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What attracts you to a book?

Do you tend to browse a genre you enjoy? Or authors you know are similar to those you like? Do you go mainly on personal recommendations? Is it the cover? How much attention do you pay to the description on the back? And how much are we at the forum intruding on your choices? Razz

I probably go mainly by browsing the sections of the library that appeal most. With a less organised second hand sale I'll just quickly look over everything- and unless I've heard of an author the decision will probably be based on the title, the cover, and then the blurb on the rear cover!...occasionally I have found some wonderful books this way.
Theem Arrow
A pretty cover!

No, I'm kidding. I usually find an author, then read everything I can get my hands on and then move on. Usually a new author comes from word of mouth or just by publisher. I read a lot of fantasy, so TOR for example publishes a lot of authors I like.
I too tend to find authors I like and then read many books by that one person before moving on. Until I've had my fill of an author, nothing else sounds enjoyable. I don't just look for books of a specific genre, although I have a few I do enjoy more than others, and as I do with authors, I tend to fixate on specific genres. Lately I've been interested in history books and historical novels. I'm reading Herodotus' Histories right now, and recently I finished a book of Catullus poetry translated by Peter Whigham (which was, by the way, AWESOME--funny, and vulgar, and sometimes truly sad), and Margaret George's new book, helen of troy.

I have to say, sometimes I am drawn in by the cover:)

I do take recommendations from my friends, but not from strangers unless they can really well articulate what they loved about a book, and it sounds like something I would enjoy. Unfortunately, I don't read very fast--one book can be a major undertaking, and I hate to waste my time. I don't have very long on this earth to read all the books I want, and there are a lot of them out there:) Do any of you have a list of books you intend to read before you die? What's on it?
The first thing I look at is the title. If it sounds good i'll probably pick it up and look at the blurb to see what the story is about. If I like it I normally remember the author and try to find other books by him/her. If I don't well......

I don't really go by the front cover 'cause i've had times when i've relied on the cover and found the book a drab anyway and at other times I find that the cover has nothing to do with the actual story at all. So now I just ignore it all together. But a colourful cover will still catch my eye. It just doesn't play that big a part in the choosing of a book.
Usually the cover is the first thing I notice. I mean, why would you pick up a book that looks a crappy cover job? Then, if it looks well done, like the publishers actually care about the book, I read the description. If all sounds good, I'll read it. Wink
The cover plays a very good impression in choosing the book. I mean, when you go to a bookstore with hundreds of books, and you have to chose something, I generally tend to go towards books with attractive covers. Then I read the description from the back, and if it seems appealing, I choose the book.
The cover should be an eye-catcher. But I don't judge the book by its cover. Razz I'd know who the author is first, then, check out the back page (with the summary and stuff).
I usually get attracted to inspirational and mystery books. Sometimes I also enjoy teeny books. Hehe. Depends on my mood, but yeah, I'm a bookworm. Mr. Green
I don't mind with the cover or even with the genre. The content and the rhythm of the text are the most important for me. I look at some pages to feel this before reading.
I go for works that can boast of intense, captivating lyricism. Smile I usually go for literature that already has "reputation," you know, that it's been already reviewed (and received good ones!), but I guess I really do go for those written in rich, beautiful verse. Plot is nice, and characterization's important to me, but I have to say that the way the language is handled is everything.

Of course, having a pretty cover is an eyecatcher. Very Happy Since I go for poetry most of the time, though, I can't take a book for its cover -- I have to digest the craft and mastery of the language.
icon wrote:
I go for works that can boast of intense, captivating lyricism. Smile I usually go for literature that already has "reputation," you know, that it's been already reviewed (and received good ones!), but I guess I really do go for those written in rich, beautiful verse. Plot is nice, and characterization's important to me, but I have to say that the way the language is handled is everything.

Of course, having a pretty cover is an eyecatcher. Very Happy Since I go for poetry most of the time, though, I can't take a book for its cover -- I have to digest the craft and mastery of the language.

So...I'm curious, what examples of books have captivating lyricism? I mean, I appreciate the same thing, so I'm wondering what's on your list of favorites?
The basic theme of the book. A pretty cover helps (such as if a good book has different versions of a cover), but mostly, I'll have to have a good recommendation from somebody, or the summary has to catch my attention.
Usually if I've heard of the author I give a book a better look. Or, if I hear a title I love (such as Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being") then I'll try to research up on the author.

