The must-read list of where to find the best book recommendations

By Lucy Verlaque

Elm Staff Writer

There is no better feeling than finding a book that you never want to put down. With so many options out there, however, it can be difficult to narrow down that search, or even know where to begin. Here are some of the best ways to find new book recommendations.

Search Online

Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of online resources to quickly help you find your next read.

Going to the websites of different publishing houses can be a good start to this search. For example, the Penguin Random House website has a Recommendations section broken up into categorized lists, including “The Must-Read Books of 2023 (So Far),” “Must-Read Horror Books,” and “Staff Picks: Our Favorite Banned Books.”

Other websites, such as Goodreads, allow users to enter the titles or genres of books they enjoy to search for recommendations based on that information. Goodreads users can also connect with their friends to share their own reviews of books they have read, which can be useful for people who know they have similar interests.

Social media has also become a worthwhile book source. TikTok or Youtube users might find themselves in the niche spaces of these platforms dedicated to book reviews and recommendations, commonly referred to as “BookTok” and “BookTube.”

For example, Youtube users Jack Edwards and The Book Leo offer a plethora of book recommendations and fun videos. The former reads and discusses celebrity’s favorite books, while the latter chats about book trends like romance fantasy.


With endless rows of packed bookshelves, going straight to a bookstore might seem like an overwhelming way to start looking for new books. However, there are a few ways to easily navigate this area.

Bookstores like Barnes & Noble offer a “blind date with a book,” in which books are giftwrapped to hide their title, author, and cover. Shoppers decide if a book interests them based on the summary alone rather than judging by its cover, allowing them to find books they might not have picked up otherwise.

For those looking to support their local bookstore, The Bookplate, located in downtown Chestertown, has a wall display dedicated to staff picks, allowing shoppers to narrow down their search. The Bookplate also offers a variety of used books, so you are sure to find a hidden gem just roaming the shelves.

If you find yourself at a bookstore that does not have an option like this, talking to employees directly might be useful, as they can help you around the store and offer recommendations face-to-face.

The Library

Clifton M. Miller Memorial Library is a familiar campus location for Washington College students. While students primarily use Miller Library’s resources for academic research purposes, it can also be a great place to search for leisurely reading recommendations.

According to Director of Public Services and Faculty Librarian in STEM Alex Baker, librarians at Miller Library can help students navigate the library’s collection to find books that might interest them.

“If [students] have a particular topic they’re really excited about, they can speak with a member of our team to figure out where those books are grouped and where they’re found within our collection,” Baker said.

Looking for book recommendations in Miller Library not only benefits the students seeking new books, but can also benefit the library itself. According to Baker, hearing from students about what topics they are interested in allows the library to assess what materials are available in their inventory.

“In some cases, it might shed light on the fact that we need to acquire things if there are gaping holes in our collection, which is actually a really great process for all parties involved,” Baker said. “I want people to feel like they belong here, and part of that is making sure that the things that they’re in need of can be found here.”

Students can also travel downtown to the Kent County Public Library in downtown Chestertown to support the community.

No matter what your process for finding new books looks like, it is hard to go wrong as long as you are reading something you enjoy.

Photo by Riley Dauber.

Photo Caption: The Clifton M. Miller Memorial Library currently has a display highlighting popular banned books.

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