We’ve all been there — you finish the last page, you close the book you were reading, and a feeling of emptiness crashes over you. You hopefully enjoyed the book, and if it was a particularly good one, you would have been transformed somehow. But now the question arises, “What should I read next?”

You know you love reading and you know you want to read something else, but what if you don’t enjoy your next read? Should you go with the same author or add some variation to your reading? Will you enjoy that book everyone is talking about? All these questions and more can fill your mind with worry and uncertainty, making the process of choosing your next book a challenging experience.

Decision-making is affected by a number of psychological factors and cognitive biases that can influence our ability to make choices — especially important ones like this!

So to avoid decision fatigue and make the process of choosing your next book as stress-free as possible, we have put together a list of strategies you can use to select what to read next.

 

1. Read More from the Same Author

Remember that book you just finished? Did you enjoy it? If the answer is yes, then why not read something else by the same author? Chances are the style and themes covered will be similar. If you’re not sure what else they have released, you can check the front of your last book, their author website or, in some cases, even their Wikipedia page! Just Google the author’s name plus “author” (as in the example below) to find their bibliography.

Author EJ Runyon Google Panel

Of course, if the book you just finished was part of a series, the decision is simple — just jump to book two!

 

2. Ask for Book Recommendations

This one is quite self-explanatory. If you can’t decide what to read next, ask your family and friends for book recommendations. They’ll probably be able to suggest a title they’ve recently read and enjoyed and, if you’re lucky enough, they might even let you borrow the book!

Alternatively, ask for recommendations in your local bookshop or library. Booksellers and librarians are up to date with new releases and know all there is to know (or almost all) about books and the literary world. Simply share your literary tastes and interests, and they will be able to help.

Another option is to ask the bookish community on social media. Instagram, Twitter and Youtube are home to countless book reviewers, bloggers and literary lovers sharing their favourite reads.

 

3. Go to Your TBR Pile and Pick One

If you’re a true bookworm, your pile of unread books is probably ever-expanding. We have previously shared tips on how to get through your TBR pile, so now might be a good time to head to the stack of unread titles and just pick one.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Try signing up for a reading challenge with a “TBR Bingo” card and let the categories (and your fellow readers) guide and encourage you.

Plus, you can combine this strategy with some of the others listed here to make the process a bit less daunting.

 

4. Expand Your Reading Horizons

As Haruki Murakami says, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Don’t be afraid to expand your reading horizons and incorporate new genres, authors, themes and even languages into your library. If you only speak English, why not give translated fiction a go?

Open yourself to new narratives and let the written word work its magic. Why should titles mainly feature white successful middle-aged straight men as their prototype protagonists? Humans are diverse, and so fiction should represent this diversity. Not only does diverse fiction empower you from an ethical perspective, but diverse reading also benefits your brain.

 

5. Go Indie!

Small and independent presses are generally born to allow new authors and marginalised voices into the literary scene. Indie presses like us here at Inspired Quill are highly committed to diversity and giving back to the community.

Whether you’re interested in reading about a far from typical older woman, a non-binary society or a young, bright girl struggling with her family and her cultural identity, Inspired Quill is home to all of these and more. And for every book you purchase direct from our website, we donate copies to Derbyshire LGBT+. So you can enjoy your favourite hobby and do good at the same time — a win-win situation.

 

6. Choose a Book with an Eye-Catching Cover

So far, we’ve mainly focused on the themes and characters, but a book is more than its words. If you feel unsure about what content will scratch your latest literary itch, why not let your eyes make the decision for you?

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But the truth is that an attention-grabbing, professional-looking cover might give you better hints as to the feeling of the book than all the back-cover endorsements.

Literary LGBT book cover for Polari Prize shortlisted Sugar and Snails (by Anne Goodwin) Fantasy thriller book cover for Waters and the Wild (by Jo Zebedee) Feminist steampunk flash fiction book cover for Heroine Chic (by James Webster)

 

7. Don’t Think, Just Grab a Book!

If all else fails and you still feel indecisive, don’t panic! Just grab the book closest to you and start reading. Choosing what to read next shouldn’t be a stressful experience. And remember, you’re not forced to finish the book once you get started. If you’re partway into it and it’s not really your cup of tea, just put it aside and choose again!

Looking for your next read? We have plenty of great titles here at Inspired Quill. You can filter by genre, theme and/or age range to easily find your next book. If you’re keen to get started, we even have eBooks ready to go as soon as you hit “download”. Explore our bookshop now!

 

Laura’s role at Inspired Quill sees her performing whatever tasks the MD lets her get her hands on — whether that’s editing and proofreading (with a particular love for the literary genre), designing and creating images and book trailers for social media or writing blog posts and newsletters.

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