Generally speaking, my first impulse when choosing what book to read next is to go to the piles/lists of recommended fantasy or science fiction I have yet to read. Goodness knows there’s enough there to keep me busy for a long, long while, including several that I know I’m going to enjoy once I get to them. Yet for all the many, many offerings in the realm of speculative fiction, there are so many other books that are worth the time it takes to read them. Most of the time, they’re books I never would have thought to pick up if someone hadn’t told me about them in the first place.
Which, I think, is where libraries come in.
Because while I’m in just as much (or more?) prone to the dangers of browsing Thriftbooks as anyone else, the books I end up buying are usually more sci-fi and fantasy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I enjoy them. I love that half my personal bookshelves are filled with them. I have absolutely no intention of changing the ratio any time soon.
But when I can just put in a hold at the library for whatever book someone recommends to me, I don’t feel like I have to stick to “safe” choices. The worst that happens is that I return it early, unfinished. And the best is that I read and love a book I would never have touched otherwise.