So, say you’ve been reading my posts for a while now, and have gained an appreciation for science fiction and/or fantasy books (yay!). Say you want to read more of them but aren’t sure where to start, other than subscribing to my blog. You can go to the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of Barnes & Noble, but how do you know which books you’d like best, other than the blurbs on their backs or inside covers? Physical library books aren’t sorted by genre. You can search by genre on Amazon (although there is no YA sci-fi/fantasy subgenre, which I think is unfortunate), or even look up books that you’ve liked or heard about and then check out the books listed below them in the “customers-who-bought-this-item-also-bought” section. And, of course, you can check out the reviews on either Amazon or Goodreads. But did you know there are other ways to find recommendations for books, recommendations more customized to your tastes that won’t take forever to find? Let me tell you about a few.
- mybookcave.com – I love this site because you specify what genre(s) of books you like and what your preferred price point is and they email you whenever something comes up in those genres and at or below your price point. You indicate whether you’d like books with or without gay/lesbian characters, and the retailers you prefer. It’s only for ebooks.
- Tor.com – Tor is a publisher of speculative, science fiction, and fantasy books, one that I dream of getting published with one day. I recommend looking at their books list, which links to sites where you can buy the books.
- thebooksmugglers.com – because they review a lot of speculative, science fiction, and fantasy. Their tastes run a bit more liberal than mine, but I’ve bought several books that they’ve recommended and agreed with their ratings every time. The thing I like about their newsletter, which I signed up for, is that it doesn’t fill up my inbox. They only send me something when they have something important to say.
- On Amazon, search for “Nebula award showcase.” You’ll get a list of anthologies of winners of the Nebula award, one of the top honors for any science fiction or fantasy book to receive. Each one contains a collection of excerpts and short stories of the winners. Reading one of these (something I don’t normally do) was how I discovered Nancy Kress, one of my favorite “hard” sci-fi writers.
- Facebook – I highly recommend searching for book club groups such as Science Fiction Book Club, and asking to join them. You’d think that GoodReads.com would be a good place to get recommendations, but I’ve found it much easier to ask for recommendations in the Facebook book groups that I belong to.
- On Pinterest, if you search for “science fiction book reviews,” then click through on interesting titles, and then on “read,” you can find some reviews.
- Twitter: if you search on #scifibooks, you’ll find some reviews, although there’s also a lot of promo, and self-published authors doing promos. I recommend following publishers of science fiction and fantasy books, such as @Tor.com, @TorTeen, @Tor Books, and @IReadYA (associated with Scholastic), as well as your favorite authors.
- Instagram is a surprisingly good place to find talk about books, given its picture-centered format. Discussions are usually centered around the hashtags #bookstagram, #book, and #booknerdigans. There aren’t many hashtags that are specific to sci-fi or fantasy or that link to reviews that tell you why people liked the books they post about. I’m thinking of starting the hashtag #scifibookster.