Saturday, January 7, 2012

Finding Good Books

My October 15, 2011 blog listed 10 things seniors need with a brief description of each.  Each one of the items listed included a few descriptive sentences.  In retrospect, each one of the “needed” things deserves more than just a few words.
This blog will concentrate on item 3: A good book.  What constitutes a good book?  And how do you find them?  Do you like mysteries, science fiction, romance, or historical novels?  Perhaps fiction is not the type of book you read, instead you read non-fiction.  The genres of fiction and non-fiction are wide ranging and staggering amounts of any type of book can be found.  Maybe your preference is a mixed bag or of only one type.  You may have hated a recent best seller, or loved some obscure book that never received the recognition you think it deserved.  Classics may be your turn on.
A good number of people don’t read books, they prefer newspapers, magazines or the Internet.  Notwithstanding the medium, they peruse the written word in one form or another.  Perhaps my listing of a good book should be modified to state enjoyment of the written word, which would include a wide range of media.  But for me a good book is the ultimate manifestation of the written word.  So I will stick with my original listing that Seniors need a good book.
The problem is finding good books.  Booksellers want to sell you books that are on the shelves, friends know what they like and will recommend what they like, and it is hard to find time to go to the library and ask.  A friend who happens to be a retired librarian made some recommendations to my wife that turned out to be right (no pun intended) on target.  She made these recommendations by listening to my wife tell her likes and dislikes in a book and life. Women tend to talk more to each other and develop a mutual empathy and understanding of each more than men, which leave men at a loss. I would have a hard time describing my likes or dislikes to our librarian friend.  One of my sons makes recommendations that sometimes are great and at other times completely off base and I am left in a lurch when I search for books.
Last month I found the Goodreads website.  Goodreads is an internet service that makes reading recommendations.  When you register you are requested to enter at least 20 books that you have read and rate them.  Based on these entries Goodreads will make recommendations and as you enter more books the recommendations become more refined.  The Goodreads user can find information about books, read comments made by other users, add reviews, make comments, find lists of books, share thoughts with friends and find good books to read. 
Right now I have started two new books and have another book on my next to read list.  Register at Goodreads, become my book friend and find out what they are.  I too can find out what you like and what you are reading now.  Book Friends suit me better than Facebook Friends.
Goodreads is the next best thing to having a librarian friend.  But in the end you’ll have to read the book before you really know if it is a good book or not.  So my advice is pickup a book now and read.

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