Thursday, 17 October 2013

Ten (Slightly Random) Ways to Choose a Book

Since I bought my Kindle the amount of books I’ve read has shot up. I’ve enjoyed books from authors I’d previously never heard of - and genres I’d never heard of either!
 
It has led to some interesting choices and a few mistakes. Last week I downloaded what I thought was going to be a sweet Christmas story about a girl and her dog - it turned out to be something much steamier involving shape shifters! Note to self: read blurbs!
 
So how do I choose a book?
 
1. It has a pretty cover.
 
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. The Night Before Christmas (Scarlett Bailey) has a beautiful cover and a great title. I’ve since bought all her other books.
 
Then there was the had-better-remain-nameless book about the woman hunting down a long lost artefact, that had so many descriptions about her clothes I started thinking things like, ‘She so wouldn’t wear that outfit to go down a mine shaft’.
 
2. It’s seasonal.
 
I want to read summer stories during summer (especially if it’s raining), ghost stories at Halloween and Christmas stories at - yes, I think you’ve worked it out.
 
I Love Capri (Belinda Jones)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Skipping Christmas (John Grisham)
 
3. I've enjoyed the author's other books.
 
Authors writing in different genres used to have pennames - not anymore, which is how I ended up reading my first and last steampunk novel. The hero was half-robot and I kept getting an image of Arnold Schwarzenegger in my head at crucial moments - and not in a good way.
 
4. The author has the same name as me.
 
I thought my name was unusual but apparently not. Fortunately only one of the dozen or so other Louise Marleys writes books.
 
Mozart’s Blood by Louise Marley (not me!)
 
5. The author has written a book with the same title as one of mine.
 
I really need to try harder with my titles because there are several books with the same as mine. I enjoyed Breathless by Anne Stuart (part of her House of Rohan series) but I really love her contemporary romantic suspense novels.
 
6. I loved the movie.
 
Seeing the words ‘based on the bestselling novel by … ’ is a positive incitement for me. It also explains how I ended up reading (and enjoying!) Three-Ten to Yuma (The Complete Western Stories by Elmore Leonard) even though I hate westerns.
 
7. It was free.
 
The trick to downloading free books is to Not Go Mad. Pace yourself! I know it’s tempting, but only download books you know you’re actually going to read. I’ve discovered several great new authors this way, including Danelle Harmon.
 
The Wild One by Danelle Harmon.
 
8. My friend loved it.
 
My friend and I have a lot in common (otherwise we’d never be friends) but we do occasionally disagree on books. She turned up on my doorstep waving Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding) at me and saying, “You’ve got to read this, it’s brilliant, it’s like she knows me!”
 
(I did enjoy the movie though.)
 
9. Everyone is talking about it.
 
This is possibly the worst reason to choose a book. Your expectations go sky high and if those expectations aren’t met you’ll feel cheated.
 
10. It’s a classic.
 
I loved Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) but have yet to get beyond chapter three of Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), and when I meet the person who put Lord of the Flies (William Golding) on my GCSE reading list, I shall tell them it nearly put me off reading for life.
 
So there you have it, ten random (but mostly successful) ways to choose a book.
 
Which method do you use?
 
 
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