Also, once, while browsing a used bookstore here, I found on the dollar rack The Stranger by Albert Camus. I had never heard of him (except his short story "The Guest," which I read in class) but the cover was really, really cool so I bought the book and it was amazing. It's had a big impact on the way I think, actually.
it is usually the author and yes..i admit, the hype associated with it..!
My mother once said that if a book has dragons on the front and a map on the inside, she knows I'll like it. That's not entirely true, but it's been pretty close in the past. When I go to the library (I always read books from the library before I go to the bookstore, so I don't end up buying books I don't like), I tend to wander through the sections that interest me (sci-fi, fantasy, occasionally mysteries, and non-fiction) and pick books at random. Then I look them over, read the book jacket, maybe take a look inside. If it looks promising or interesting, I take it with me. If not, I put it back on the shelf.

I never go by my friends' recommendations (except the one friend I have who has very similar reading taste to me), because they're notorious for liking and recommending books that I don't like. Sometimes I look for books by an author whose work I've recently tried and enjoyed, but normally I just stick to my method of picking at random. It hasn't failed me yet. Very Happy
Well I like novels and what attracts me first is the title of the book. Then I go browse the internet to find out about what the book likes. Then if I managed to find a certain book that I like, I go to random bookstores.

But what attracts me most is the story of the book. A book that has a strong story, attracts most of the readers. Even if the book has many winding paths, as long as it has a good ending, readers will come looking for part 2 or three of the book. Very Happy
If a book has a good cover and a an interesting title, I look at the back.
If I feel like the story at the back is interesting enough I just might read it
Sometimes I tend to look at the short description at the back of the book reagrding the story or the setup, if that interest me then I buy it. There are times that the authors name alone is enough reason for me to buy the book (i.e. George R.R> Martin). Sometimes I read through a friend sreferal.
The Cover does influence me, it has to be eye catching. If friends rave about a book it makes me want to read it. Author interviews on tv or radio sometimes get my attention. I have just finished a good book, Restless by William Boyd, a spy novel with a difference, think it would appeal to female readers more than male.
not really... i just read... most of the time i hate what i read but i read it anyways because the only reason i read is to kill time...
First is the author, I like to read books by Stephen King and James Patterson. Then I read the synopsis at the back of the cover, if it catches my attention, then I will read it.. Twisted Evil
I'll admit - I judge books by their covers. I mean, I've almost never read and LIKED a book with a boring, effortless cover. But mostly I read the summary - I just can't pick up a book if I don't have that basic idea of what it's about.

Who wrote it usually doesn't affect me, except that there are a few authors that I like. But often I find that writers' styles change so dramatically that sometimes two books by the same author seem to be written by totally different people.
Hi, well, i guess for myself, i would go to the best read there is in my library - the COMICS section!! Tho adult but still crazy over these colourful pages and the excitingly quality paper they use to produce these pages! I guess i would go to the section which i know best, and if there is ANY need to gather info for my projects or just for further reading due to curiosity, or on spur of a moment i thought of something and i need to check it out, i would venture to the lesser known section such as the Reference or the history section. Familiarity wastes lesser time spent and far more efficient. Yippe!! Library ROX!!!!!
Cover appeal is definetly a contrubuting factor but i tend to also get a glimps of the content of the book. The back page isn't always enough so when i scan throught the book im looking for a bit of mystery with a hooking plot. I don't like books the get me uninterested in the content after the second chapter. Also a bit of complexity on the writers part wouldn't hurt, to get the reader thinking. Very Happy
i get usually to those books which has colorful pictures,graphics,big colorful diagram,colourful design, smooth pages,etc.
I usually get most of my reading material from my roomates/friends. Or sometimes if I've read other books by a particular author, I will use that to guide my judgement.

Or occasionally I'll just buy based on genre and the back of the book. That was how I found many series that I later came to know and love.

So it's pretty diverse how I get my reading material actually.
Personally i tend to stay within the Fantasy Genre, which does include modern and post modern fantasy. THe main reason for this is, I play D&D (and other games like it) and these types of books give me good inspiration for my plot lines and characters.

Otherwise, I tend towards the study of mythology, philosophy, world religions, and archeology.
I would say, a cover or prominent position on a bookshelf attracts my attention. After that, usually the first thing I do is flip to a random page and read a paragraph or so. If that passes my test I move on to the back cover and first page of the book. If it all looks good, I go with it. I don't really know what attracts me in a cover, because it doesn't need to be flashy. I guess its just something that subtly attracts my eye, without anything too overt or garish.
theem wrote:
Do you tend to browse a genre you enjoy? Or authors you know are similar to those you like? Do you go mainly on personal recommendations? Is it the cover? How much attention do you pay to the description on the back? And how much are we at the forum intruding on your choices? Razz

I do tend to browse a genre I enjoy. I head up to the bookstore shelves of the genre I prefer and I like going through the titles I find interesting. It's not so much the cover as it is the first paragraph. If I like that first part, and I like the synopsis at the back, I will most likely read the book.

