I’m curious, how do you pick the books you read? I’m sure it’s a variety of reasons, but what’s the first thing get gets your attention? The cover? The author? The title? A review in Kirkus? Do you purposely check certain blogs to see what’s getting a buzz? Or do you come by new titles randomly? Do you make regular trips to the bookstore to see what’s new? Or do you wait till you have coffee with a favorite pal to hear what she recommends?
For me it’s one or two or all of the above, except for reviews. In fact, I try to avoid reviews all together. Why? Because unless the reviewer is someone with whom I share reading tastes, it doesn’t really matter to me what he/she thinks. Worse, I hate when I read a review and get a spoiler (as what happened with a recent review in the NYT). I like to know as little as possible before deciding to read a book. Part of it, for me, is the element of delightful surprise when I fall in love with a character and his/her story. I can’t get that from a summary. But then, again, I DO need to know something about it to pick it up. I prefer contemporary fiction and sci-fi/fantasy (but not necessarily vampires/werewolves/zombies). I’ve even grown a little tired of dystopia.
Let’s take a look at some of my recent yet unread book purchases and break down what caught my attention.
The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly: This one is easy. It’s book 3 in Donnelly’s “Rose” series of adult historical fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two so it was easy to buy the third. What got me to buy the first in the series? I saw The Tea Rose face out on a shelf at the bookstore and the cover caught my eye. When I saw it was by Jennifer Donnelly (I really loved her YA novel A Northern Light), I filed it away in my head for something I might want to buy later. Then my teen daughter’s best friend raved about the series, so that clinched it. I bought the first book.
A Million Suns by Beth Revis: Another easy one – I read the first in the series, Across the Universe, and knew as I closed that book that I just had to read the next book. What got me to buy the first one? I think it was blog buzz. Many of the blogs I read were raving about it and I kept seeing it at the bookstores. I did read the inside flap (not all of it, just enough to give me an idea of what it was about), and bought it.
Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith: I’m a fan of Greg’s. I loved his previous MG books, particularly Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo. Greg has a great knack for combining humor and science into a thoroughly entertaining story. For this reason, I’m excited to have an ARC of his newest (coming out in March, I believe)! Time travel and dinosaurs? I’m on it!
I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: I admit it. I have a soft spot for Sophie Kinsella’s adult romance/fiction. She saved me while I was living in Shanghai. There were few opportunities to buy Western books there and even fewer choices. It was in Shanghai that I got hooked on Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series and devoured every one of her books I could get my hands on there. (On my trips home to the States, I’d always bring an empty suitcase to fill with books and other supplies – like toothpaste!) When I saw that she had a new novel coming out, I didn’t even need to know what it was about. I pre-ordered it. I’m faithful to my favorite authors.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: Ah, here we go. It was definitely the combination of the cover and the title that got me to pick up this book! And when I read it was about strangers meeting on a plane? I was hooked. (For those of you who don’t know, I met my husband on a plane.)
So there you have it. The books that I have most recently purchased, haven’t yet read, but am greatly anticipating! I suspect I’ll buy more before I get through reading those.
On a side note, congratulations to the winners of the ALA awards! For a complete list of the winners: http://ala.org/news/pr?id=9108! And for a fun, fabulous post about the award winners, check out Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup blog!