Do you have a strategic reading plan? Or do you prefer to leave your “next reads” to chance…a serendipitous find at the library or bookstore? Maybe you fall somewhere in between.

Regardless of how you plan (or don’t plan) your reading, here is a quick and hopefully fun list to give you new ideas on how to find your next reads. Pick one to start with, then come back to this list later when you’re on the hunt for more reading ideas.

  1. Read wide.
    Instead of reading within the same topics, categories, or genres that you normally do, purposely cast the net wider. Think outside your bookshelf and choose new topics of interest or genres.
    Non-fiction Challenge: Read 5 books on different subjects.
    Fiction Challenge: Choose novels from 5 different genres.
  1. Read deep.
    Pick one topic or theme and take a deep dive.
    Non-fiction Challenge: Read 3 books with a single, very narrow focus.
    Fiction Challenge: Read all the works by a favorite author or (if you’ve already done that) find a new sub-genre you’d like to explore and read 3 books.
  1. Read short.
    Leave the novels alone for a month and try a collection of shorter reads. Have some flash fiction with your morning coffee or (re)discover short stories. Many of your favorite authors may already have short story collections available.
    Search the internet for blogs and websites that showcase short fiction. Some may have content freely available.
    Search the library
    for short stories.
  1. Read long.
    Some authors are just cracking their knuckles at 80,000 words. There are some wonderful epic stories sitting on the shelves of your library. Whether it’s fantasy fiction or Russian literature, invest yourself in one of these sweeping tales. They are vast and rich.
  1. Read poetry.
    If you don’t read much poetry, give it a try. Not sure about it? Poetry is sort of like food—there are all kinds of flavors and there’s bound to be something you enjoy. These two articles are a good place to begin.

    • An inspiring article on how to get started with poetry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s an excerpt:
      In years to come, alongside medical records and political reporting, historians and classes of schoolchildren will look to art and poetry to find out what life was like on a day-to-day basis – what things seemed important, what things worried people, how the world looked and felt and was experienced.
    • A list of recommended reading.
  1. Read local.
    There are a few ways to do this.
    (1) Find local authors and read their work.
    (2) Find stories set in your city/state/region.
    (3) If you want an adventure, select a few novels set in one geographic location: London, or Montreal, or Wyoming. (Extra points if you can find books set in a certain location, written by several different authors! They’ll each see the location through their own lens, and you’ll benefit from that.)
  1. Read children’s books.
    This is only on the list because of COVID-19. I’d never have thought of it otherwise. Books for kids just weren’t on my reading radar before the world turned upside down.
    When our library closed its doors, we shifted “storytime” to online. I began scouring the internet for videos of people reading children’s books. What I found was simply wonderful. I’d forgotten about so many of the books I loved as a child.
    I discovered new stories and amazingly talented storytellers.
    I laughed out loud.
    They were so ridiculously fun that I shared a couple picture book videos with my friends. “This is fantastic…watch it!”
    Children’s stories are awesome. (Well, the good ones are, anyway.) To quote C.S. Lewis, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
    Are you having a bad day? Take 15 minutes and watch this video. You’ll find your smile again. You’ll be reminded of some things we adults might have forgotten. And if you have a child at home, grab a treasured book, find a comfy chair, hold them close, and read.

This list isn’t all-inclusive, but it’s a good starting point for finding your next reads. What do you think? Which of these ideas would you like to try? Let us know in the comments…or maybe you have your own ideas on finding next reads. We want to hear them!