Your Next Great Read | Mechanics' Institute

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Your Next Great Read

Often finishing a beloved book is a bittersweet experience. How can one possibly find another title equally engaging? With the scarcity of open bookstores and recent library closures, it's a challenge to browse and ponder which books to read. There is always Amazon, which directs readers to related titles with its "customers who viewed this item also viewed" and "frequently bought together" capabilities, but discerning readers may crave a curated and more personalized experience.

Fortunately, there are many places to turn for book recommendations on the Internet. Here are a few of Mechanics' Institute Library's favorite user-friendly websites to help you find your next great read. While there are many other websites offering book recommendations, this list will serve as a basis for fine-tuning and personalizing your reading experience. 

Remember, if you can't locate a desired title in our catalog, please let us know using the online suggestion form on our website. We can't promise to purchase everything, but we'll consider each title carefully based on MI's readership.

Goodreads - If you're an avid reader, you probably already know about this site. Goodreads is a reader's advisory paradise as well as an online community for readers. You'll find a wide variety of recommended genre and subject book lists here. You'll also be able to scan other users' reading lists, share your own reading lists, create a wishlist, and catalog, rate, and review books you've read. You may join an established book group, create a group with friends, or get advice on how to run a book group. Now owned by Amazon, Goodreads' powerful search capabilities yield personalized suggestions that more closely align your literary tastes. The site is searchable without an account but signing up is free and gives you more privileges such as adding friends, creating lists, and participating in book discussions.

LibraryThing - While this site is not quite as user-friendly as Goodreads, it does give you the ability to create and track a library-quality catalog of your media -- books, movies and music -- you own, have read or want to read. LT's social media capabilities allow you to tag, rate and review and connect with other people based on the books they share. Accounts are free and allow you to follow friends and other users as well as other libraries. You will discover book recommendations from LT and other users. You can also connect with local libraries and bookstores and find book events in your area. If you peruse LT's privacy statement, it does not appear to be actively harvesting and sharing your data for commercial purposes. 

What Should I Read Next? - This site allows you to create booklists, keep track of books you've read and want to read, and get recommendations based on your reading tastes. If you enter an email address, your list of favorites will be remembered the next time you visit. Unlike Amazon, WSIRN's recommendations are based on collective taste rather than buying patterns. As an Amazon affiliate, WSIRN links to Amazon for title information and it earns money from qualifying purchases but that is not its main goal. 

Library Reads - If you're looking for a public library staff channel regarding books, LR offers a nationwide monthly "staff picks" list for adult fiction and nonfiction. Since LR draws upon nationwide public library staff recommendations, you'll get a broad, inclusive list of titles that may not be an exact duplicate of bestseller lists. Since LR is run by librarians and its mission is to merely connect books and readers, you'll find both reviews of bestselling titles and lesser known titles that may be your next great read. What's lovely about LR is that the site is devoid of ads and you can search without entering any personal information.

Posted on Jan. 11, 2021 by Celeste Steward