Welcome back to Reboot Your TBR! All week long, I’ve shared my tried-and-true strategies for choosing the right book at the right time. Did I overlook a TBR reboot method that works for you? Leave a comment and let me know! In the meantime, enjoy this series finale:
When all else fails, ask a friend for a book recommendation. Your friends know you really well, and they are a great resource to call upon when you are having trouble choosing something to read. The best part of getting book recommendations from your friends is being able to talk about the book together after you have read it. As a bonus, the book will be much more meaningful to you when you associate it with a close pal. My friends know my taste in books almost as well as they know me, so I put a lot of faith in their recommendations. Your friends are also a perfect sounding board when you’re stuck between two or three books and can’t settle on which one to read. Describe the books to a friend, and they will always steer you in the right direction. Here’s the latest book I picked up, (naturally) on a bestie’s recommendation:
Here’s a quick plot summary from the publisher: College student Joe Talbert’s English class assignment is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran and a convicted murderer, medically paroled to a nursing home after spending thirty years in prison. Unable to reconcile Carl’s heroism in Vietnam with the despicable acts of the convict, Joe throws himself into unraveling the tapestry of Carl’s history. But will he discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?
Thank you to Ms. Watts for the recommendation. I look forward to reading the book and discussing it together … maybe over a coffee? 💁☕️📖
Welcome back to Reboot Your TBR! All week long, I’m sharing my tried-and-true strategies for choosing the right book at the right time. Check out the first three posts, and stay tuned for one final TBR Reboot tip tomorrow!
Day 4: #Bookstagram. The last time I searched Instagram for #Bookstagram, almost 24,000,000 results came up! The content varies wildly from one account to another, but it’s always fun to see what (and where) people are reading, what delicious coffee-themed beverages they are enjoying while turning (or swiping) pages, and just how much care our fellow book lovers put into their #Bookstagram posts. Scroll through just a dozen or so images and I guarantee that a book or two will catch your eye. As a bonus, you will probably see a lot of cute cats while browsing posts. Not sure where to start? I recommend clicking here to view some delectable images of Reese Witherspoon’s recent book club selection, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
And here are a few miscellaneous strategies I save for those times when every book looks good, but not quite right …
- The List Randomizer. Type a handful of “contender” book titles into a form (each on a separate line), click on Randomize, and watch your next read appear at the top of a list!
- The Color Coordinator. Browse the library or bookstore shelves for a book cover that matches your birthstone. Mine is an emerald, and I found …
Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black
Debut author Teri Bailey Black unearths the long-buried secrets of a small 1850s New England town in this richly atmospheric Gothic tale of murder, guilt, redemption, and finding love where least expected.
- The Bookshelf Benchwarmer. Which book has been on your bookshelf the longest? Now is the time to pick it up and jump in! My bookshelf benchwarmer is The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan:
Set in 1978, the political drama and familial tensions of the 1960s form a backdrop for the world of Phoebe O’Connor, age eighteen. Phoebe is obsessed with the memory of her sister Faith, a beautiful hippie who died in Italy in 1970. In order to find out the truth about Faith’s life and death, Phoebe retraces her steps from San Francisco across Europe, a quest that yields complex revelations about family, love, and Faith’s lost generation.
Welcome back to Reboot Your TBR! All week long, I’m sharing my tried-and-true strategies for choosing the right book at the right time. Don’t forget to read Day 1 and Day 2, and stay tuned for another post tomorrow!
Day 3: Think Outside the Paragraph. When you’re not decided on what to read, opening a book to page 1 and seeing a page full of text in 9-point font can bring on a round of readerly anxiety. But you’re in luck: books are being published in ever more innovative formats, and thinking outside the paragraph might be just what you need to break out of a cycle of indecision. Here are some tips and recommendations:
- Want a book where every word is essential and the white space is as meaningful as the text? Try a novel in verse! Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Crank by Ellen Hopkins, and Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds are among the best.
- Webcomics (comic strips originally published online) are frequently compiled into print collections that are perfect for both graphic novel devotees and readers who are new to the format. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, Be Everything At Once by Dami Lee, and Digger by Ursula Vernon are personal favorites. Sample the artwork, style, and story arcs online before diving into a compilation.
- A Key to Treehouse Living by Elliot Reed is the story of William Tyce, a boy growing up without his parents in the rural Midwest. This debut novel is written as a glossary-style list, opening with “Absence” and closing 226 pages later with “Yonder, the Wild Blue.” A unique, memorable reading experience.
- Sadie, a recently published mystery by Courtney Summers, is accompanied by a 6-episode, full-cast podcast that enhances and expands on the novel itself. Give Episode 1 a listen and see if it catches your interest.
Welcome back to Reboot Your TBR! All week long, I’m sharing my tried-and-true strategies for choosing the right book at the right time. Don’t forget to read Day 1: Try an Anthology, and stay tuned for another post tomorrow!
