What book should I read? The Eternal Question! Sure, you can troll around the online for your next great read, or just browse bookshelves, read the jacket copy and hope for the best. It seems, though, that the most excellent books come verbally recommended. There is just something about listening to a person describe an amazing book that makes you want to read it too. Even though reading is a solitary exercise (unless you’re listening to an audiobook in the car, but that’s a different post for a different day), telling each other what we’ve read and why is really how we want to figure out what to read. This explains why you’ve heard of The Hunger Games, and of course, Harry Potter, the biggest word-of-mouth phenomenon ever. Even publishing companies admit surprise at one book phenomenon or another. No one can predict which books will end up being passed from person to person to person, but that is most certainly what makes a bestseller.
I generally can’t contain myself about a good book, and I’m pretty sure that would be the case even if it weren’t part of my job. Last week I hustled into a room full of my colleagues and interrupted their chatting by standing there holding I’ll be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan over my head. â€œThis. Book. So. Goodâ€ was pretty much all I could get out before a children’s librarian asked me to hand it over. These days, I’m also extolling the awesomeness of Hold me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (a 2011 Morris Award finalist), Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams, and Strings Attached by Judy Blundell to pretty much anyone who will listen. A friend recently suggested that Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol will soon become a big hit, so naturally I had to read it asap. I’ve since given it to 2 other people. And so it goes.
It’s nice to remember, then, to tell your friends when you read something that made you laugh, or cry, gave you chills, had you up late at night, or spending an entire Saturday in your pjs turning pages. Usually just saying, â€œOhmigod this book is soooo goodâ€ will do the trick. You never know, you might be professing your love for the next Twilight. And even if it’s not, you’re still giving someone the great gift of a satisfying read.
While talking about books in person is preferable, there are some great ways to get recommendations from your friends online. Goodreads.com is by far my favorite social networking site. It’s fun to write a little blurb about how I felt about the book, and give it anywhere from 1 to 5 stars. I carefully limit my â€œfriendsâ€ to people I know personally so I don’t get overwhelmed with book deluge. Goodreads is also a nice way of keeping track of all the books I’ve read. After 4 years of entries, Goodreads has shaped up to hold a little piece of my personal history!
Last but certainly not least, YALSA’s new Readers Choice Award is an especially fantastic new way to share the love online. The books that make the cut are personal endorsements of the best and most popular teen books of the year. Make sure to nominate your favorite titles!
–Amy Pelman, currently reading This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel