Summer Reading–How Do I Chose?

by Julie Hennrikus
sitting in my office at StageSource

I love Memorial Day weekend–the start of the summer season. And of my reading season. I know a lot of people who are heavy readers in the winter, but I work in theater, and am out most nights, so my reading time is limited. There is still a lot of theater in the summer, but there are also long periods of time outdoors that are perfect for a book. But which book?stack-open_books_s-e1282318065180

As a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, I know a lot of writers, follow a lot of blogs, know the hashtags on Twitter, and get a number of Facebook posts. But lately, as I have been thinking about my Wicked Cozy sisters and their book launches, I have been pondering the question–why do people decide to read a particular book? And what makes someone talk about a book, or recommend it?

Word of mouth is king. Stars on a site are helpful, but more helpful is a trusted friend saying “you’d love this.” Or saying “I didn’t love it, but maybe you will.” And there are certain friends/family who’s “don’t bother” takes a book of the list. I don’t take recommendations from everyone, though I write them all down. Just in case. I also talk to librarians, and people who work in bookstores, two groups who are always full of suggestions.

Another reason I will pick up a book is because I enjoy the series. I am so happy that the Wickeds all have three book deals. What a chance to build up a community, create characters we care about, and get us hooked. And I love recommending good series to people. It is such a gift, giving a reader the key to a new world. This love of series is inherited from my mother. I remember when I picked up my first Dorothy Sayers book. “Oh, you haven’t met Lord Peter yet? You are in for such a treat.” Which I was.

On another blog, I wrote a post about the trusted storyteller. There are certain authors who I will read anything by. Linda Barnes is one of them (she is interviewed on the SinCNE blog today). Her new book is a stand alone, and it is on my Kindle. Anne Tyler is another one. This is a short list, but a list I treasure. It takes a while to get on the list, and one book (maybe two) to get off it.

Any my fourth way to find out about books? Support my friends, and buy theirs.

How do you find a new book to read?


J.A. Hennrikus is the Executive Director of StageSource. She is a mystery writer. Her short stories have appeared in the last three Level Best anthologies. She is a social media fan, and tweets under @JulieHennrikus. She wrestles with allusions of athleticism, is an avid theater goer and a member of Red Sox nation. Her website is

2 Thoughts

  1. I’ll be delighted when I turn in book 2 and have a few weeks to read again before jumping into the next one! Thanks Julie!

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