DISCUSSION: How do You Select Your Book?

Readers read. It is that simple. Yet, it is more difficult than that. With the tons of books published every day it is a (positive) nightmare entering a bookshop and buying a book. In fact, it can take hours to choose between titles and if the budget for books is tight, allowing one to purchase only two or three books, then the method, procedure, decision-making process, of choosing a book becomes even more imperative.

This problem has exacerbated with the introduction of self-publishing platforms. Today, anyone anywhere can publish a book without going through those large monolithic publishing companies. The appearance of self-published books has multiplied the books one can choose from, even within a genre. Another platform that has expanded the population of books is the introduction of e-books and e-readers. What the twenty-first century has done is to revolutionise book publication and reading; if the twentieth century is the Green Revolution, then the twenty-first century is the Book Revolution.

Inundated with billions of titles, how do you, as an avid reader, select the titles of books you read? Do you make your selection based on popular titles, new titles, genre-specific titles, book-bloggers' recommendations, or is your selection of your books ad-hoc? 

Personally, I select my pre-2000 books from titles that have remained relevant since publication. Here I use some of the top-100 lists, especially those by readers instead of the industry. I also choose books (including those published after 2000) whose popularity has been advanced by readers. However, for fiction all my readings have to necessarily be literary fiction, though I veer off once in a while into other genres. But once in a while, I try to select titles randomly.

For non-fiction, I want books that is contributing something to knowledge, that is if they are not memoirs or autobiographies. I rate highly those that challenge popular opinions.

What about you?


  1. I crave good fiction, and by this I mean, books that challenge my thinking and teach me something. I rely quite a lot on other people's reviews (blog, word of mouth, reviews, book blurbs even; why not?).

    As for non-fiction, I think I decide what I want to focus in a given year: this year I want to focus on my continent Africa so I'm reading challenging books and articles written by African themselves, and then I trawl the net for discussion forums.

    1. This shows that book blogging makes a difference.

      I am trying to adopt year-subject mode for reading. So that if I choose say Statistics as my subject for the year, all my non-fiction reading must be towards that. I did something of the sorts this year, though I've not gotten the books required.

  2. How do I select my book? what an interesting question. There are many ways in which I select the books I read.

    To start with, I rely on blogs reviews, personal reviews, stars, other book platfrom ratings (be it amazon, goodreads... etc). On a general basis, they all help me in purchasing a particular book or not.

    Next, anthologies. For me, short stories is an intro to new writers. Good short stories motivates me to buy or not a novel from a particular writer. I'll be purchasing Badoe and Aboulela's novels based on their short stories.

    Then I have writers who I would read anything they write about. Anything whatsoever they write about. Achebe, Adichie, Emecheta, Nwapa and Khaled Hosseini (Afghan-born American). Because I have read a lot of their novels and love their style and thier way of approach to stories or topics.

    I am as well discovering a lot more in the industry, but then I'll have to read more of their works before I decide. Chuma Nwokolo, Ama Ata Aidoo, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and the young talented Brew-Hammond.

    Finally, I buy African Literature. Not any African Literature. But the types I generally review in my blog. Mary Okeke Reviews.



    1. I know - because you told me - that I influenced you to read Chuma Nwokolo.

      I also have certain authors whom I would love to read completely; for women authors, I want to read Adichie, Morrison, and may be Gordimer. For male authors, Armah.

  3. It's weird. I just wrote a blog post about how I choose my books. It's in line to be posted. I like to see a book, usually online, and if I see it repeatedly (usually on different blogs) and like the blurb then I'll buy it. Every once in a while I'll go to the Amazon top 100 list and choose a book from there. I also like reading books that my friends suggest too.

    1. I read your mind. LOL. We are both inquisitive. Or we both want to learn. With so many books, one really has to go through a lot to make a choice and that decision-making process could be fascinating.


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