Friday, September 2, 2016

How Do You Select A Book To Read?


Today begins a holiday week-end. Labor Day seems to signify the end of summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere. Lots of people will have another swim party or a barbecue but there are others who will use the extra time to hunker down with a book. Or two. Or three.

When we don't have week-end plans, I love to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with a book. First, I need to be sure I have some books in the house to read. Yesterday, I stopped at our library to return a couple of books and select new ones. 

As I browsed through the fiction new book section, I started thinking about the way I choose a book to check out. Or one in a book store or at a secondhand shop, even a garage sale. The things that draw my attention first are title and book cover. Then, the author--I scan for names I know. Next, I look to see what genre the book is. If it's sci-fi, fantasy or horror, I skip right past it. Those are categories I have no interest in, although I know there is a huge market for them. If the book is historical fiction, I take a serious look as that is one of my favorites. Also family sagas.

But let's go back to the first I mentioned. A title can intrigue us or turn us off. I have pulled many a book off the shelf after reading the title. It doesn't mean that I am going to take the book home strictly on the merit of the title. No. I'll read the frontispiece to see what the story is about and then decide. The title itself, however, is what made me look in the first place. No matter how good the book is, the title is what draws the prospective reader to explore further. Authors--give great thought to the title you select for your novel. Readers--pay attention to keywords in a title that draw you to a book. 

Second to titles, the book cover draws my interest. Sometmes there is a photo or drawing of something pertaining to the story. Or it might be the way the design of the cover appeals to me. Some are simple, others ornate. Some are glorious colors while others are dark and a bit scary looking. Some covers let me know immediately that the book is historical or a romance or sci-fi. I take one look at some covers and slip the book right back onto the shelf. Authors probably have little say about the book cover, unless it is self-published. They should have some input but the final decision is most likely up to the publisher.

The third thing that helps me select a book is seeing the name of an author whose books I have read and liked. It might also be the name of an author that I have read about in a newspaper or literary magazine. We all have a few authors whose work we love so much that we'd read anything they write, maybe even their grocery list! 

The fourth point is the genre of the book. As stated earlier, there are some I slip right by as they give me no pleasure in reading. Certain categories draw me immediately and there is a third group that I will look at occasionally. Once in awhile, I like a mystery but not a steady diet of that kind of book. I like a suspense thriller now and then but not frequently. Quite often, it's the author of that kind of book that draws my interest as I have several whom I have read before and enjoyed. 

Yesterday, I came home with four books and the September issue of Book Page., a monthly newspaper filled with all things books. You can read it online, too. Many libraries provide it free of charge to their patrons. I look forward to each new issue to help me decide what new books I would like to read. 

If you have a reading week-end, enjoy every bit of it. For those of you who will swim, bike, hike and eat a lot, enjoy this last week-end of summer. Save your reading for dreary days ahead.

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