The biggest annual award for fiction books is around the corner. The Man Booker Prize’s reading longlist and shortlist is already out, telling you the best books to read in 2018. But there’s more to book recommendations than one list, right?
You can find books worth reading based on what reviewers have said, or based on celebrity recommendations, or the length of a book; there are over 50 ways to find new books to read. It’s all about what you want to read at any given moment. And one of these five list-makers can help you find the right fit for you.
WiseBooks (Web): What Famous People Are Reading
Authors, business leaders, and other celebrities often write blogs or social media posts about the best books they have read, recently or otherwise. WiseBooks collects these in one easy-to-browse interface.
It’s a quick and easy way to glance at people across different fields have recommended. For example, you might find lists from productivity guru Tim Ferris’s articles or his popular podcast that MakeUseOf loves. And on the same page, you’ll see tennis champion Maria Sharapova’s favorite reads.
Each book has a short description as well as an Amazon link. WiseBooks can be filtered by the type of person you want to know more about: actor, author, CEO, sports, filmmaker, journalist, doctor, and so on. If you like regular recommendations to read new things, sign up for the newsletter.
WikiMentions (Web): What Geek Celebrities Recommend
WikiMentions is much like WiseBooks, but it focuses more on famous people associated with sciences. The site also digs into videos, since not every famous person is putting their reading lists out on social media or in blog posts. For example, DIY guru Adam Savage has recommended several books while on screen or in podcasts, and WikiMentions has them all.
Each celebrity’s page is divided into books they’ve written, books they have mentioned, and the videos in which they have talked about reading. The list sometimes also includes their favorite authors (not just a book or two by the author), which is something you don’t often see in such compilations.
The videos are fascinating because they go beyond simple lists, as you get their thoughts on the joy of reading itself. I’d especially recommend watching the videos featuring naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
For a bit of serendipity, try clicking the “Random Page” button. It’s a cool way to come across some famous person you know but wouldn’t have thought of ever Googling their book interests.
ShortBooks (Web): When You Don’t Want a Lengthy Read
Sometimes, you don’t want a long book. Instead, you’re in the mood for a breezy, quick read. It’s usually hard to find such recommendations online, so it’s wonderful to see a site like ShortBooks fill that void.
Search for a genre, an author, or a keyword, and ShortBooks will return with a list of books and the time it takes to read them. The formula is total words divided by the average words-per-minute speed of humans, which is one of the simplest ways to estimate the average reading time of any book. Find something that meets your required length, and start reading.
You might also want to check out the “favorite short books” list, where you will get several books that you can finish in an hour or two. It’s a good way to read 50 books in a year, or maybe more.
FictFact (Web): Best Book Series Recommendations, Not a Single Book
There are books, and there are book series. You can’t read one Harry Potter book, you need to read them all. And if you like reading such serialized books, then head to FictFact for more recommendations.
The site is dedicated to book series of all types. You can find recommendations by series, genres, author, or even an overall list of the most popular book series. FictFact even includes a simple book release calendar so you know when the next installment will be released. But well, as any George R. R. Martin fan knows, these schedules aren’t always reliable.
Still, it’s nice to see the simple order in which you need to read a series, how long the series is, and when an unfinished series is expected to end.
Book Marks (Web): Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes for Books
Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes are among the best sites for movie lovers, collecting reviews from different critics to give you an average score. For books, the best equivalent is Book Marks.
The website is more useful for finding new books that are worth reading, it isn’t particularly useful for classics. The “Biggest New Books” will tell you exactly what’s popular and well-reviewed right now, with words like “rave”, “positive” and so on. I wouldn’t pay much attention to the “positive” books if I was you, and only focus on “rave” since almost everything seems to have an average “positive” rating.
As you might expect, you can browse different genres and categories in Book Marks, largely split across fiction and non-fiction. Scroll to the bottom of the homepage to find articles and more reading lists from its sister site, Lit Hub.
To Find Classics, Go for “Best Book” Lists
While Book Marks will give you great new recommendations, sometimes you want a classic. Book choices are subjective, so there isn’t one universal list of the “best books” you should read.
Within several such lists, you need to be more discerning about which lists you should trust and which ones you should ignore. That’s why we gathered up the essential “best books” lists you should check out. You’ll be surprised how many of these you haven’t read yet.