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!

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