How 10 Readers Randomly Found Their Favorite Books

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So often, our favorite books come with a story about how we found them, whether it be in a used bookstore, at a rummage sale, or even on the street. Craving a bit of literary magic? Check out how 10 readers randomly found their favorite books. And don't blame me if you immediately run to the closest, dustiest bookstore.

In a conversation started earlier today by r/OwlInTheMorning, redditors have been detailing their fortuitous run-ins with now-favorite books. "A while back, I saw an on-set picture of Aiden Gillen (actor who plays Littlefinger on Game of Thrones); he was holding a book called The Whites by Richard Price, and I decided to add it to my reading list on a whim," OwlInTheMorning wrote. "It's a really good detective story, and I'm glad I followed the random 'suggestion!' Do you have a book that came to you somewhat randomly, that you ended up really enjoying?"

Perhaps unsurprisingly, book-lovers quickly jumped in with their best and most cherished stories. From random run-ins at used bookstores to mistaken identities at the library, what is a common thread throughout these stories is that discoveries almost always happen by chance, in person. It's an embodiment of why libraries and independent bookstores are inextricably intertwined in the beauty of literary culture. Believe me, I love researching what books to read next, but no matter how many reviews you read or how many Bestseller lists you scour, it's impossible to keep tabs on every book. The authors and the books that routinely steal headlines are often incredible, but their rise is often deliberate, a group effort by agents, publishers, and reviewers.

So the next time you pass by a library or a little corner bookstore, go in. Wander round. Let fate take the wheel for a few moments, and then add your story to this list of great discoveries.


Cover Appeal

Yetilocke: "Was once wandering around in Barnes & Noble just browsing when I came to those fancy hardcover classics they sell. One book stood out because there was only one copy left, it was the only one that I had never heard of, and it had a beautiful green tropical design on it. Decided to pick it up on a whim. That book ended up being One Hundred Years of Solitude. One of the best purchases I've ever made."

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Room Service

rober695: "Mine would be a graphic novel...I am unsure as to whether you guys would count it or not. Either way I found a copy of Daytripper in a hotel room. I have since read that thing each year 1-2 times. Whenever I am ready to get pensive...I read through it. Has been an amazing addition to my life."

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Baggage Claim

ButlerDetamble: "My husband works for an airline as a baggage handler. If anything falls out of a bag or is left behind on a plane, it's pretty much finder's keepers. One day he brought home some books he found and one of them was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I thought it sounded good so decided to read it and now she is one of my favorite authors with that book being my favorite by her."

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By Recommendation

EveryCliche: "I picked up In the Woods by Tana French about 6/7 years ago. I hadn't heard about it before then, I wasn't really reading crime/mysteries at the time. The bookstore that I got it from does handwritten reviews on note-cards and tapes them to the shelves. The review sounded interesting enough so I bought it. I read it in just a couple of days, I completely loved it. I have read a few of her other books as well. And of course recommend them to friends who like the genre."

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Documentary Now!

Midnight_Ran: "Azazeel by Youssef Ziedan. I happened to watch a documentary a few years ago where this book was quoted, and on a whim I located a copy through Interlibrary Loan.

It was awesome. Written as a (fictional) biography of a Coptic monk in Syria, who was involved in the initial schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. It's historical fiction with some elements of Magical Realism, so I was attracted to it from the outset!"

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Blessed Be The Library Card

DustyBooksh_elf: "In high school my favorite place was the library. It was the first place I would go when I got off the bus, almost everyday. During senior year one of my electives was teacher aid and if I could have screamed the LIBRARY when we were selecting I would have done it lol. In that library I discovered The Life of Pi before it was famous, The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear, A Shadow on the Glass and the Pure Dead series... but [T]he Name of the Wind was my favorite. It's one of my favorite memories and that is the reason for my username."

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Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

AbbathOcculta: "The Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu. Looked like trashy horror, turned out to be a really well done historical horror/dissection of post-Communist Budapest. I found it at the library on a cart where they sell books taken out of commission."

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Mistaken Identity

msmalapropism: "The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Because the covers were similar, I thought that it was the same book as The Secret History by Donna Tartt which I had heard a lot about. It was the best accident ever because Miller's book is now one of my all time favorites."

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Cat Fancy

TheXInui: "Tailchaser's Song written by Tad Williams. Was in the library waiting for my friends and picked it up due to the book cover having a cat. Got hooked and purchased it for myself. It was a wonderful journey."


Chance Encounter

stayxhome: "I'll Never Be Young Again by Daphne du Maurier. Pulled it out randomly in a large and unorganized used bookstore in Boston and liked how the cover looked, so I bought it. Great testament of youth and travel."

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