggest emphasis here is on science fiction, so don’t worry too much about that.
With a community that’s nearly 23,000-strong, you’ll find frequent discussions and a lot of new titles to read, including Arthur C. Clarke, Charlie Jane Anders, and everything in-between.
Horror is an interesting genre in that it manifests so differently between text and visual media. On the screen, horror tends to focus on gore and visceral reactions, but on paper, horror is more imaginative, unsettling, and dreadful.
If you want the former, go to /r/Horror. For the latter, you’ll likely prefer /r/HorrorLit, a place where you’ll find stories that have more in common with H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King than Hostel or The Human Centipede.
While YA fiction is mainly marketed towards young adults (surprise!), stories like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games have proven that anyone of any age can enjoy YA literature. In fact, there are many adults who actually prefer it as their main genre.
The defining aspect of a YA story is usually a “coming of age” angle for the protagonist, and this is something we can all identify with to some degree. But because YA is such a saturated market, it can be difficult to find which stories are worth reading.
One way is to head on over to /r/YALit, where 5,000 other folks can help you find books that will suit your tastes. The weekly “What Are You Reading?” thread is a great place to start.
Audiobooks don’t comprise a specific genre in and of themselves, but they provide such a unique literary experience that it’s worth singling them out as unique. Not only are they more immersive, but they’re more convenient; you can even multitask while listening!
The problem is that audiobooks can be hit-or-miss. Even if the story is great, the quality of an audiobook really depends on the narrator. Many exciting novels have been slighted by narrators who failed to bring those stories to life.
/r/AudioBooks is a good resource for sifting through the mud and finding the real narrative gems. But before you go there, check out our own list of expertly narrated audiobooks.
How Do You Find Your Next Book?
Reddit can be a confusing website at first, but once you learn how to use it properly, it can end up being an extremely useful resource. These subreddits are just the best ones for finding new reads, but there are dozens of other literature-related subreddits book lovers should explore.
So, what about you? When you finish a good book, what’s your process for finding the next story? Please share your tips, tricks, and experiences with us in the comments below!