Read Alert: Book Alikes

Ever Googled “What should I read next?”

Do it and you’ll get quite a few websites that actually generate suggestions for your next read. If I don’t have something coming in from a lit agent and I can’t get a good recommendation from a friend, I’m sometimes at a loss for choosing my next read. I don’t always trust the New York Times list–that thing is rigged!

Plus after I’ve read something that I’ve really loved (like any of these on my top ten list), I’m fearful that the next read will fall short. So what I like about some of these sites, for example, Google’s first return,, is that recommendations are made based on 1) what you’ve read and loved in the past; and 2) other reader recommendations based on what you’ve read and loved in the past. I actually tried this with a couple of books and really did love the recommendations. I think that they were similar to the examples I gave and it was great to have my expectations met. But this only works for so long. Eventually, I’ve read everything on my suggestions list, and I found that didn’t take too long. Because I usually choose books to match my tastes, I’d already read half of the recommendations that it pulled up for me.

Then there’s which finds books based on your interests. Using sliding scales, you choose whether or not you want a happy book or a sad one; expected or unpredictable; gentle or violent; and a number of other options. You can also review others’ book lists or create your own. This is certainly a lot more involved and a bit more risky–but also a good way to find something interesting in an unexpected place.

Maybe I’m making it all too complicated. How do you find your next read?


Sarah Ann Noel is a freelance writer, blogger, and public relations professional. She blogs “Read Alert” every week and covers other Denver-related events and thoughts on writing and motherhood on her personal blog. Check back every week for reviews, literary events, and other bookish finds.


  1. I was in a reading limbo – nothing looked good and I was BORED. So, on a whim, I shot out a “recommend me a good book, and why” tweet and posted the same on Facebook. It was a mindless exercise, but when I came back to it a few hours later, I was pleasantly surprised by the multitude of suggestions I received. It actually exposed me to authors/works I hadn’t yet heard of, and even started book-related conversations with people I wouldn’t have thought to approach about the subject.

    1. Such a good idea. I too often think of my Twitter/Facebook networks as just my friends–people I’d go to face-to-face. But really they are so much broader than that, plus your friends’ networks and your friends’ friends’ networks… I bet you got some great suggestions!

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