So I learned over the weekend that my library only allows you to request up to 50 books.


I’m addicted to books…. I get the same little rush/thrill out of requesting/checking out/reading (library) books that other people get from buying clothes or furniture or something. I’m on track to read 100 books this year (approximately). I make sure I find time to read for at least 20 minutes a day to keep my sanity.

I also have this thing where I want to know everything. Truly.  I want to be the smartest person you know …. Working on that by reading a little bit of everything …. from crime novels to U.S. History to marketing to nutrition to the classics and on and on.

The other day I was discussing with a co-worker how I decide what to read next…. I’ve developed this little “system” over the last few months and I LOVE it…


Spend a ridiculous amount of time browsing Goodreads recommendations and add about a million TO READ books to your list.

Currently I have almost 700 books on my to-read list….. This is a combination of browsing Goodreads and adding specific books I hear about on blog posts or podcasts or from friends.


Sort your TO READ list by highest average rating.

Obviously there are some outliers…. In the screenshot below, I bet The Birth of NASA only has 1 review and that’s why it’s 5 stars, but in general I find this to be a decent guide.

goodreads1 goodreads2


Scroll through your TO READ list and pick out 3 or 8 or 14 books that you want to read next.

(Note: Because I’m reading U.S. History in roughly (roughly) chronological order, I skip over all of the after-1830 U.S. History books at the top of the list)


Add those selected books into your requests list at the library.


Most important! Our library allows you to request books for the future. ….

So when I put in a request I (almost always) choose a date sometime the future. Mostly randomly.

For example, I read a Gore Vidal book, decided I liked it and went and added a bunch more of his books. I spaced them out randomly for dates in May, June, August and October.

library1 library2


Wait for the library to let you know your books are available.

Since I am *mostly* choosing random dates weeks or months in the future AND sometimes I have to wait on a list in addition to that future date, it’s almost always a surprise to see what book/books are available for me to pick up at any given time.

Our library emails when books are available, so I never have to log on to check if I don’t want to.

ALSO: I have this thing where I don’t like to renew books. It’s a point of pride to be able to read each book in the 3 weeks I get it the first time.

*One exception to this method: When I’m REALLY busy, I do log in and move the dates back for some books if I know I won’t have time to read the book when it’s available to be checked out.

How do you decide what to read next?

Leave a Comment

  • Megan Anderson April 11, 2013, 5:47 am

    I own a crazy amount of books that I find in used bookstores and thrift shops, so I’m trying to go through all of the ones I haven’t read yet! Unless there’s a book I’m really, really, drawn to, I just pick the next haven’t-yet-read book on the shelf.

  • Alissa April 11, 2013, 6:55 pm

    OMG – I do something similar! So weird. However I don’t do it a lot because I rarely have a book drought. I am a librarian, not only that but I am the book selector for my library so I usually have stuff on hold. PLUS I get advanced copies too. So anyhoo my process is normally to look at the towering pile on my bedside table and decide if I’m in the mood for fiction or nonfiction and then what genre of fiction because I read fairly widely. However, I’ve put myself on a book diet this month. Hmm maybe I should blog about that. I’ve been working my way through your L&R posts on blogging. So super helpful. Ok now I’m rambling. Great post!

  • noblepower April 13, 2013, 7:43 am

    At least you are sane enough to go to the library. I have a gazillion samples on my Kindle as placeholders. I gotta get onto Good Reads . . .

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