Six easy steps to picking something you will enjoy reading!

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By Jimmie Epling
Darlington County Library System

It is not so important what you read, just that you read! Reading should be something you enjoy doing and never think of as a chore. Of course, there are times reading will be a chore. There is no avoiding it. During those times you will wish you could do anything else rather than to be slogging your way through a morass of words. Here at the Darlington County Library, we never want you to think of reading as a chore to be avoided! So let’s go through the six easy steps to picking something you will enjoy reading!

First, what interests you? Absolutely avoid reading about anything that does not interest you! We live in a free country and you can read what you want (that is unless you are in school and have no choice but to read something that is the equivalent of watching paint dry).

What type of story do you like to read? Action/adventure? Romance? Mystery? Sci-fi? Inspirational? Horror? Poetry? What you read doesn’t have to be a story, it can be a history, a biography, a memoir, a do-it-yourself guide, a commentary, a devotional, an art guide, or just about anything else. There is something for every reading interest at the Library.

The next step is to figure out some particulars about what you want to read. Do you want to read a story or something factual? Do you want long and demanding or short and easy? Does it need to have pictures? Should the characters in the tale be larger than life or down to earth? Are you looking for something set in an exotic locale or someplace familiar? There is no way avoiding this question these days…lots of sex, or no sex? Do you want to read something that is optimistic, happy, funny, beautiful, and gentle or something bleak, sad, serious, disgusting, and violent? Once you have decided on what you want in what you are going to read, you are ready to move to the next step.

The third step is to decide what format you want it. Yes, you have a choice! You can read a story from a print book or as an e-book for your mobile device. Listening to it being read is possible with an audiobook in CD or electronic form for your mobile device (yes, this is not reading, but for busy people on the go…). If you want to read something more informational or instructional, you can get it in all the formats mentioned and in an e-magazine format too. The Library has all these formats, including over thirty e-magazines. Check out our catalog and selection of downloadable e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-magazines by going to

You now know what you like to read and the format, now a few pointers on how you can “tell a book” by its cover. Cover art is designed to “sell” a story by hinting at what is inside. If you want a story set on an alien world, then a woman in a muscular male pirate’s embrace, both looking longingly into each other’s eyes, on the cover is likely not for you (an actual sixteenth century pirate reading the story today might think it was set on an alien world though). Once past the front cover, read the back cover. You will get a brief summary and maybe a couple of positive comments about the story. Open up the book to read the dust cover’s inside flaps. You will find a capsule summary of the storyline designed to hook you into reading it. A warning…the capsule summary might be the best part of the book because it was not written by the author. If you have the time, actually read half dozen random pages. Trust me, you will be glad you did as you might discover it has too much of something you dislike in it.

Ready to pick that book you will enjoy reading? Begin step five by looking around your house. Any books lying about you read years ago quietly collecting dust or were left behind by friends or relatives? If nothing at home excites you, then you need to get some recommendations before you go in search of your great read. Friends and family with whom you have things in common can often make good recommendations. Book reviews and bestseller lists in newspapers and magazines are another great source for suggestions. The New York Times newspaper publishes a weekly list of bestsellers. Every week the Library posts what we have on our Darlington County Library System Facebook page. When a bestselling author releases a new book or there is one on a timely subject, you can guarantee the author will be on the talk show circuit plugging the book. And never forget to ask library staff! The staff of the Library is always happy to make suggestions and help you find just what you want to read. We have resources at our fingertips to suggest authors and stories that are a lot like your favorites.

With your wish list of good reads in hand, the last step is to get them! Let me recommend you make the first stop in your search for a good read one of the Darlington County Library System’s four locations. You can select from a collection of hundreds of thousands of items, print books, magazines, e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-magazines. All available for free at the Library! All you need is a free library card to borrow dozens of good reads at a time from the Library. Before leaving home, you can check on whether the Library has something you want by going to our catalog at If we have it, we will hold it for you. If we don’t, we can get it for you. You do not even need to leave home to borrow e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-magazines. You can do it 24.7 from the comfort of your home.

Reading is fun and even educational. With these six steps and the Darlington County Library System, we know you will find something you will enjoy reading!

Author: Jana Pye

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