At work, I often get asked about the types of books that I read and I find it hard to answer. Instead I point to some of the most satisfying books that I have recently read and the most reliable authors. I really do read a wide range of books but I also have my favourite authors that I regularly return to, safe in the knowledge that they always impress.
People tend to come to me for suggestions as they know just how much I love reading and I regularly end up lending out my books to colleagues. It’s brilliant when I recommend a book and the friend comes back raving about it. Such a reaction came when I recently suggested Nine Perfect Strangers to some colleagues.
Here are some things that I look for when choosing a book:
1) A catchy or intriguing title.
It really does influence me and many of my friends. I often make the choice to buy a particular book based on the title alone. ‘Exciting Times’ is one such book that I bought purely because of its name. ‘Writers and Lovers’ is another. Who can fail to be intrigued by ‘A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String’?
2) A promising premise.
When I read a blurb on the back of the sleeve or read a compelling summary on a bookseller’s website, I get sucked in. An uncertain or complicated premise may quickly put me off. Some are instantly tempting and others give just enough insight to make me want to explore a book sample.
3) A review or recommendation from a friend.
Just as others come to me for suggestions I love to hear what my friends think about books. Recently a work mate suggested reading Beth O’Leary’s ‘Flat Share’. I am currently totally loving this novel and am pretty sure I will be a long term fan of Beth’s.
4) An author I trust and admire.
Hence, I just finished another book by Becky Albertalli. It is called ‘Leah on the Offbeat’ and my review will come soon. She is one to watch and I am also currently watching a TV show called ‘Love, Victor’ which is based in Becky’s Creekwood, the small town in which ‘Love, Simon’ was set.
Things that don’t concern me so much:
1) The Book Cover
Too often I have found the cover doesn’t match the quality of a story. Often brilliant novels have weird or unimpressive covers. Equally, well designed covers don’t ever obscure bad writing. ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is a popular saying that stands well with me.
2) A few one star reviews.
Who cares? People always want to rain on others’ parades.
3) A dull first chapter.
So many of my favourite stories have seemingly dull introductions which are necessary in setting the scene. They then go on to unravel wonderful and intoxicating stories, nevertheless.
So these are my thoughts about why books attract me personally. I am not bothered so much about pictures on the cover. For me it is all about intriguing ideas and solid recommendations.
If you enjoyed this post you may also like a previous article that I wrote about my favourite authors. Check it out here.