Read Something Readers Advisory Cards
The Read Something Readers Advisory cards are a fun way to figure out what to read next. They are available here.
Each of the 101 cards has a fun illustration and a word that completes the phrase “Read something ___________.”
The cards will send you on a treasure hunt for your next book to read, on a path that avoids most common genres, subjects, and ways that books are sought out.
The cards can be used to explore local libraries and bookstores. You can even use them to dig into the books you have at home, especially if you have so many you no longer know what’s there.
To use your deck, simply go somehwhere full of books you can borrow or buy, then:
- Shuffle the deck.
- Draw a card.
- Try to find a book that appeals to you and matches the criteria on the card.
- Read the book.
Remember: The cards are supposed to be open to interpretation, though some may seem specific based on the books around you. When you’re trying to figure out what the cards mean, you don’t have to limit yourself to literal definitions or what’s shown in the pictures. Open your mind. Connotate.
Then look at the jacket copy and the covers of books you wouldn’t normally consider. Find something unexpected that you’re willing to try.
For a challenge:
- Draw 2 or more cards from the deck, and try to find a book to read that matches several or all of the cards.
They can be used to play games, too.
You don’t need to be in the same physical space, but you do need access to books (or knowledge of a lot of books, or maybe a favorite website that will help you identify titles).
- Draw a card or several.
- Show the card(s) to everyone.
- Choose a great book that meets the criteria on the card(s).
- Everyone presents the book they chose and gives a quick bookalk. (If you’re not a librarian, that’s a quick promotional pitch for a book.) Make sure the booktalk clarifies how the book meets the criteria on the card(s).
- Participants then vote for the book that best meets the criteria that they’re most likely to read.
- The person whose book selection gets the most votes gets the glory (or a point if you’re keeping score).
You can play to whatever number of points you’d like, but remember: everyone is a winner because they all heard about a bunch of books they may want to read!
Sneaky Game Variation with Reward + Penalty:
- After you’ve each selected a book that meets the criteria on the card(s), put them in a pile face-down without any of the other participants knowing who selected which.
- Everyone then tries to figure out how each meets the criteria on the drawn card(s) while making a sneaky pitch for the one they chose, all without revealing who selected which.
- Each participant votes for the book they’re most likely to read that meets the criteria on the card(s).
- (Reward) The person who chose the book that gets the most votes gets a point, or something fancy to drink at everyone else’s expense. For me that’s a half-sweet milk tea without boba, or a finely-aged single malt scotch. For you it might be bubbly water or iced tea or a sippy cup filled with orange drink or whatever.
- (Penalty) The person who brought the book that got the fewest votes has to drink a glass of room temperature 100% cucumber juice, or something else healthy that they find vile. Pure kale smoothie with a bit of dirt, anyone?
- You can keep this variant all-ages by keeping the reward non-alcoholic, sugar-free, and uncaffeinated. The penalty can probabably stay the same, though — most kids dread plain, warm vegetable juice.