I’ve seen quite a few bloggers taking part in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and this week’s topic looked great so I thought I’d make use of my free evening and try it out.
This week’s topic is:
Things That Make Me Pick Up A Book
- Cover – metallic leaf, embossing, a striking colour palette: any and all of these will have me staring longingly that the bookshop table/shelf for a while and then (inevitably) taking said book to the till. Just give me all the pretty books
- Author – like everyone, there are authors whose books I will instantly pre-order when they become available. Sarah Perry, Zadie Smith, Kate Atkinson to name just a few of mine. And for any authors whose latest release just stuns me, I will also have their previous work immediately added to my TBR.
- Blurb – now I work in publishing, I see directly how much thought goes into crafting those few paragraphs on the back (or inside cover) of a book. And it’s a huge decider for me as a reader: it conveys an initial sense of key themes, the genre, the plot, the characters, the setting, the tone. If it’s not engaging, I’ll often quickly decide to just put it back.
- First page – Sometimes I’ll read the first page of a book to get more of an idea of the writing style. As with the blurb, Opening lines can be a deciding factor in whether I choose to buy or borrow a book. The best opening lines can draw you right into the story immediately (which is why I try to resist reading the first page in a shop if I’m already reading something – I’ll then be torn between the current read and the newest purchase)
- Recommendations – I’m fortunate to know lots of passionate readers like myself to discuss books with. Whether they’ve been recommended it directly or I’ve just been intrigued by discussions, some of my most loved books were leant by/bought for me by my friends and family.
- Book clubs – I’m part of two book clubs (one in my hometown and one at work) and I would highly recommend people join or start one too! They’re great for so many reasons (more bookish chat, for one) but I really love that through other people’s choices, I’ll often read something I never would have picked up otherwise. Even if I don’t enjoy all the books, I think book clubs really help to break you out of your ‘reading comfort zone’ (which is a good thing for me).
- Online book communities – Blogs, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube: a quadruple threat to my TBR and bank balance. I adore seeing the beautiful pictures, seeing the various reviews, and also following the authors and publishers accounts for interviews and features. I’ve lost count of how many books I’ve seen on various platforms, in previews, reviews, blog tours, that have led me to buy or borrow them.
- Prize long/shortlists – The Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist was recently announced and there were so many books on there that sounded incredible that I immediately borrowed one and bought another (which then turned out to be this month’s choice at work book club!) It’s a fantastically diverse selection of books in terms of authors, genres, publishers. Even though I’m not going to be able to read all of them before the shortlist is announced, all the longlisted books are on my imminent TBR – I’ve been very impressed by those I have read. I had only heard of a few before the longlist was revealed which is why I think literary prizes are still so valuable: I’ve discovered some incredible new authors whose writing I’m now invested in.
- Bookshop events and literary festivals – I love attending all manner of book related events, and one of the great things about them is hearing what authors themselves like to read. As with book clubs, you can discover some incredible books that otherwise may have passed you by. Even if I don’t actually attend the events, I have jotted down books based on an advert for an event – the theme of the discussion will be a big enough enticement to pick up the author’s work.
- University reading lists – an odd one considering that I finished university a few years ago but when I worked at a university library, part of my role was to help people find books on their reading lists. Some of the English Literature module books sounded so great, I’d often buy them myself or borrow them from my local library!
Thanks for reading my Top Ten Tuesday post! What are the key things that make you pick up a book?
If you’d like to get involved with Top Ten Tuesdays, you can find all future topics on That Artsy Reader Girl’s page linked above!