Day 2: Check Your Local Listings. At any given time, at least one or two of the movies showing at your local theater will be based on books. Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor, and The Hate U Give: all in theaters now, and all adapted from popular novels. Watch the movie preview and if you like what you see, pick up the book! Streaming platforms like Netflix are also getting in on the fun with adaptations of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Dumplin‘, Bird Box, and more. If you’ve already seen the movie, try another book by the author of the source material. For example, jump back into the star-crossed world of Lara Jean and Peter K. with P.S. I Still Love You, or check out her earlier series-starter, The Summer I Turned Pretty. Try Puddin’, a companion novel to Dumplin’ that follows the storylines of supporting characters from the first book. And while you’re waiting for Bird Box to land on Netflix, read Josh Malerman’s latest, Unbury Carol. It received mixed reviews, but it just might be the right book for you right now.
Like most avid readers, I always have a stack of books waiting in the wings. This To-Be-Read (or TBR) list might be a physical pile of books, a list of titles I’ve tagged “Want to Read” on Goodreads, pending eBook and audiobook holds in Libby or SORA, or a good ol’ handwritten list of books that caught my eye during my last bookstore visit. But sometimes, the longer my TBR list (or the taller the stack of books on my desk), the tougher the time I have choosing what to read next. Sometimes DAYS go by and I just can’t settle on a book and settle in for the read. Whenever this happens, I call on a handful of tried-and-true strategies to choose my next read. This week, I’ll share a strategy or two each day to help my fellow readers choose the right book at the right time. It’s time for a TBR reboot!
Day 1: Try an anthology. Discover new-to-you authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry through an anthology on a theme that interests you. Most of the authors featured in the recent run of essay and short story collections have also published their own books. Read a sampling of chapters from an anthology, select one that feels like it was written just for you, then pick a book by that writer (every collection has helpful author bios, including other books they’ve written, in the back). Not sure where to start? Here are some stand-out anthologies that have recently been added to the Ridley High School Library:
Stay tuned for another TBR Reboot tip tomorrow!
Just click on the image for all of this month’s highlights and some upcoming events in the Ridley High School Library!
It’s time for another round-up of Pickett’s Picks, Fall 2018 Edition! Each season, I spotlight a selection of brand new books from favorite authors, intriguing debut novels, must-read crossover releases, and at least one jaw-dropping cover (can you guess which one?). Here are just a few of the books that I’m looking forward to reading and sharing with students at Ridley High School during the upcoming semester. What are YOUR picks?? Leave a comment and let me know!
- Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll
Told from three viewpoints, teens Doris, Nell, and Grant find friendship and the possibility of love while working in Unclaimed Baggage, a store that sells items that went missing during airline travel. I love stories about people thrown together by a quirky summer job, and Unclaimed Baggage promises to be charming, funny, and heartfelt.
- Dream Country by Shannon Gibney
Dream Country is the story of five generations of young people caught in the dangerous spiral connecting Liberia and the United States, and how one determined young dreamer grapples for control of her destiny. This novel has been compared to Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, one of my all-time favorites!
- We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
A new novel of supernatural horror (and pop culture) from the author of Horrorstor and My Best Friend’s Exorcism. Yes, please!
- The War Outside by Monica Hesse
The War Outside is the story of two girls from very different backgrounds who meet in a Texas internment camp during WWII. Margot and Haruko find solace in their secret friendship. But in a prison that the government claims is full of spies, can they trust anyone? I adored Monica Hesse’s brilliant previous books, Girl in the Blue Coat and American Fire. If Monica Hesse writes it, I will read it!
- Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
This is the debut novel that everyone is talking about! During Darius Kellner’s sophomore year he travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor who changes his life for the better. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable book is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough, but then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay.
- Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
Who are the Sawkill Girls? Marion: the new girl. Zoey: the pariah. Val: the queen bee. Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight … until now.
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Every once in a while, a book comes along that just has my name on it. Where the Crawdads Sing is one of those books! In this “crossover” novel (written for adults but perfect for teen readers), author Delia Owens blends an exquisite ode to the natural world with a heartbreaking coming-of-age story and a surprising murder investigation.
- Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival. Neal Shusterman is the author of Unwind and Scythe, two of Ridley High School’s all-time most popular books. I am here for his latest!
- A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
Teenage Bina runs away to New York City’s Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, dark secrets, and a painting that seems to be alive. As Bina’s memories become entangled with the present, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will cost for her to leave. I will drop everything for a lost-in-time house of secrets, which is what the novel promises!
- Sadie by Courtney Summers
Told from the alternating perspectives of nineteen-year-old Sadie, who has run away from her isolated Colorado town to find her younger sister’s killer, and a true crime podcast exploring Sadie’s disappearance. Sadie is a close second to Where the Crawdads Sing for the “Book with My Name On It” prize!
- Slayer by Kiersten White
From bestselling author Kiersten White comes a brand-new series set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, introducing a new Slayer as she grapples with the responsibility of managing her incredible powers. It’s true … they had me at “Buffy”!