So you're new to this forum? Awesome! You've found a great community full of people who love to talk about books. Beware, though, that the regulars here have seen a lot of repeat topics, and may grow increasingly frustrated if every other thread is someone asking for advice on what to read next with the same old list of books. Here are some guidelines and suggestions on how to get the most out of the Literature forum:
Looking for general suggestions? Check out these threads for recommended sci-fi and fantasy series, standalone books, or lesser-known works. There is also a compiled list of this forum's favorite SFF books (as of 2010) in this thread.
Search for categories you're interested in. Looking for suggestions within a genre or theme such as graphic novels, paranormal romance, space opera, or feminist fantasy? You may find the search function useful. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner to bring up an advanced search which will allow you to search within the Literature forum only. (Hint: if the search function is currently down on the board, see the FAQ below)
Trying to decide between two authors? There are many threads people have started before on the "What should I read first, X or Y?" theme. Try the search function with the names of one or more author; you may be surprised (or completely unsurprised) to find out that others have also wondered whether they should read Bakker or Erikson first.
Browse through the first few pages of Literature. You may find someone else's advice thread down there with similar questions. Don't worry about resurrecting old threads. Necromancy happens, and people might have been wondering whatever happened to that thread anyway. The mods and experienced members in Literature will be grateful to you for making an effort.
It's fine to ask for recommendations- just be as specific as possible. You may get stock answers if your request is vague. "I'm looking for a book to read along the lines of The Hobbit," is not very helpful, because no one knows what you liked about that book. Try: "I just finished The Hobbit, and I would like to read other stories with riddle-contests in them. Also, I love hearing about people walking across a continent, so bring on the fantasy travelogues!" The more specific you can be about what you're looking for, what you've already read (or heard about) and what you've liked or disliked and why, the more helpful and less impatient people will be.
Use a descriptive, clear thread title. People who have been in this forum for a while get recommendation fatigue over seeing threads with titles like "Looking for good recommendations- tired of reading mediocre books" "Good" is not adequate, because taste is subjective. Use something specific that is more likely to draw in readers who are well-read, such as "Young adult fantasy with a mystery element- recommendations?", "Science fiction with genetic engineering and/or mutants?", or "Cast of thousands: Series with 100+ characters and numerous appendices a la ASOIAF"
Do your research. We're (mostly) not librarians, and certainly not paid for this. We're also not Amazon, or Google. But if you do some reading in the forum, know what you want and what you don't want, and try to make your thread fodder for discussion or a good resource for a list, you'll be a much more valuable member of the community than someone who doesn't try, and your thread is much less likely to get closed or derailed. Try reading things like the "What are you reading this month?" threads to see what's popular with boarders lately.
Happy reading, including this forum. :)
Q: The board search function is turned off. How do I search the board?
A: Try Google Advanced Search using the domain asoiaf.westeros.org
Q: Why did you lock my recommendations thread?
A: Probably because you asked for recommendations without being clear on what you were looking for, or because we just had a thread like it and you didn't do your research.
Q: Why is everyone here so mean?
A: Well, this board has existed for well over a decade, so the regulars here have seen a lot of threads go by and are sick of being treated like people's personal recommendation algorithm hivemind. If you want to have a discussion, make sure you are really clear and not demanding in your request for recommendations thread. If you want to just make a list of books you liked and then have something guess what you should read next, try the bots at Amazon/Goodreads. Also, your local librarian. They're pretty smart. If you can't decide what to read next, try the time-honored tradition of choosing one at random and reading it to see if you like it.