Last month I asked readers how they discover new books in a genre after reading a series or type of book. So if you read a legal thriller and loved it how would you go about finding other legal thrillers? This led into a widespread discussion just covering discovering new books in general.

Here are the responses:

Carole: I am fortunate enough to work in a library (yes, they actually give me money to spend my whole day with books!) and I usually ask for recommendations from our patrons when I run out of a series to read. I discovered the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny and Bernard Cornwell’s books through library patrons sharing their favorites. We have now set up a spot for patron recommendations near our check out desk so everyone who comes in can take advantage of this wonderful resource.

Chris: This month’s question is a great one! For readers like me, it’s always about finding the next compelling series and author. Sites like yours help me find new books to read, along with recommendations from book loving friends. Also, the people who work at the local library can tell me about new books that are worth reading.

Christine: I have two main sources for “new” (at least to me) books: online (browsing Amazon, e-mails from Thriftbooks) and visits to Books-a-Million (the only big book chain I can handily reach. When I see something online that looks interesting, I put it in my Wish List; in a store, I write it down.

Don: I have been using Order of Books.com. It is only recently (although it has been at least 7 years) that I have taken up reading. I found your site and at the bottom is a short list of related authors. I find it very useful.

Thank you and keep up the good work.

Donna: Both of your suggestions have merit, but the best way to find new authors is: go to the public library. You can actually read a book for free and if the writer is to your taste, you can find most of his/her books on the shelves and decide if you want to clutter your shelves [and reduce your purse] with those books.

Best part: if you get a book that’s really awful or just plain boring, you don’t have to finish it. Just take it back and try something else.

Hint: I suggest always reading at least two books by an author because every writer can have one “off day” book and every writer can have one “brilliant” book. Reading a second book by an author who seems mediocre may keep you from missing out, while reading a second book by an author who seems brilliant may save you a few bucks on books that you find you cannot abide.

For example, I tried to read one book by Dick Francis and simply could not get into it. I tried another and I was off to the races [so to speak]. Had I only read the one, which I still consider one of his lesser lights, I would not have had the pleasure of reading all the wonderful books I love.

Jane: Some of my best new finds after a series is wandering through the virtual stacks of our state’s virtual library. Pip Ballantine, V E Schwab, and Justin Cronin are just a few I discovered to my delight.
Snow Crash was good, but Tad Williams led the charge in Otherworld for me…that will eat up your summer!
Am on the second book do the Way of Kings…you shattered my world saying he plans ten books…I was thinking three was plenty though I enjoy the tale.
I do wonder why we have entered the realm of long series to tell a story. Money of course, it stand alone tales or short series that you didn’t wait twenty years to finish are/were great….I will probably die before Rothfuss and Martin finish…..wonder if the afterlife has a good library?

Janet: I have used the Amazon customers who bought this also bought this listing too. I find the services of my local library website and its staff to be a great source for finding new authors. They have a recommended for you section that depends on how I rate books I have read. I look at the page that lists the most popular books under browse the catalog or at the books the different locations are reading for their book clubs. It is also helpful to see how many people are on a waiting list for a book, especially if the book isn’t a new one.

The library district covers about half a million people and I love its Mission Statement is “We open doors for curious minds”.
https://www.anythinklibraries.org/about

I have time to finish “Truth or Dare” by Fern Michaels before the everyone wakes up.

John B: Always look forward to the monthly newsletter from Order of Books, thanks Graeme!

I wanted to share some of my methods for discovering new books.

I subscribe to lots of newsletters:

Penguin Random House

Amazon Book Review (Omnivoracious)

Goodreads

Kirkus

Bookbrowse

Orderofbooks (Of Course)

When I see something interesting I always check it out on Amazon (or Goodreads) to read some of reviews…I know what you said about Amazon having too many 5 star reviews, but I have a formula, you see. I won’t read a book where the 3 star reviews are more than 13% or so. I mostly just stick to reading the 3 star reviews, I think those reviews are the most helpful. With the 4 or 5 star reviews people are just gushing, and with the 1 and 2 star reviews people are mostly complaining about the shipping or about the condition of the book, not very helpful.

