I was recently in a bookstore perusing the new fiction and overheard a conversation nearby. A mom was weighing 2 books in her hands and said to her son, “These are about the same price. Let’s get the thicker one.” I thought that might not be the best criteria for choosing a book. So I started to make a mental list of how not to choose a book and realized that I do many of these:
1.It has a cool cover that I would enjoy gazing at.
I have sometimes had good luck with this technique though. The Story Of Beautiful Girl
(hardcover version) by Rachel Simon and The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson are two good examples.
2.It has a lot of pages and I want to get my money’s worth.
I don’t think I’ve done this.
3.It doesn’t have many pages and will fit in my suitcase.
I may have done this.
4. It sounds intellectual and I want to look smart reading in public.
In point of fact: The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz
5. I heard about it on NPR and I think I probably should read it in case I need something interesting to talk about at a party.
The book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is a good example. Who am I kidding? I’m an introvert. I don’t go to parties anyway.
How do you choose a book? Do you read the first line and see if it “hooks” you? Do you do some prep work ahead of time and look at reviews on Amazon? Do you follow a friend’s recommendation? Do you (gasp) read the ending first? What’s your technique?