Q1 2018 Update: My Go-To and No-Go Book Recommendation Sources

Book Recommendation sources


As many of you probably know, I adopted a new method for selecting books this year. I’m choosing books that have already been read and recommended by trusted recommendation sources rather than from publishers’ catalogs or various “Most Anticipated” book lists. The key to success is the “already read” part because it provides an opinion beyond “does the premise sound good on paper?” and that of independent of publishers’ marketing machines.

Each quarter, I’ll share how this is going…my Go-To and No-Go recommendation sources and whether the quality of my reading has improved or not.

My Q1 2018 Reading Quality

 % Successful Books Attempted (includes DNFs)  54%
 % Successful Books Finished (does not include DNFs)  81%

My Successful Books Attempted increased almost 26% over last year (43%). My goal is to keep this success rate above 50% all year long, so I’m pleased with this so far!

The second number gives me an extra incentive to DNF books that aren’t working for me.

My Go-To Book Recommendation Sources for Q1 2018

Annie Jones from From the Front Porch podcast  5
(Heating & CoolingSunburnBachelor NationTangerineThe Female Persuasion)
 Trusted Authors
(Ann Patchett, Kelly Corrigan, Meg Wolitzer, Sloane Crosley)
(What Now?Glitter & GlueThe Female PersuasionLook Alive Out There)
Read It Forward’s Best Books of the Month Lists  4
(An American MarriageWoman Last Seen in Her ThirtiesLaura & EmmaBrass)
 Tyler Goodson, Manager at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA  3
(SunburnI’ll Be Gone in the DarkLaura & Emma)

2 Big Lessons Learned from Tracking my Recommendation Sources

  • If you want to find people who have already read new releases way (like months) before their publication dates, look to the booksellers/bookstore owners! They seem to read months ahead of bloggers and this group has really climbed the charts of my top recommendation sources. Annie JonesTyler Goodson, and Kelly Massry (who didn’t make my top four, but has given me some great recommendations this year) are all booksellers.
  • Ask your Go-To Recommendation Sources who their Go-To Sources are! Annie Jones has been one of my Go-To Recommendation Sources for awhile now. She did an episode of From the Front Porch podcast where she took questions from listeners and I asked if she could share some of her go-to recommendation sources. She shared an awesome list of her sources and their Instagram handles. I immediately followed them all. Tyler Goodson came from this list.

My No-Go Book Recommendation Sources for Q1 2018

Trusted Authors
(Melanie Benjamin, Chris Bohjalian, Anna Quindlen)
(The Girls in the PictureThe Flight AttendantAlternate Side)
Book of the Month  2
(The Wife Between UsNot That I Could Tell)
Modern Mrs. Darcy  2
(Castle of WaterThe Almost Sisters)

This category is especially hard for me. Every single one of these sources has been a Go-To Source for me in the past. Trusted Authors topped my Go-To list this month as well. Book of the Month has put a number of phenomenal books on my radar…and they’re usually books I hadn’t even heard of before Book of the Month chose them as monthly selections. And, Modern Mrs. Darcy‘s Best Books of 2017 list was one of the ones I agreed most with. 

I guess the lesson here is not every single recommendation from your Go-To Sources will always pan out. And, that’s OK.

How I Keep Track of My Reading Quality and Go-To/No-Go Recommendation Sources…and You Can Too!

Are you thinking it takes me hours to calculate my reading quality and keep track of my Go-To and No-Go recommendation sources every month? Well, it totally could, but it doesn’t. I use my “Rock Your Reading” Tracker, which automatically calculates my reading quality for me and helps me easily keep track of my recommendation sources.

If you’re interested in tracking your own reading quality and recommendation sources, you can purchase my tracker for $11.99! Go here for more details or purchase below!

Rock Your Reading Tracking Spreadsheet Summary Charts

Track your book recommendation sources


Purchase here…

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  1. Ann Marie wrote:

    Booksellers are excellent sources of recommendations and I should be paying more attention to what they have to say. The reality is that I probably pay less attention since I’ve started blogging. I can’t wait to see how this plays out for you over the course of the year. I think it’s a very smart idea.

    Posted 4.3.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thanks! I’m finding it much easier to just pay attention to certain people on Instagram and Goodreads rather than combing publishers’ catalogs..cutting out a lot of noise for me!