Lastly, I ty to remember to check out the annual book awards websites. They always publish their long and short lists at the same time every year along with the winners, of course.

The Edgar Awards for mystery

The Nebula Awards of SF

Lots of different awards and best seller lists out there

Madeline: To find a new author/series, I click on the author’ name on the Amazon page for his or her books, and
a little bio comes up, but under the bio is a list of authors who are similar to that author; “if you like so
and so, you will like …. ”

kaceye2005: Honestly??? I read your news letter. I mostly read mystery, crime, thrillers.
Everytime you review a good one, i have to try it. Youve been spot on so far.
Ive tried teading reviews but so many times thats backfired on me and Ive wasted money.
Ill continue to rely on Goodreads. Thank you!

Linda: How do I choose another author to try? Many different ways. I love your order of books recommendations. You must like thrillers as much as I do. Then I have a friend who recommends books as she is actually able to listen to books at her job, so she has much more time to read than I do and gives great recommendations. I, too, like Amazon’s site that says if you liked this book, you might also like this one. Very good. Then there is Thrift Books that does the same thing. I also read reviews in our local paper and in the Entertainment magazine. I worked as a librarian for several years and listened to the patrons comments on books. There are endless ways to find good authors. I just finished The Woman in Cabin 10 and loved it, so will probably try more of that author’s books. I am now reading The Couple Next Door and am liking it so far, so will probably try more Lapena books. I have one rule of thumb if I start a book and it does not grip me by page 50, I am out of it. If the author cannot invest enough thrilling moments in 50 pages, then I figure he or she is not worth it. I am enjoying my summer reading, not doing a series right now and kind of liking the freedom to just choose a random book. Thank you once again for your great newsletter. Have a great summer.

Lindi: I get book names from a wide variety of sources. Your site, my local Public Radio station, my Overdrive account through my library Barnes and Noble based on books I’ve read, and also from friends.

My list of books I would like to read is well over 400. Sometimes I lose interest in reading a book and remove it from my Goodreads To Read list. Even so, the list keeps growing.

Kenicia: I work at a library. I see wonderful books come through constantly. My to-read list is extremely long! Whenever I start something unfamiliar, I always check to see if it’s part of a series. Often it is, so I determine what book 1 is, and start there. I also watch a lot of mysteries. I occasionally read those series, although the show is usually different. If I enjoy the TV show, I am a bit leery of reading the books. I dislike when the two don’t match.

Judy: Graeme, to choose new books I use both your methods but have also found the following to work: be random! I volunteer at our local library to pull the books requested by other patrons. This takes me to many areas of the library that I have never really looked into. What a variety there is to choose from. So, as I see titles that would/might be interesting I take a picture of the cover with my camera and then add them to my “to read” list. I also just wander the mystery section and whenever I see a series I check them out and if the series looks good, I find the first book (or come to your site if I don’t have time in the library) and check it out. As an example, while pulling books last year I was in the mystery section. The book requested had a very unusual title and that intrigued me so I figured out the first book in the series, checked it out and finished all those there just in time for the newest book by the author to be published. And thus I found Alan Bradley’s “Flavia de Luce” series.

Jan S: You asked how we find new authors/series of books to read. I have found tons of new authors from a daily e-mail from Bookbub. I have enjoyed everything that I have read this spring and summer, and most of them have been new authors to me. The best thing about Bookbub is that you pick your favorite genres, they send a daily list of books that can be read on several different devices ranging in price from FREE to $2.99. I usually only read the books that I can find at the library. If I find a new author that has written several books, I always check them out on orderofbooks.com. For me, it’s a total win situation that I would highly recommend.

Jan: Hope you and the family are enjoying the summer. With the oppressive heat we’ve had lately, I’ve had pleanty of time to read. (Too hot to garden and pick weeds.) So, how do I find new authors? Most of the time I get an Email from Amazon informing me of other books like the ones I have read. I research the authors and see what their books are about. If they sound interesting, I write down the titles…starting with the first in the series,,,,and start reading . Sometimes I google “mystery writers ” and look through that list. Years ago I started a note book, “So many books…….”. I have all my authors listed alphabetically and then with all their book titles. As I read them , they get crossed off. It’s a good way to keep track of what I read, plan to read or will never read another by that author. It also helps me to remember when a new book and is coming out.
Well, another murder is calling, and I must go! (Gee, that would be a great title!!!)

