Reading is an activity that’s sadly overlooked today, in favour of things like social media and video games. People that do read, tend only to read on their phones, computers, or tablets. The appeal of physical books is quickly fading, among young people at least.

If you are somebody to whom reading appeals, then why not delve into popular literature? After all, something becomes popular for a reason: Because it’s good! Exploring popular literature can be a good way of learning about books, educating yourself on hot topics, and developing a love of reading.

Here is how to get a good insight into popular literature, or in other words, how you can find out about what’s hot right now in the reading community.

Online Directories

One of the most effective ways of finding out which books are popular is to use an internet directory. According to one such directory, Book Analysis, directories can help you to explore all things literature and discover lots of different types of books. The only condition to using directories is that you usually already need to have an idea in mind about what you’re looking for, so you can make effective searches.

Nobel Prize Winners

Another effective way of learning about what’s popular is to browse the most recent Nobel Prize Winners and see who has won for literature. If a person wins a Nobel Prize for literature,  then it is a strong indication that their works are immensely popular, and relevant at the time of them winning their prize. Some of America’s best authors have won Nobel Prizes, like William Faulkner and Saul Bellow.

Best Sellers

Another consideration to make if you’re looking for relevant, current, and popular works of literature is to browse best-seller lists. If a book’s on a best-seller list, it is a clear sign that people like it. One thing that should be noted however is that sometimes, people pay for themselves to feature on best-seller lists. Do some research into a book before buying it if you are taking a recommendation from a best-seller list just so that you can be sure the book is actually popular and hasn’t been artificially featured. The NY Times Best Seller’s list is one of the best ones to browse.

Reading Classics

Are you sure that you want to read what’s currently popular? Sometimes the best way to explore literature is to start with the classics. Reading the classics will help you to better understand what’s popular now, since authors who have written modern classics, tend to have read the original classics, and have then learned from them. For example, it’s well known that Cormac McCarthy was inspired by William Faulkner, who was inspired by Dumas. It’s a lot easier and doesn’t require as much research to start with the older classics, since everybody knows what they are, i.e., Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Joyce’s Ulysses, etc.

Visiting Bookstores

Bookstores can be good places to go to learn about popular modern literature too. One of the advantages of going to a bookstore is that they tend to put everything that’s selling fast at the front of the store, and sometimes even in the window. All you have to do is to find the best seller’s stand (which again, is usually in the window) and you can find out what is popular right now. Then, you can buy whatever interests you. Do a little bit of research before buying a book so you can be sure that it’s right for you.

Joining Forums

An internet forum could be a good place to go if you want to learn about modern literature. Internet forums aren’t as popular now as they once were, but there are still a lot of them out there. Do your research before selecting a forum, so that you can find the one that’s most active. If possible, avoid signing up for an inactive forum. Most forums will allow you to see what threads are active and how many average users they are getting on a daily basis, so you can quickly figure out whether a forum’s worth using or not.

Study Literature

Studying literature, as in taking a course, can be an effective way of learning about modern literature, and also learning to interpret the meaning behind much of it. A lot of literature is ambiguous and has hidden meanings. If you do not study it, then you might not be able to understand what’s actually being said. There are lots of online courses that you can take in literature. One thing that’s worth noting is that you can also take these courses in community college, except they are more expensive there.

Ask Friends and Family

If you have any voracious readers in your family, then reach out to them and ask them to recommend a book (or a series of books) to you. If you do plan on asking loved ones for recommendations, then make sure to tell them what sort of thing you are interested in first. Do not just blindly reach out, expecting them to do all of the work for you. Everybody has their own interests, which is another thing to consider. Even if you tell your loved one what you like and are interested in, they are bound to refer you to a book that interests them. If you ask them for a horror book recommendation and they like classical literature, they are probably going to refer you to M.R. James or Bram Stoker, instead of something more modern.

Speak to Librarians

Finally, consider speaking to librarians. Librarians can be great people to talk to when you are looking for books to read. Librarians will be able to tell you what’s most popular among local readers currently and may even be able to make their own recommendations to you. Signing up for your local library is a great way to get access to books, too.

Reading is a highly effective way of becoming smarter, having fun, and learning new things. If you aren’t an avid reader currently but want to become one, then exploring what’s currently popular as far as modern literature is concerned, is a good idea. You can do that by following this post’s guidance.

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I've been writing since 2008 about a wide range of topics. I also love making furniture in my spare time, and birdwatching with my wife near our home in southern England.

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