I also listed to recommendations from my 'trusted' people. People who have the same taste as mine, people who are big literature enthusiasts, people who may have different preferences from me but have always provided me with pretty accurate reviews. There are times when I find out that this movie was actually from a book, so I go out and find the text. Usually, if I enjoyed the film, I would enjoy the book more.
I also flock more toward certain genres rather then a specific author or series of books. I'll wander into a bookstore, get an idea for the sorts of tites I want to read, and then see which ones are at my library. Garage sales and thrift stores are also awesome places to score neat old books.
A lot of the time I'll just go to a bookstore (there are two huge ones within a mile of where I live) and just browse around for an hour or two. Regardless of section or genre, I'll check it out and usually find some interesting things.
Hmmm, What attracts me to a book?

First thing I do is check out the title. If the title sounds interesting, even if it doesn't, I take a look at the cover picture. Yes, I know, don't judge a book by it cover, yadiyadida. Same as with the title, even if the cover art isn't intruiging, or in some cases, there isnt even one, I read the summary provided on the back or on the inside cover.

But personally, I enjoy books that are, in a sense, Utopian like. I also enjoy reading old english literature. Brave New World is an example of the type of book that attacts me.

Oh, and I am a sucker for books on Quantum Physics. Razz
I judge almost purely on the usefulness of the data or experiences contained in the book. What I am going to learn from a book is my priority.
Quite honestly, the cover of a book, people's reactions, and the back review of the novel. I don't like corny covers with actual photos of people (unless it's a biography). It makes it seem cheesy somehow. But aside from that, if there's a good review of it in a magazine, newspaper, or even amazon, I'll look into it.
I get to be enthusiastic when it comes to the cover of the book. Sometimes I feel like when the cover is not of an elegant type, the contents will also be not good.

Like Goosebumps for example, the covers are very good especially in the drawings' details. I like the realistic type of drawing and sometimes the story relates to my life.

I also love books with texts that has complex meanings and unread words to me. It makes me think, "What's the meaning of this word? I should look it into the dictionary... I guess not. I'm too lazy to go upstairs... Hahaha, I'm starting to be a jerk here..."

A Good cover, realistic drawings, difficult words/phrases, that's my kind of book. Smile
Well I know that there is a saying "You can't judge a book by its cover". But thats the only way I can find good books. When I am browsing book stores I ONLY look from cover to cover if the book doesn't have a interesting cover then I don't read it. There has to be some type of good picture on the cover or I will just walk right past the book. Sometimes I really miss out on good books but what can I say? I'm just like that for some reason. Another way is the book has to relate somehow to my life or I can't read it. Like if I can't relate to what the author is saying I immediately get bored with the book.
Oh, so many things.

When I go to look for a book to buy, I usually do it by genre first: when I go into a bookstore, I head straight for the science fiction/fantasy section, thence to the children's/young adult (where I hunt for younger-targeted sf/fantasy), thence to the non-fiction section (for history, sociological/cultural studies books, and books on mythology), and thence to the reference sectio (for dictionaries, thesauri, books on English, and reference works of the fantastically obscure, eg. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable). So, although I look within several different genres, I do have a severe case of tunnel vision in terms of not looking much outside of those genres. Occasionally I will also glance over at the gay/lesbian section, if the store has one, and I've also managed to pick up a few crime novels and books of poetry. Er, whoops, I guess.

The second thing I look at is the title. There tends to be a lot of same-sameish stuff in fantasy fiction, so I tend to steer clear from titles that sound as if I've read the book ten times before under other names (almost anything with the words "ring", "goblet", "grail" or "sword" in the title is out), unless I either know and trust the author already or else I've had them (very highly, and repeatedly) recommended to me by friends whose tastes I trust.

That's another thing I look for: names--either ones I know through my own reading, or ones that I know because people have been telling me for a year and a day that I should try this author's work. It doesn't necessarily have to be the author of the book I recognise--if an author I know and trust has a couple of words of praise on the front or back cover of a new book by someone I've never heard of, then I might try the new author on that basis.

Then there's the cover. This is never the deciding factor, but my general rule of thumb is that if a publishing house really thought a book would sell, and was worth promoting, then they would bother to pay someone with talent to do a really nice cover for it.

If most of that grabs me, I'll flip to the back cover and give the blurb a cursory glance. If it sounds vaguely interesting, I'll open the book up and read maybe the first few pages--or maybe the first chapter--and then flick to the middle and glance over a couple of pages there, too.