Elizabeth: I too like to use amazon to see similar books to ones I have enjoyed. I also use bookpage which I get from my public library.

Heather: You said you like to use Amazon for book recommendations, there is a website that lets you know if the reviews are genuine. It’s called Fakespot.com. I’ve found it very useful. And it may be good for you if some of the reviews seem iffy.

I really don’t have a go to method for finding new authors. I used to go thru Doubledays website bc I’m a member, but I hate the changes that were made. Sorry, I couldn’t add much in that topic. I kind of free spirit my way thru different avenues. You’re recommendations, or perusing booksites like Better World Books and Thriftbooks. I still like reading the old fashioned way.

Eamon: Good morning from Thailand!
Glad to see you are enjoying your summer.
I did new authors mainly through Amazon suggestions. Robert Dugoni was one of my most enjoyable successes. Of course I’m also too old to worry about accusations of sycophantic thoughts so I can also say Goodreads helps!☺

Liz: It’s funny you mention that Goodreads isn’t helpful because so many reviews are from reader who got ARCs and feel obligated. I do read ARCs and so far I have rated them 5 stars – because I thought they deserved it. If I didn’t, I’d review them honestly. And I have run into a lot of reviews that say effectively “I read the ARC and I feel bad about posting a poor review but I’ll be honest.”
My favourite way to use Goodreads is not to look at the rating or good reviews, but A) Look at my friends’ reviews – the people I’m friends with on GR have similar taste to me. B) Look at the bad reviews – are the faults mentioned really faults, or was the book just not to that person’s taste?

Also, my family and friends know my taste in books, so I get books for presents for Christmas and birthdays, and sometimes just randomly! I really love it because sometimes I’ll get a book that I would never pick up by myself, that ends up being one of my favourites – my mum got me And I Darken by Kiersten White, which I would never have looked twice at, and it was my favourite read of the year (if you haven’t already recommended it, it’s awesome!).

Dave T: I have read Clive Cussler for years and his is the only books I always buy. I have in last year have read all of the Jack Reacher Series except the newest one and since then I have used your monthly emails to compile list of the types of books I will read in the near future. I am thrilled to have found your website to help set up my reading for the years to come and i’ll have help from my daughter who works for my local public library so if they don’t have the next book in a series she can get it for me in a few days. Thanks for your monthly emails and great suggestions.

Glenda: I bought books based on the same criteria as you. Mainly, I read the slight descriptions on the back of the book. I am open to any other suggestions.

Judy: My husband and I both get a lot of good suggestions from Fantastic Fiction. It is a great site.

Alison: To find a new book after reading a series I also follow the author and many actually suggest books in their news letters. I also subscribe to the free sites like Bookbub, there are several out there. Really helpful question, thanks for thinking of it.

Ann: Here in New Zealand new books are usually very expensive so I find most of my books through the charity book fairs run by the Red Cross and Rotary. I can usually find between 20 and 30 books each time which only cost a few dollars each, plus I leave each book fair feeling better for having helped a charity too.

April: My absolute favorite way is when they run sales for first in a series on amazon or Barnes and noble (I use both a nook and a kindle). I will buy 20-30 “firsts” and end up reading the whole series of about 50% of those firsts. I can try out lots of new series cheap and not be dependent on anyone else’s reviews.

Barbara: I too use the Amazon ‘customers who bought also bought’ option. I also use a resource called “Wowbrary” offered by one of the several libraries I use. It is published weekly and showcases new acquisitions for the specific library. They list many different categories of material and different formats. It allows me to place holds on new material before it is published, go to Amazon for ‘more info’ to more fully preview the material. As a result of this service, I have found some interesting new authors. I have also found some duds!! The libraries also list new/popular material by category on their cover page and I do peruse that option.
I enjoy your newsletter very much and appreciate the recommendations you make. I no longer buy many books, but use the public library system extensively – what a marvelous resource.

