I have been doing a interesting literature review about reader’s advisory (the art of recommending books, usually applicable in a library setting) for a research project recently. I just wanted to informally share some of the ideas I’ve discovered and query all of my reading friends as to whether they ring true for you. Apparently, the latest research in RA is happening in regards to reader behavior as opposed to book description (i.e. connecting a reader to a book based on their needs instead of the description of the book), and some of the findings, especially by Ross, were rather unexpected. After doing in-depth interviews with almost 200 ‘heavy’ (reading more than 1 book per week) readers, Ross concluded that people pick their next book based primarily on their mood. This means that a person with high stress levels in their lives will tend to want something easy and safe, like a book by an already known author, while those with less stress want to try something new or more difficult. So, not only might we consider recommending books based on mood, but also all books don’t have to be critically regarded as excellent to be worthwhile. A series book may be just the right thing for someone overworked and low on time.
So the question is: do you pick your next book based on mood? And if not, how do you figure out what to read?