Books!! I love books. That’s not a well-kept secret.
I’m not particular about their format. I find story in all its forms fascinating. Print books have a place in my life, as do ebooks, audiobooks, and movies. I don’t have a problem with books made into movies, and I thought marketers created a brilliant strategy to take the popular TV show Castle that was about a fiction writer and create actual fiction books for the marketplace.
The question for today, though, is where can we find book recommendations? You know, when something specific is going on and you need additional insight. Or maybe you just want to find a great new author! And yes, I have something specific in mind. More than one, actually.
Two Reliable Sources Gone
Children should learn that reading is pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school. ~Beverly Cleary
Many avid readers find this impossible to believe, but it’s quite true: A sizeable majority of people do not know how to find a good book or an author worth reading. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether a new author (both new-to-me and new in the marketplace) is worth checking out.
And let’s be honest. Finding authors you love can be hard work. Like most things in life, you have to try a few, perhaps many, authors that run the gamut between okay and good (maybe even a bad one here or there) before you find one or two that you devour everything they write.
Does that mean that the okay-to-good ones aren’t worth reading? Of course not.
Family Christian Store
In February 2017, Family Christian Store surprised many in the Christian community by announcing it was closing. Anyone who had been watching wasn’t terribly surprised. In 2012, they were purchased by a group of Atlanta-based Christians who wanted to turn the store into a giving machine. They announced that 100% of the profits would be donated to charity, and in 2013 they acquired the 501(c)3 nonprofit status. In 2015, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and their suppliers forgave $127 million in debt in the hopes that the business could survive. But after the calendar forced us into 2017, a new reality in the marketplace set in.
LifeWay Christian Store
In March of this year, LifeWay announced they were closing all their brick and mortar stores and focusing on its online presence. Again, shockwaves of disbelief and sadness rippled through the Christian community. What are those who want to hold a book or talk to real people supposed to do now, was a common mantra.
Uh, maybe visit an actual brick and mortar book store? And spend money within its walls. We all (including me!) tend to forget that stores actually need people to walk in them and buy things from them on a regular basis in order to stay open like we want them to.
Finding Good Book Recommendations
One of the things I loved about both Family Christian and LifeWay was that the employees were knowledgable about their stock. Whenever I needed a recommendation, staff was ready with great opinions. Employees actually read the books on their shelves, and that knowledge came across when you talked with them.
However with both of these resources now gone, we must find other places to get suggestions for must-read books and authors.
Suggestion #1: GoodReads
If you aren’t familiar with GoodReads, it’s kinda like an organization system and book club all rolled into one. I use it to keep track of which books I’ve read and what I thought of them (a.k.a. star ratings and reviews). I’d love for you to be my friend or follow me on there! Find me by clicking here.
GoodReads offers thousands of groups for readers to join and hundreds of lists to help you find books. Love to knit and read? There’s a group for that. Want to know the best historical fiction books about Africa? There’s a list for that! Seriously, you could spend hours upon hours talking and reading about books. You can also see what your friends are reading and follow your favorite authors to see what they are reading. You may be surprised about how many authors you enjoy are active on the site.
Now, this isn’t Christian driven or focused, however, you will find faith-based groups and lists on the website. And you can search by geographical location to find groups near you so you can meet locally. GoodReads is definitely worth checking out!
Suggestion #2: Bookbub
Bookbub is similar to GoodReads in that it can keep track of books you are reading and books you want to read. However, it differs in a couple of important ways. You can follow me by clicking here.
First, when you follow the authors you like, Bookbub will email you when the author has a new release. This isn’t much different from Amazon’s email system if you follow the authors you like through them.
What I particularly like, though, is this neat little feature. Let’s say you are browsing through Bookbub and see a book that I recommended that you want to read as well. If you will save it to your wishlist, Bookbub will email you when the ebook version of it goes on sale! Seriously! I’ve picked up several books this way, and it’s quite convenient.
Additionally, Bookbub makes it easy to see what the authors you like are reading, what they recommend to their followers, and for the authors to like the reviews you’ve left for their books! Yep. Regina Jennings and Mary Connealy, two of the authors I enjoy reading, have liked my reviews of their books on Bookbub. [Insert fan squee!! here.]
Suggestion #3: Facebook Groups
If you are addicted to Facebook, this may or may not be a good thing. But, Facebook hosts thousands of groups, some of them dedicated to books.
Now, before anyone sends me hate mail about the evils of Facebook, let’s remember the algorythm. What is that? It’s the complex mathematical formula that determines what you see in your newsfeed. And it’s fed by what you click on within Facebook. Click Like on someone’s political post? You’re going to see more of that. Click to read a fantastical news article? You’ll see more of that. Comment on a friend’s picture? You’ll see more of that. Get the idea?
Now, that being said, one of the best fiction groups I’ve found is called Avid Readers of Christian Fiction. The group is quite active and diverse, the moderators keep the discussion under control and veered toward the positive, and authors are strictly limited to marketing only on the weekends. It’s refreshing, informative, and often very fun.
There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. ~Ray Bradbury
So, three ideas for you to get . . . well, probably more book recommendations than you want.
But half the fun of reading is the anticipation of getting to the books in your To Read pile anyway, right?
An Amazon Top Reviewer recently read Crossing Values and left a wonderful review. She wrote, “from God and his ♥️ This is the truth the heroine of ‘Crossing Values’ experiences in just about every scene of this novella. Carrie Daws writes in a very folksy, comforting style that drew me in and had me longing to join the family for one of their boisterous holiday meals. 😘”
I agree. I’d love to sit down with the Yager family. How about you?
For years, Amber traipsed around the Northwest avoiding the skeletons in her closet. Job-hopping every few weeks, she refuses to let anyone get close to her, protecting herself from the pain that relationships bring. As winter plants itself firmly across the Rockies, though, she decides to take a chance on a job at a logging company with a family different from any she’s ever known.
But is this family genuine?
Watching the family interact creates more questions than answers for Amber. The adults love to spend time with each other and dote on the little ones. Even more mysterious, the parents treat the married spouses like their own children and carefully keep watch on employees and friends.
Feeling like she’s entered the happily-ever-after written at the end of fairytales, Amber watches for cracks in the façade. Surely as the days pass, the play-acting will cease and the real family will emerge.
Or could she be wrong? Could this family hold the key to what she’s seeking?