Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where they discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.
APRIL 16: WHAT MAKES YOU PICK UP A BOOK? (SUGGESTED BY RAFAELA @ THE PORTUGUESE BIBLIOPHILE)
Prompts: What makes you pick up certain books? Is a pretty cover enough? Do you check for good reviews? Is the synopsis important? Do you look for diversity or #ownvoices? Do you look for any checkboxes? Do you have autobuy authors?
Welcome to another week here at LTB! I love this topic, there are definitely many different reasons that make me pick up a book, but I know for certain that it follows a pattern (even if I don’t want to admit it!)
I think I mentioned it previously, but pretty covers is a big one. Even if I don’t judge a book by its cover, inevitably it’s the first thing I see, and the first step to drawing me in. Realistically, who is going to pick up each book off the shelf and read the synopsis before making a decision? I know myself, and I usually reach only to pick up books that seem to call out to me. Alternatively, a good title is also good enough to attract my attention, usually. Of course, before actually reading the book, I also read the synopsis to make sure the title/cover aligns with what kind of book I think it will be, and whether it will interest me overall or not.
If it’s a book online that I’m researching, then reviews do also come into play. Although, I do find that in general reviews aren’t always the most helpful unless it’s fairly unanimous. If some enjoyed it while others didn’t…then how am I supposed to know which category I fall under? Or worse, the egregious “I loved everything about it!!!! 2/5” reviews. What does that even mean?! Please tell me someone knows what I mean when I say those reviews haha.
I find the synopsis extremely important to my interest in picking up a book. Everything else you can judge (reviews, cover art, title) are rather nebulous in nature, and really doesn’t provide you with any evidence for what the book might hold other than a mood. I really enjoy when the synopsis gives you a real glimpse of what you’ll get in the book, and then the book delivers. It is so disappointing when the synopsis is misleading and the book also doesn’t deliver much quality. Such a big pet peeve of mine, though not always avoidable.
Diversity isn’t something that I look for when deciding whether to pick up a book, but always earns bonus points when included into the story naturally. That being said, if I see it’s an Asian author, or some other POC, I do bump up the priority for reading. While it’s not my main criteria in selecting books, I do want to make sure I am keeping varied perspectives and a more diverse reading portfolio.
As for other checkboxes, none of these are hard checkmarks, just stuff that can earn bonus points in my eyes. For characters: a strong female protagonist, defiant and sassy attitude, quick-witted and sharp. For the story: something with a bit of mystique and intrigue, and if there’s magic then some cost must be attached to it. Anything new and creative that I haven’t seen before, that will also catch my eye. Elemental magic/affinities, or lineage-related drama and strife – also sign me up! The fight against your birthright (something you didn’t choose) will always be one of the best stories for me.
Lastly, do I have any autobuy authors… I think I do tend to stick to an author every once in a while. Currently, it’s Ruth Ware. Just seem to love all her thrillers, and some of them are just really enjoyable to read and throws me for a loop! I’m sure I will move on eventually, but that’s my autobuy author for now. I rarely get committed to any authors though, because I find that every person’s work varies – not every work will be a big hit, nor do I expect them to be. But that’s the beauty of having so many different writers in the world, there’s no need to stick to any if you don’t want to!
If you’ve made it all the way here to the end of this post (a tiny bit long today), thanks! Having read a little bit into the kinds of books I like, does anyone have any suggestions for books I might want to pick up? Let me know in the comments below if you do, and thanks in advance!
Remember to follow Dani and Rukky on their respective blogs! The May 2021 topics have come out now, and they’re also asking for LTB feedback. So if you’ve been following along with these Friday LTBs and have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to click the link above and suggest a topic or leave feedback. Thanks everyone, and see you next week!
3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – What Makes You Pick Up a Book?”
Honestly, as much as people say “don’t judge a book by its cover” it’s inevitable and I think we all do it, even if it’s subconscious. It’s just so much easier to be intrigued by a gorgeous cover than a particularly bland or hideous one. I don’t think I’ve actually read that many books with a fight against a birthright kind of plot, so I’m curious to know what’s your favorite book with that trope. Also, I’d recommend The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson for a new kind of magic and great depression rep.
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Wow, thanks for the suggestion Rukky! I will definitely look into it. And what are book covers for, if not to entice readers, right?
My favourite book for the trope I mentioned is definitely The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, where she is born into the seemingly the worst situations, and constantly the world is against her, but she has the resilience to fight for it all. I guess that’s what I consider as “birthright”, kind of refusing the situations you are born into, and going after the life that you want.
But other books that I like with also this birthright trope include Ninth House, These Violent Delights, and Lore, which all have the protagonist kind of struggling to terms with their own uniqueness and abilities, as well as the situation presented to them because of their specialities. Even if not everything in each book was my absolute favourite, the trope itself really draws me in every time!
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