Finding your next (hopefully good) book to read isn’t always a piece of delicious almond raspberry cake. Simply walking into the bookstore can be overwhelming and, excuse my pretentiousness for a moment, just perusing the table of new and bestsellers feels simultaneously like a cop out and a gamble (those books usually aren’t my cup of tea anyway).

While I’ve found some of my favorite books at the recommendations of others, having some semblance of what you like or what you’re looking for sure beats heading into a bookstore blindly.

The Book Seer – Incredibly simple; just type in the name of the book you’ve just finished reading and its author, and The Book Seer politely and enthusiastically recommends you some similar reads. This is by far the most charming way to find a new book online.

♥ Whichbook employs a sliding scale system to let you search for what type of book you’d like to read. Want something unpredictable, happy, but just slightly demanding? How about sad, bleak, AND funny? Just slide the scales! I should also point out their pretty creative and specific book lists such as “short and sweet” and “back luck and trouble”.

What Should I Read Next? simply lets you plug in a book you’ve enjoyed and finds reads of a similar nature. Clean and minimal, it’s good for a quick recommendation based on your likes and favorite books.

♥ Goodreads – This is probably my favorite way to find new reads, as it sort of combines the automated recommendations like the sites above with more personal, word-of-mouth reviews. You can view the read and to-read bookshelves of friends and find others with similar tastes to your own, and many categorize their books by “shelves”, which can range from traditional genres (think sci-fi or non-fiction) to some pretty creative classifications (“Highland Hunk Fantasy” – Oh, Felicia Day, you always amuse me). I find the reviews most helpful, however, as some members get very specific in describing what they liked or didn’t like about a book, which has swayed me in one direction or another quite frequently, and usually quite spot-on. You can even follow the shelves of groups, such as the genre-based Victorians!, or even Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Book Club!

Ask a friend, or the clerk behind the counter at the bookstore! People have favorite books for a reason, and seeing what others are reading can be a great way to find your next read. This is especially helpful if you and your friend have similar tastes, but random recommendations can be an exciting and fruitful adventure as well!

What’s your favorite way to find new books?