3 Important Things to Do When You Finish Reading a Book

The highest result of education is tolerance. -Helen Keller

Books help the world become a better place, I believe.

On a week when the world seems to be falling apart, it’s a necessary statement. I also believe what Helen Keller said is true, that when we read, we become more educated, our hearts become more informed and understanding and open, and we, as readers, are equipped to help make the world a better place. We need books.

Great Books on my shelf
Great Books on my shelf

Have you read a book recently? Did you think about it while you read, and after you finished?

There are 3 big ways you can help encourage reading for others and spread the word about books you’ve read, whether you liked them or not.

1) Join Goodreads or visit solid book sites for book recommendations. Of course, I love GreatNewBooks (I’m one of the founders), and also have friends who run SheReads and others. Set up a profile and start tracking the books you’ve read, or start joining in the discussions at your favorite book site.

It doesn’t take long. I participate in Goodreads via an app on my phone, and I participate at GreatNewBooks every Wednesday.

2) Make note of books you want to read by checking Want To Read beside a book on your stack or wish list, or chat with others about books they’ve enjoyed and recommend, either in-person (always the best way to engage about books, right?) or on an organic book recommendation site like Great New Books. Most readers love to hear about books that move other people. Don’t be afraid to share your favorites.

3) Share what you think about the book in a sentence or two, and rate it when you’re finished reading.

What did you think? It’s as easy as, for example: “I really enjoyed this book because of the characters and the page-turning story. I recommend it to readers who enjoyed Rosamunde Pilcher’s THE SHELL SEEKERS.”

Or if you didn’t connect with the story, don’t be afraid to share that either, for example: “I read about halfway through the story and felt turned off by the main character and the stiff dialogue.”

Bonus: If you happen to have an extra 30 seconds, find the book at an online retailer like Amazon and share your thoughts about the book, and rate it, there, too.

Above all, as with all else in life, be kind. A book is difficult to write, even if you don’t think it’s good. Most novels range from 75,000 to 120,000 words and take a year or more of work. For the large majority of writers, their income from writing needs to be supplemented by another job.

Why go to all this trouble?

Because in a world walking ankle-deep through a flood of lackluster books, we need and want to hear about the books that really stand out. Great books help make the world a better place.

So, the next time you finish a book, take a few extra seconds to share at least a rating of what you thought, and even write a sentence or two about it. Because, from what I’ve heard from my author / writer friends, the more ratings they get on their books, good or bad, the more the search engine genies are able to help point others to their books as a match of a book that might interest them.

What do you do when you read a great book? What book sites do you frequent, and how do you hear about the books you love the most? I’d love to hear your thoughts here. I’ll look forward to seeing you around at Goodreads and GreatNewBooks (my profiles linked at each). Thank you!

Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

8 thoughts on “3 Important Things to Do When You Finish Reading a Book

  1. Love this! I wish more readers understood the impact of just a few words on a review page that make all the difference for an author. Thanks for writing this!

  2. Jennifer, I love Goodreads, but I honestly have ratings paralysis. I can’t do the star thing. At. All. Do you think it’s useful to write a sentence or two on a site like Goodreads without doing the rating as well? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

    1. This is such an interesting conundrum you bring up, Lisa. I’m not a person who can bash others’ creative efforts either. So I’ve taken a stance of “recommending” books. My teammates at GreatNewBooks also feel the same way. We like to talk about the ones we love.

      95% of the books I read, I’m able to recommend. The other 5%, I don’t rate or don’t enter into Goodreads at all. I don’t think it’s fair to the authors, and I don’t think it’s fair to anyone else to have to read something other than a recommendation. The more I read, the more comfortable I am with my taste in books, and the more I know which books I truly love and which are less suited to me. And, just because I don’t jive perfectly with a book doesn’t mean the rest of the reading world won’t either. I think that’s what you’re getting at with your “ratings paralysis.”

      I think it’s important to make your opinion known, if only for the books you wholeheartedly give 5 stars. I personally don’t feel comfortable with giving anything I “recommend” less than 4 stars, so all the books I’ve not loved, you won’t find on my Goodreads profile.

      Regardless, it is possible and important, especially to authors’ success and to readers who are looking for a book that might come to their list from your recommendation, to rate and write a sentence or two on what you liked the most.

      No book is ever perfect, so I think once you can know that no one expects you to recommend only perfect books, you’ll feel the freedom to share the books you love. What do you think?

  3. I like the idea of rating and writing about the books that are 5 stars for me. I like to experiment when I read, in different styles and genres, so I don’t always love every book, though I do get something from every book.

    I think the star paralysis is more a question, for me, of what makes the difference between a 3/4/5. My rating is so subjective — and can be influenced by how tired I am, which kid just threw a tantrum, and whether the dog has allergies again. In other words, I think those ratings can be influenced by a reader’s mood at the time. On a better day, maybe that 3 would be a 4? (Or maybe the rest of the world is just better at ratings than I am. Totally possible.).

    But there is a huge different between a 3 or 4 or 5 for authors. Hence, my paralysis.

    I had the same problem as an English teacher grading student papers.

    1. You have very valid points. Subjective things are always difficult to quantify. I hope you feel encouraged to go ahead and give it a try. I’ll be watching for your book reviews. Thanks so much, Lisa — you’ve introduced a great point and discussion. Have a great weekend!

  4. I love this post! Whenever I read a really good book, I go all Oprah and shout it out on the rooftops! Those wonderful books keep me hooked as a reader and keep me going as a writer!

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