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Should I pick my next books based on Goodreads ratings?

Today I’m trying an experiment.  I looked at my Kindle and I have about 50 sample books stored up.  I can’t read all these samples, and even if I did, samples don’t always give you a good idea of whether you’ll like the book.

How do you choose your next book?  I like to switch around by category for one thing.  Then I’ll read the new stuff I’ve been waiting for.  I usually don’t read all the books in a series consecutively.  But after that it’s kind of a close your eyes and stick out your finger kind of process for me.

On Goodreads I can catalogue all the books I might want to read, and sort them by rating.  Goodreads typically has thousands of people rating books, which makes them a better gauge (I think?) than Amazon.  I don’t know if Library Thing or Shelfari are better or worse, but I know I don’t have time to explore all three.

So I entered in all the book samples and books I’m thinking of reading, so I could see which books get the highest reader ratings.  The result?  I have 57 books in the TBR list, and here’s GR’s top 20, in order by rating:

  1. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (fantasy)
  2. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (fantasy)
  3. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (fantasy/humor)
  4. Poison Study by Maria Snyder (fantasy/YA?)
  5. The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (fantasy)
  6. Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce (fantasy/YA)
  7. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (lit. fiction)
  8. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (lit. fiction)
  9. Graceling by Kristen Cashore  (fantasy/YA)
  10. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (fantasy)
  11. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (historical fiction)
  12. The Graveyard Book  by Neil Gaiman(fantasy/YA)
  13. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (lit. fiction)
  14. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (lit. fiction)
  15. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore (fantasy/humor)
  16. Pump Six by Paulo Bacigalupi (fantasy/short stories)
  17. Room by Emma Donoghue (lit. fiction)
  18. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (classic)
  19. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (classic)
  20. To the End of the Land by David Grossman (lit. fiction)

This isn’t the order I would have expected but here it is.  Came up a little heavy on the fantasy/YA.  Interestingly, the lowest-rated on my list was a book called Something Red by Jennifer Gilmore which I started and didn’t like.  So that’s a good sign, right?

I added categories to these (guessing in some places) so I can pick one from each category to read next.  I guess this means my Kate Atkinson and TC Boyle, which ranked a little lower, will have to wait a bit. Help me out here — which ones would you recommend?

7 thoughts on “Should I pick my next books based on Goodreads ratings?

  1. tamora pierce for sure. “trickster’s choice” isn’t my favorite of her books, but she remains my favorite for when i want to read some YA fantasy/strong women sort of books.

  2. Recommend, in no particular order:
    Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    To the End of the Land by David Grossman

    • I’m intrigued by Crossing to Safety. I haven’t read anything by Stegner but this book gets really high reader reviews. I will definitely try it. I may need to try Count of Monte Cristo again too. Thanks for the recommendations!

  3. Think the order is interesting. Is it because there are more YA readers on GoodReads, or paperback fiction just gets more hits?

    I loved Room as well as Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet. Want to read Graveyard Book, but have another couple of Gaimans on the shelf.

  4. Pingback: A Reading Update « The Book Stop

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