Bev B.: Word of mouth is a great way–what is a friend reading? I do most of my reading by borrowing books online from libraries rather than buying them. The library software will recommend other authors deemed similar in either style or genre. Sometimes a movie comes along, and that piques an interest in the author. Since finding your newsletter, after using your website for quite some time, I appreciate your recommendations very much. One of my most favorites is the “Beekeeper” series.

Bev: Thanks to the OrderofBooks website, I am able to finish a complete series of books in publiation order. Then, I’m off to find another author.

1. Our local library has a New Fiction site and I Iook for familiar authors, or try a new one. If I like a new author, I go to OoB to find the previously written books.

2. While at the OoB website, I also look at your suggestions and then look for them at the library. I am not a Kindle or ebook reader. I like to have a real book in my hands.

Marcia: Hope you’re enjoying the summer “up” there! Here in Tennessee, it is pretty unbearable! Hubby and I just got back from vacation to Mississippi and Louisiana, Tennessee is just as hot and humid. We visited his family in Louisiana but I had a particular stop to make on our trek. Natchez, Mississippi. I needed to experience this historic Southern town because Greg Iles’ Penn Cage series affected me so (not always in a positive light for the most part). But I got to see Iles’ “guest” home, gorgeous in the downtown area with many of the antebellum homes. Natchez, as I am sure you know, was only slightly harmed during the Civil War and there are numerous homes to tour. When we entered our B&B bedroom, right there on the mantle were a stack of Greg Iles books, I was thrilled.

Anyhow, since we chatted last, I have joined 2 more Book Clubs. I am reading a series of silly cozy books (The Cherry Cola Bookclub series) and it is situated in a fictitious Mississippi town and the main character is the librarian. She started the book club and it gave me the idea to contact our Library. I looked on line and voila, there are now 2 book clubs. I called and immediately joined both. They are currently choosing their books from a Top 100 list. I will get a copy later this month, as I am anxious to check it out! The 1st book I read was The Other Boleyn Girl, quite something whether it’s historically correct or not. It is labeled as a “novel”. So one never knows. I was on vacation for the next meeting, which our Book Club had read “Go Set a Watchman”, and it was so disappointing but to compare it to “To Kill A Mockingbird’ is hard not to do but it was a serious disappointment. The next read is “The Alchemist” and I am not familiar with this author at all, so it will be a very interesting read, as it is highly recommended.

I can tell by the newsletter that you are a fantasy reader. I could never get into it but it just goes to show that I am a huge Harry Potter fan (yes, I”m 63 yo and call myself a “Potterite”). Something just caught me with the little boy with the scar. I am also a huge fan of Gabaldon’s Outlander series (from the beginning when she started writing them) and the Mockingjay series too. Sounds like I really am a fan but could not for the life of me finish The Hobbit or any Tolkien, go figure.

So for your monthly question at hand: how to find another series/author after you’ve finished one. I don’t usually look for series or authors, they find me! I keep a running list of authors and titles that I may see anywhere that sounds interesting. Once I research a little, much like your 4 hour hunt online reading and researching, they either stay on my list or are deleted. Amazon, Goodreads, your site, and my numerous lists (which I will never read all of) just keep growing and I do seem to find ,more and more online sites to read about reading!! I purely by accident read about the Lincoln and Childs series about Agent Pendergast and it is one of the strangest series I’ve ever read and absolutely adore! I just don’t keep up with all of the sites, except yours and a few more, to be fair.

I am glad to see your addition: Oxford Medieval Mystery Series. I have started The Bregdan Chronicles and found the first one entertaining just enough to keep my curiosity peaked although the romantic part was my least favorite and the historical was the favorite.

Dennis: Personally, I find the best way to discover new authors to read is on Goodreads. Once I click on a book that I like, I look at the top right section that lists a few similar books that readers have enjoyed. They are usually of a similar theme. Once I click on one of those, the process repeats itself. It’s a bit like opening a can of worms or going through the wormhole though as I can easily lose a few hours of time before I notice. I rarely pay attention to ratings as I concur with your assessment of friendly reviews.