      Posted 4.11.18 Reply
  2. I like that you’re so organized about this. I’m trying to read a lot of award-winners this year, so most of my recommendations are coming from award committees.

    Posted 4.3.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you! And, how’s that going? I tend to have terrible luck with award winners…

      Have you heard the latest story about the Nobel committee? Google it..Book Riot talked about it on their latest podcast. Super interesting and disheartening…

      Posted 4.11.18 Reply
  3. Tara wrote:

    I am sad to admit that I have been really slacking on filling out my spreadsheet, lately; I need to get back to it because I love to see all of the stats and info! I’m so glad that this year, already, seems to be a much better reading year for you (in spite of the weather struggles!); what great insight into what works and how to proceed! Also, I just have to say that I’m a little disappointed in BOTM; I’m going to be more careful about my selections and not jump to order the first thing that looks/sounds exciting.

    Posted 4.3.18 Reply
  4. Karen Lee wrote:

    I’m confused. What do the underlines mean? Are all the books in the first section recommended. What happened to your summaries?

    Posted 4.3.18 Reply
  5. Wendy wrote:

    I just rely on you, Tara, and Goodreads to guide me…

    Posted 4.3.18 Reply
  6. Tracie wrote:

    I love this concept of trending sources to improve your reading selections. Bummed you didn’t like Almost Sisters. I really enjoyed that book. Keep up the great work. Your approach and monthly wrap ups are inspiring me on how to be a better planner on what I read.

    Posted 4.4.18 Reply
  7. I really need to find the time to listen to more book related podcasts. I always get good book suggestions from them. It’s great that your new method of selecting books is working so well for you. Your successful book percentage is amazing!

    Posted 4.4.18 Reply
  8. Madeline wrote:

    I’m leery of author recommendations. I wonder if they aren’t required to do them, and write positive ones, either because of friendships or their publishers request.

    This year I’ve started tracking my source. I’m only 53 books in, but it appears that no one source is golden. Even authors I’ve liked in the past have come up short. Which, come to think of it, isn’t surprising. I’m not going to like absolutely everything someone else does. And authors aren’t going to hit home runs (yes, it’s baseball season!) with every book.

    The science is helpful, but it’s still an art to finding those great books. Which is why there are still humans in bookstores and libraries!

    Posted 4.4.18 Reply
  9. This is really interesting! I hadn’t thought about keeping track of where I hear about books from and whether those recommendations are good. I think I get a lot of them from fellow Book Riot contributors, but I guess I haven’t really sat down to figure it out. Now I’m curious!

    Posted 4.7.18 Reply
  10. You’re so organized! Thanks for sharing your go-to book rec sources! It’s great to find new sources for good books.

    Posted 4.8.18 Reply
  11. Michelle wrote:

    Honestly, I don’t pay enough attention to what other people say and think to be able to determine if they influence whether I read a book or not. I still think I get most of my books from reading synopses on NetGalley and Edelweiss and deciding whether it sounds good or not. Then again, I am the one always buried in review copies and perpetually unable to extricate myself from the piles, so either I am too good at selecting books or I need a new way to do so that curtails my requests.

    Posted 4.9.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Haha! That used to be my method, but then I found that so many books don’t match up to the publishers’ descriptions or hype. Plus, zeroing in on sources that I know have similar taste has saved me tons of time perusing catalogs and helped me cut through all the background noise.

      Posted 4.11.18 Reply
  12. Catherine wrote:

    I understand how your system would work for getting better reading, but how does it work for lead time in reviewing? I mean, by the time even a bookseller raves about something it’s been published. Do you buy most of the books you’re interested in? I guess because I’m a huge library user it’s harder because I find myself on long hold lists for things that everyone is raving about.

    I am loving this aspect of the tracker. As you mentioned someone/thing can be a go-to and a no-go. I use EW a lot and I’m not as bad at choices as I thought I was!

    Posted 4.14.18 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      So far, lead time has been fine. For 2018, I’ve had at least 5 books per month a month or two or even three in advance. I’ve found Annie Jones, Kelly MAssry, and Tyler Goodson often read and review far in advance and sometimes Nicole Bonia from Readerly Podcast as well. But, I definitely don’t get lists of 10-15 books per month…but it’s almost freeing and less stressful to not have those lists. I just supplement my 5 or so with things other people ave read and loved a little later.

      Glad you’re loving that part of the tracker AND that you have a good EW eye…I did not last year!

      Posted 4.22.18 Reply

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