It’s a world cluttered with books. We may crib that books are losing readers, and perhaps they really are, but the situation is not dire yet. Check #igreads on Instagram and you will immediately feel more hopeful about the future of books.
Personally, I am not worried about reading becoming unfashionable or Kindle overtaking books. What bothers me is what you’re reading. At the cost of sounding like a book snob, finding books from bestseller lists is amateurish. Bibliophiles know that such tactics offer only run-of-the-mill reads. The best reads can be elusive and hard to find. Here’s what we do to find our #bookporn.
Watch Some Television
I’ve found a wealth of reading material from TV, thanks to shows that refer extensively to literature. Season one of True Detective was filled with allusions to authors like HP Lovelock and Margaret Atwood. Watch Orange Is The New Black’s third season for a reading list that includes Calvin & Hobbes.
World Wide Web
If you thought the Internet destroyed the culture of reading, you couldn’t be more wrong. Goodreads is a community of book lovers, filled with recommendations and hidden gems. The Book Seer makes suggestions based on what you read last. You will also find tons of book blogs, some specializing in genres and literary periods. Sites like Brainpickings often feature excerpts from books so you can try it before you buy it.
Love for Lists
Remember the bestseller lists? Ditch the ones you find in stores and use those published by credible newspapers and publications. But those will only offer current titles, and might have recommendations based on purely commercial reasons. I prefer looking for personalized and ‘all-time favorites’ lists online, which yield both iconic books and little-known titles.
Find the Readers
As a student of literature, I made notes of all the books professors referred to even casually. Those made for excellent to-read lists. Pro bookworm tip: make friends with people who love books (and not just self-help titles).
It might sound old-fashioned, but libraries are, unsurprisingly, just the place to find wonderful reads. Browsing offline among rows and rows of books is like a treasure hunt. You will find tons of old and rare titles to choose from. Show some love for your college library.
Skip the chain stores entirely. Instead head to secondhand markets and quaint bookstores for interesting titles. Our pick of places: Mumbai’s Strand Bookstore, Higginbotham’s in Chennai, Bengaluru’s Blossom Book House, and Best Books in Hyderabad. In Kolkata, head to College Street, and Sundays in Delhi are best saved for a tour of the Daryaganj weekly market.
The world is filled with great books. But good things are sometimes a little hard to find. Have you recently come upon a little-known book or an author you liked, or reread a book you once loved? Share your stories in the comments.
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