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Reading Prompt: Literary Serendipity

I was sitting here trying to come up with another writing prompt for this blog post when I had an epiphany: Sure, writers use prompts all the time to get themselves out of slumps... but what about readers? Surely they also could use a little dramatic upheaval once in a while to shake up their reading habits? I know I often fall into the (not necessarily bad) habit of rereading the same stories over and over again when I could be discovering a new favorite instead.

Ergo, Swooners, I have a challenge for you. It's a little weird, so I'm gonna need you to trust me.

Follow these directions and let the Book Fates take you where they may:

1. Head to Goodreads. At the top of the homepage and to the right of the tab called Explore, you will see an arrow. Click on that to uncover a dropdown menu, and then click on Listopia. This is where you'll find all the hundreds of book lists your fellow readers have put together.

2. Next, head to the right side of the page to the section marked "Browse by Tag" and click "More" at the bottom of the list.

3. Here's where it starts to get really fun. You have hundreds upon hundreds of tags to choose from! But we're not going to choose. We're going to let the universe decide! *wink* Open a new tab in your browser and go to, my personal favorite random number generator. Set your selection parameters at a number between 1 and however many pages of tags there are. (Right now there are 34.) Generate a random number and click through to that page on the tags list. I got 18, which just so happens to be my lucky number. 

4. Getting warmer! Now you'll see that Goodreads lists tags 30 to a page. Time to generate another random number between 1 and 30, and then click on that number tag. I got 21, which means I'm going to click on the 21st listed tag. I counted them starting from the top and going left to right, but if you'd prefer to count another way, be my guest. (My tag is "thought-provoking." How intriguing!)

5. You will now be given a list of... well, lists. Some tags will have more pages of lists than others. Mine only has two. Generate another random number between 1 and however many pages you have to choose from.

6. Almost there! Now count up how many lists are on your selected page. And—you guessed it—generate another random number between 1 and the number of lists you have. (I got "YA Books That Make You Think." Heck yes!)

7. Now that you have your list, you will have a select number of books to choose from. And thankfully they're already numbered for you, so no more counting is involved. Generate one more random number, and voila! You have your new book to read, hand-picked from the cosmos.

I'm actually cracking up over here right now because apparently the universe is dead set on me finally reading The Fault in Our Stars

Touché, Universe. Well played. 

Did you play with literary serendipity? Which random book are you going to be adding to your TBR lists? Share in the comments!

Author spotlight

Emily S.

Swoon editor, IT girl, customer service representative, Small Council member, the-one-who-makes-the-coffee-but-mostly-just-on-Monday-and-sometimes-Thursday, etc.

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