Mike: I have successfully used both the methods you listed in your monthly newsletter. One thing that I did to find some new reading was to search for award winning novels. As I am a lover of science fiction, I used a list of Hugo and Nebula award winners to find new books to read. If I really liked one of them then I would go back to the two methods you listed to find some similar books/series. Also I did not just look for the winners but all those who were nominated. One other way I look is to make sure I read your newsletter! A while back you had recommended Lee Child’s Reacher series. I read the first book and was hooked. Thanks Graeme, appreciate what you do.

Marie: Hi, I love to go to my library’s website and scroll through a particular genre. The best part is that you can usually read the first chapter of a book that catches your eye and see if it also captures your imagination. Thanks for the opportunity to participate.

Pam: In answer to this month’s question, I find that some of my friends have the same taste in books that I do (mystery is my favorite genre) and I value their recommendations.

My local newspaper reviews new books on Sunday and, after reading the review, I’ll add them to my to-read list on Goodreads. I really don’t use the Goodreads reviews; however, if the overall rating is high, I’ll investigate and see if the synopsis is a book I’d enjoy.

We have a great independent bookstore in town The Poisoned Pen that specializes in mysteries and thrillers. They frequently host authors events for them to visit and discuss their new books along with a Q&A session. It’s opened my eyes to some new series that I wouldn’t have know about otherwise.

Look forward to your monthly newsletter, Graeme. You, too, have given me some new series/books to read. Thanks!

Pam W: I usually have friends recommending more books and series than I can read! If I’m really stuck, I look to see which ones my goodreads friends rated highly.

Phoenix: I am a great fan of Margaret Frazer’s Sister Frivesse mysteries. Her characters are well-drawn, believable, and her scholarship is evident throughout. I was heartbroken when I learned the author had passed away and there would be no more books! I despaired of finding another author to take her place, but then I discovered Ann Swinfen’s bookseller series. She writes very much in the same tone, and the books are enjoyable and captivating. So far, there are only five, but I look forward to many, many more!

Phyllis: In my case, I have to disagree with your comments about Goodreads winners/reviews. I have won a TON of books from Goodreads, and I give honest reviews of every single one. I don’t give too many five star reviews because well…there’s just not a lot of books that deserve that. Usually my reviews are three, sometimes four stars, but I have had a couple of books that I only gave one star to. They didn’t deserve that, but I think you have to give at least one? This of course, is just me; but I can’t see where giving a dishonest review would really help other readers. In fact, if I had read a few reviews on these books I would never have entered to win. Lesson learned. Unless I know it’s a author I really love and will enjoy I look at the reviews already posted. Unless I see a good number of three star (which to me is an enjoyable book, but not life-changing) or above I just scroll by.

Rhea: After reading every book in Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid and Max Revere series, I was at a loss. I tweeted to Allison Brennan that it felt like “forever” until her next book was out and she replied, recommending that I read J.T. Ellison’s Taylor Jackson series. I did and loved it. J.T. Ellison also had a few short stories that she co-wrote with authors Erica Spindler and Alex Kava featuring the characters of their series. After I read those, I read the series of both authors and loved them. So simply asking my favorite author what to read led to a bunch of new favorite authors and series.

Also, I follow the blog Crime by the Book and I’ve gotten about a dozen amazing reads out of that including The Collector Series by Dot Hutchinson which is so good, all other books pale by comparison.

Rita: You have been my inspiration since I joined, now have a not book full of authors and will certainly add Daniel Silva to that list if I I can find room, no I will find room, there is not one book that I haven’t enjoyed through your list of recommendations, it is just a matter of finding them in our small library, with this book I never fail to find at least five books for the month, then through that author I am able to add a new list just from that one book, thank youas I get out so little now days and of course it is the middle of winter in New Zealand so prop myself up in a nice sunny room,

Sandra: Just told a friend about your newsletter; she enjoys your website but, somehow, missed signing up for the newsletter. When I read a book, it’s cover to cover, including reviews, thanks, etc. A lot of times the reviewers are folks I’ve not read or even heard of so enjoy finding new to me authors that way. Same thing with visiting author’s websites and reading reviews. Order of Books is the only site I use for new to me authors; it’s extremely inclusive and runs the fiction gamut.

