The good folks at goodreads.com sent me a not-so-good year-in-review email this week. They congratulated me on reading seven books in 2013. I’m not sure why, but they have it wrong. I read 31.
I looked up my actual number in the good-old-fashioned-analog book journal I have been keeping for about four years now. And, like every year, these books have varied in topic, genre, and style…to a degree. I typically read a smattering of non-fiction and poetry; try on the most recent Pulitzer and a few other major works of fiction; and wash this down with a healthy chug of fantasy/sci-fi.
Increasingly, I am drawn to piles and piles of YA. Technically, I need to read this writing for my job. I take pride in staying up-to-date on recommendations for the young adults I teach. But, I will also admit that I love the stuff. I take no shame, ladies and gentleman, in sharing similar tastes with thirteen-year-old girls. OK. I feel some shame when writing that line. Amendment: I take no shame in sharing similar tastes with bookish thirteen-year-old girls who know Twilight is rubbish and turn away in a huff from any book with glitter on its cover.
Of course, not everyone shares my reading tastes, and isn’t that a wonderful thing? There are plenty of books for every reader out there. In the classroom, I—like you—give students recommendations, and they—like yours—regularly suggest titles to one another. However, I also use some online resources to help students find books they want to read next:
Use the sliders and categories to set your tastes. Based on your responses, you receive suggestions and descriptions. My students and I always find new and surprising titles here.
Booklamp.org (the Book Genome Project)
Use the “DNA” of your favorite books to discover other titles you will enjoy. This site offers another way to offer targeted suggestions based on previous reading habits. I always discover something new and interesting when using this site.
Teen readers nominate and vote on this list…an excellent yearly source for books that will appeal to upper school readers.
A very straightforward website…type in the title of a book you’ve enjoyed and receive loads of suggestions for related titles you might like. It’s simple and effective. The lists of top searches also yield promising titles.
I use Good Reads to “backup” the analog book journal I keep, and my book loving students friend me here. The Good Reads community is very active, and the Listopia section of the site offers fantastic suggestions. My students that use Good Reads get many of their “to read” suggestions from other users on this site.