A big winner for finding unique titles...visit the blog roll to the right to find some great reading. Much of what I've purchased has come by means of recommendation from these other bloggers who enjoy non-mainstream titles. Lisa's Other Bookshelf is a great example...Also, the blogs for Open Letter and the Quarterly Conversation consistently discuss titles of note. FriendFeed is also a great way to combine feeds from different blogs and get a weekly update.
Updates on Goodreads: More helpful than LibraryThing's recommendations, the Update feed on Goodreads is really cool to see what your friends are reading. Besides blogs, this is my main place to find a great title...I'm always happy to see what Irene, Erma, Daisy, Lisa, Tara, and Chrissie are reading!
The New Yorker and Rain Taxi seem to be the only print magazines that feature titles that look interesting...definite win! Rain Taxi features smaller presses usually, and even the ads are helpful to discover new reading avenues.
While I just had to have subscriptions to the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, I probably won't resubscribe. These look scholarly but too often feature political titles or the usual suspects, maybe only one or two books out of each issue appeals to my off-the-grid tastes. They do have advertisements from university presses that list interesting titles...and of course, the personals sections aren't to be missed. But to pay that kind of money and only read the personals, nahhh. Not worth it.
Retail sellers: Barnes and Noble often doesn't have titles that I'm looking for, and that goes for the website and the local store. My local Borders has a great layout but way too much merchandise and too little in the way of literary fiction. When you go in for a classic, and can't find it, you know they're not going to have a book from GLAS or Object Press. And while Amazon.com seems to be bashed as the online bully, at least they continually have the books I want. Small press or big, it's there. Not to be ignored either is that they often help me in finding similar titles. I go to the site looking for one and end up with five. With the 2-day prime membership, it's almost instant bookie gratification...plus I can throw in a toy for the kid and never have to leave the house.
Newspapers: the Sunday NYTimes and LA Times are both helpful but their coverage is limited. And it keeps shrinking! Often they are dissecting the same titles as every other outlet (Freedom?). I will still keep up with the LA Times, if only to look for the elusive perfect book via the obituaries section....I have it on good authority (you know who you are!) that the obits is the place for great books!
Databases: Looking at articles on Proquest or the Literary Reference Center usually results in searches with similar authors or titles offered. One search can yield a bunch of great results. I find Infomine to be kind of worthless....
SO, how did YOU find your favorite books of 2010??? Leave a comment...