Deb Kelly’s Favorite Lists of Favorite Books

I never, ever, not since the day I was born, have hurt for new books to read. I have them in every room of the house, upstairs and down, and sometimes when I am too lazy to get up I just pick up my nook and find another bazillion titles waiting for me. When I was a newborn my mom read the complete works (there are a lot of them) of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while nursing me and I’m pretty sure something came through the milk that made me want to keep lots and lots of reading material always to hand. So I do.

And yet.

Sometimes I want more. I want something new, something different, something that just grabs me in that particular moment and that particular state of mind and pulls me into the pages and meets me right where I’m at.

And that’s why I especially love these resources, all of which have led me to favorite books:

THE WEEK: My dad subscribed me to this magazine. It’s a weekly roundup of US and world media and delightfully straightforward, smart, and balanced. If they needed a new magazine tagline, I would suggest: The Magazine Your Dad Sent You That You Secretly Love. But they’d have to share it with Consumer Reports.

Every week they ask a interesting person for a list of their favorite books on a very specific subject, and this is by far my favorite page. (After the pictures of high-end real estate. I am only human.) Every week I learn about books I would have never discovered on my own, and because the subjects are so wide ranging, you really get to drill deep into the well of lost books.

O: THE OPRAH MAGAZINE ABOUT OPRAH BY OPRAH FOR OPRAH:Few people will argue when I contend that Oprah is one of the best things that has happened to publishing since they banned smoking in editorial meetings. I haven’t loved every Oprah pick, but she has delivered many many good reads unto me. The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton and The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard shaped my reading life in massive and meaningful ways in particular.

Oprah is off network TV but her good taste in books apparently extends to her colleagues. O Magazine’s books editor is nothing short of a genius. When she starts going on and on about a book, you should read it. Sure, the roundups have a huge variety, some you’ll like and some not. But when Leigh Haber talks, I listen.

LOCAL BOOKSELLERS: There’s truly no better source for good reads targeted to you than your local bookseller. When I find one who gets my tastes and hand sells to me, I will pester her and buy from her for as long as I possibly can. It used to be that I got good recommendations from Barnes and Noble staff and the cool people lounging around Borders with their lanyards, but lately I’ve been getting the bulk of my recommendations from A Room of One’s Own here in Madison, both from their staff and from their events schedule.

I also follow other more distant booksellers on social media so that when they get whipped into a froth about some title or other, I know to check into it. And, yeah, I’m that annoying tourist who noodles around the local bookstore in every town I visit, looking for some hot scoop on a new release. When I think back on those trips I think of friends visited, sites seen, and the book I came home clutching in my hot little hands.

What about you? Where do you go when you need a new favorite book? Your local? Facebook? An insightful librarian? Your neighbor’s recycling bin?


3 Replies to “Deb Kelly’s Favorite Lists of Favorite Books”

  1. I get recs from my mom, friends, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter…and of course Amazon and B&N. Oh, and totally agree about Oprah!

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