Usually, when I find a fantastic author, I read their books in order and enjoy the story build as much as the story (if that makes sense).

Stephanie: Hi Graeme, I am just reading the third Nicholas Petrie book (the 4th will be out soon). I found the first one on the $6 dollar table at B&N and was immediately engrossed. Petrie’s main character, Peter Ash, has been compared to the “Jack Reacher” series (which was forever ruined for me when they gave the move role to Tom Cruise), but in my opinion he is a much fuller and more interesting character. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve seen this author on your lists and wanted to recommend him. It’s been a great series, Peter Ash is a great character as a credible and moving veteran of two wars, coping with PTSD. and able to handle himself in a wide and interesting variety.of circumstances. So: “Drifter”; “Burning Bright” and “Light It Up”.

Sheila: The best way for me to discover a new series is to talk to people about what I have read and to get their feedback and suggestions. My best friends are extremely instrumental in this, as are the librarians in my town. When I actually see the passion in their eyes and hear it in their voices, I am assured that the authors and their works are going to hold my interest.
One friend, knowing my love of the books by Anne Perry, recently recommended Charles Finch’s mystery series featuring Charles Lennox. Tony Hillerman’s books led me to the writings of his daughter Anne Hillerman who took up the Leaphorn and Chee series after her father died. I mentioned to one of the librarians how much I enjoyed the series and she told me about the Longmire series by Craig Johnson.
As for me, I can heartily recommend The Horacio Hornblower series by CS Forester and the Mazie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. Also, Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series, anything and everything by Alexander McCall Smith, Linda Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper series, everything by Bernard Cornwall and all of Agatha Christie’s mysteries.
I hope this leads others to read these authors, and I am looking forward to seeing what other people recommend. Thanks for all your commentary and suggestions. Have a great summer!

Tom M:
Hello…I get ideas from actually going to the library and looking around, especially in the newer book section. I also use Amazon to search various authors or titles and end up with many more ideas and click my way far beyond where I started. I read a few magazines and they often have book reviews. Of course, your site has tons of info to look over. I don’t use social media or book sites like Goodreads. I get a few ideas from author web sites. Honestly, there are just too many books out there and the chances of hitting on a really good one get slimmer and slimmer. I have lists of books going back over 15 years that I wanted to read and seldom got to them. Sometimes, If I see a movie I really like, I will try to find the book associated with it if there is one. After spending a lot of the last two months remodeling the kitchen, my reading habits have gone done the toilet. I hope to make amends very soon.

Amazing that you go on vacation and spend most of it reading. That is fantastic. My girlfriend doesn’t understand that when I go on a trip, especially to a place I enjoy, I don’t mind doing next to nothing. If I could spend half my day reading, it would be wonderful. It’s just being in a different atmosphere with no expectations that makes the difference for me. I don’t need to run around crazy trying to pack a ton of activities into MY VACATION DAYS….
Take care and enjoy what you like doing.

V Boda: My best source for finding new authors/series to read is my local library. Several of the librarians also like mystery novels, and have recommended authors/titles for me. And vice versa: I mention a “really good read” when I am returning books.

Also I get many e-mails about books, both new and popular. I am always willing to try a new author, and usually find their series book list and read the brief summaries before selecting a new series.

I enjoy your monthly e-mail very much; thanks for all your comments and suggestions.

Vanessa: I am new to your newsletter and website, and just wanted to say a HUGE thankyou for the recommendations. I try and read everyday and it consumes me sometimes, and having access to your recommendations and website has opened up a whole you world of authors I didn’t know about. It is also great as I borrow from my library audiobooks for my husband to use when he is driving each night for work. And for a non reader it is hard to find books to suit him, but your site has really help with that.

So thankyou for all you do and have a great summer. It’s winter here in Australia, so enjoy your warm days.

Wayne: I read your monthly newsletter!

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Discovering New Books Within Same Genre