If the book still hasn't lost me, I'll look at the price. If I'm not too poor that week, I'll buy it. If I am, I'll add it to my list of to-gets.
i is directly proportional to r/p


i is interest
r is resale value
p is purchase price

When i have finished a seris and dont have any books to read i just look for how thick a book is. Sad much?
I keep my ear low to the ground when it comes to books. I like to listen for rumors about good finds, and "oh have you heard about..." I'm always looking for a special kind of special. It's not that I'm looking for whatever everyone else is reading...usually I'm just looking for something that people say is "SO GOOD..." but can't seem to put their finger on why. Or even if they can, it's not easy to articulate. I like books that are plot driven and with many layers. The book might be dense, but I want it to go fast. I want the kind of book that's almost impossible to put down.

When I'm in a book store, I usually wander almost aimlessly. I might set my goal on a specific book, but maybe not with the intent of actually buying it. I just want to have something specific I'm looking for, even if I'm actually going to buy something else.
I usually just look for books that are mysteries and thrillers. I read the premise and then look at the comments, I know that they aren't going to write bad comments there but, I look if the comments seem to be believable. lol.

I have to say sorry though to Sidney Sheldon though. I skipped his books cause I thought it's under the romance genre cause of the titles until a friend of mine had me read one. I guess never judge a book by its title. haha.
I tend to look at the title first, book covers are often deceiving... I've read incredibly good books with horrible covers, but a title will almost always say whether it's something I want to read it or not. If a book captures my eye, I'll read the back, and by the time I've finished reading that, I've usually made up my mind, whether to read it or not. I'm a very quick reader, so if I happen to not like a book, it doesn't affect my life very much... But I'll read pretty much anything, books like jane austen are kind of painful to read, as they don't interest me as much as most books do, but I've read a couple of them...
I mostly buy books of a genre that I like. I read the summary at the back and if I like it, I buy it.
Walk into a bookshop, find the science-fiction section, start looking at titles. If a title grabs me, pull it out and look at the back. If it's an author I know, and the title is remotely intriguing, that too. Sad to say that inspecting the cover does play some part in my brain processing the item, but I guess that's inevitable.

Other considerations are price, and how much I've seen the book elsewhere / heard of it before.
I tend to read fiction/Fantasy/Sci-Fi, and work heavily upon recommendation. Without a recommendation, I go by title and the plot description written on the cover. With my preferences, there tend to be a lot of serials, so once I find one I like, I have a couple books to read all within the same basic storyline... or setting (for the sci-fi and fantasy). Of course within these serials and wide settings there can be quite the variety of qualities, so I still have to check the plot descriptions before buying Razz
Genre and description of the book are the most important to me, but I also like to hear what someone can recommend (and why exactly that book, and not some other). A cover is really not important for me; it is enough to have correct title and author’s name. Wink
I usually see what everyone else is reading first; my friends, teachers etc. That usually attracts my interest, and I usually start reading the book too. If I find the book to be a good read, I would start searching for more books by that Author until I have read all his/her book, then once I'm done, I look for another book everyone else is reading and repeat the process Razz

I also sometimes read book reviews online, but not usually... some contain spoilers, and they fail to warn you :/
I participate on a site called There, it is possible to scan hundreds (thousands even) of book reviews and ratings by other readers, as well as the publisher notes. Since I now have a set of friends there (including Turtle -- hi, Turtle!) whose interests and reading tastes are similar to mine, I can typically trust their responses to be a reflection of the quality of the book.

I'm a fan of literary fiction, and don't generally go in for a lot of sub-genres. I pay attention to the description at the back of the book, my experience with the author or others like him/her, the response to the book among like-minded friends and readers whose opinions I respect, including bookjacket blurbs, and then ... MOST IMPORTANTLY:

I read the first couple of pages. I can tell within that amount of time, almost without exception, if the writing is of a quality that will capture my interest.

One thing that is important, but superficial: I only buy/read trade paperbacks. The crappy, newsprint / typography used in cheap mass-market paperbacks destroys any pleasure I take in reading a book.
I would have to say the front cover is very important because as much as we say we dont judge the book by the cover but in actual fact we do judge it. Also the size of the font is a big thing too and also chapter length. I personally go for the inspirational true to life kind of books. But also depends what kind of month I have had thanx for the blog!
A particularly intriguing premise, or an author that I know well.

I'm one of those people who don't like spoilers, so I will actually get a book without having read the blurb, if I can.

Yes, this makes for interesting reading.
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