We all know the latest Brandon Sanderson epic - who doesn't? But there are other books out there, and interesting ones. The books you aren't just excited at, but are frequently bemused by their very existence. In other words, the odd, the eclectic, and the interesting! Well, here's my brief guide to where to find these little gems.
You can't overlook these: they're wonderful. Remember, you're not looking for the latest releases, and a second hand charity shop is where to go. They're inexpensive and have a constantly-changing and varied selection, so it's well worth checking them on your way somewhere. (If you're not in too much of a hurry, anyway! These things are time sinks) I recently received a book full of amusing gravestone inscriptions - morbid, but funny - that was bought from one of these. I'm still laughing.
| Old Johannes looks|
Project Gutenberg digitises books in the public domain and distributes them for free via their website. If you're looking for something interesting to try, look here first if you've got an ereader: since it's all free, you can sample everything from HP Lovecraft to Jonathan Swift without paying a penny, before delving off into obscure texts on woodturning. Since these are mainly out of print, these are frequently books you can find nowhere else. You can even read what contemporary publications (you remember those print things, before blogs? Kind of like Drying Ink, with fewer pictures and more eloquence) had to say about the texts.
Tor.com is a wonderful website which does an awful lot, but today I'll be focussing on one aspect: the short fiction. Which you can read for free. Since it includes excepts from a number of subgenres - and an awful lot of novels - this is definitely a way to decide what suits your taste, as well as try a good story for its own sake. Just on the last page, I can see some steampunk. Mmm...
Okay, maybe your local branch isn't quite like that to the left - but libraries are still a great resource. It seems obvious, but try looking on the new acquisitions shelf, or simply returned books - you'll get an odd variety which is sure to turn up a few novels of interest. Try checking if your local library service has a website, or an online reservation service (some are even starting to lend ebooks): if it does, have a browse! The selection will be far wider than your local bookstore.