The weekend is here again and in Lagos today, at least where I live, the rain is coming down in long showery strings. (Does that make any sense?). I feel that this is a very good time to pick a book to read and if you’re not reading right now, you should.
But you would probably ask, “What am I supposed to read?”
I can’t decide for you but I can guide you to an awesome book that you would love. While I would love to share my reading list with you, I would rather that you fill your library with awesome books handpicked by you.
So, David and I asked readers questions about how they pick their books. David summed up the answers he got:
- Author history.
- Life experiences.
- Life hopes.
- People’s opinions.
- Movie adaptations.
- Series adaptation.
And I also summed up the answers I got:
- Book cover
- Middle page
So how should YOU pick an awesome book?
Before I started picking my own books, I was at the mercy of whosoever’s book I could borrow. They were not always what I wanted to read and sometimes the books did fall short of my expectations.
Having friends that enjoyed reading similar books, not only gave me the opportunity to enjoy reading but it also allowed me to discover new books that I would like to buy. One day, I found myself at a book store with lots of money, lots of books and not enough friends. It wasn’t like the store was a keke ride away from my house so that I could easily return the book
I’m sure that if I had had this list back then making my decision would have been much easier but I don’t regret the decision I made. So here is how to pick an awesome book.
1) Choose something you like: This is the first and most important thing to consider. You have to pick a genre that you like. It’s fine if you want to choose something else to try but when you want to build your library, choose what you like to read so that you don’t end up tossing the book halfway across the room because you’re unsatisfied. If you’re a movie goer, take care that you know which genre of prose suits you. Personally, I ❤️ watching fantasy, historic and science fiction movies but I don’t really enjoy reading books in those genres.
2) Book Cover: Often times we say, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” But I can’t count the number of times that I do this. Whether consciously or not, readers do tend to be pulled in by catchy graphics. A book with a good cover usually means that good time was spent polishing this book up to standard. Of course, that is not always the case but a good book should come with a good total package.
Just look at it this way, the book cover is the first impression a book would make. It’s like a business proposal. I would rather trust the man with a neat hair, a business suit and a briefcase than the guy with saggy shorts and a sandal. 🤷
3) Author: Lots of people pick books based on the author of the book. Chances are that if I read a good book by an author, I would want to read more of it. This doesn’t always mean that other books by said author would be great but it is safer than randomly picking books by several authors because of the good book cover. (I learnt this the hard way.) The more known an author is, the likelier the chance that his or her book would be swiped off the shelves. More books in a particular genre usually means more expertise. If you don’t believe me, argue with James Patterson, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Chimamanda Adiche, Nora Roberts or Woke Soyinka. The only down side to this is that you might miss other good books by other unknown authors but there is a fix for that. Also, one of my friends picks books based on authors who co-write with her favourites. So, that’s another way to discover new authors of awesome books.
4) Title: I would not pick a book that gives away the story in its title. That is a waste of my precious time. A book title should be just as engaging as the cover. But sometimes, titles may fail to bear the wonders in the pages of the book. To me, titles don’t play much part but it does to other people. The fact is that a good title won’t give away the story but it won’t be too subtle with the story either.
5) Publisher: This to me is like finding a known author. A publishing house that has produced a book that I really loved would probably publish and contract other awesome books. That’s why some books are picked up instantly. Someone gave an example of Harlequin, publishers of romance. Anytime, I see a Harlequin book, I know that I’m going to get a romance story but a good publisher doesn’t always mean that I would like the book even though it could be one of their best. After all, I’m after a good book not a good publisher. So what then?
6) Blurb: This is the make or break point of any book purchase or choice for me. You know, that slightly lengthy thing at the back of of the book that tells what the book is about. This is a very big deciding factor for me. So, you’ve seen a book with a good cover. It has an awesome title and you think you would like it. Hold up for a second. What is the book actually about? The blurb should give you hints on what to expect from the book i.e. the characters and a basic plot. If the blurb is not interesting or fails to provoke interest or mystery as I expected, I usually drop it.
7) Middle page: I’m not sure everyone would be opourtuned to flip to the middle page of a book especially when it is an electronic book. When I can’t be convinced by a blurb, I flip the book open and let a particular scene help me decided. Usually, I judge that scene on how well it was written, the tension and intrigue involved and the question marks it raises in my head. The middle of the book shouldn’t be too easy to figure out from the blurb. A well written book would, at this point, make me kiss my money good bye. (Good bye money 😘) For electronic copies of books, the best you can get from such books, not all, is an excerpt. This is better because it gives you a head ups on what to expect. If I’m not moved by the excerpt, I won’t pick the book. Some people choose to read the first page of the book instead. It’s the same principle.
8) Reviews and Acclamations: Reviews are what other readers say about the book. Acclamations are those things written in the first few pages of the book that claims the book is indeed awesome. I prefer to read reviews and I don’t just read one. I read several. If I’m at this point then I must really be conflicted about picking this book. I feel like reviews are much more honest than acclaims because they tell about other readers personal experiences but acclaims could be gotten from reviews.
9) If after looking at all of these, I’m still not convinced, I ask my friends for their opinion or I just drop the book. I kukuma cannot kill myself for a book that fails to interest me.
About David’s List:
If you noticed, most of what I explained were from my own list and not David’s. And that’s because choosing a book is a personal experience. I don’t agree or relate with everything on his list and I don’t expect anyone to agree 100% with anything that I have said. But I will explain what I can from his list. Hopefully, he would do this in full one day.
Mood: The mood I have when I go to get a book can affect my choices. I tend to go for thrillers when I need to read something engaging. I only pick purely romance books when I am bored or book starved.
Movie Adaptations: I would rather read a book first than watch the movie because most movies fail tp depict accurately what happened in the book. But if I watch a movie without knowing that it had a book and I find that it does have a book, I would want to read it. Books that have been adapted into movies are usually very engaging awesome reads.
Series Adaptation: I suppose David thought of Games of Thrones, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings here. Books that have been made into series are also good reads except that the book tends to hold more than the series does. Also, a book that comes in series usually holds my interest because the story doesn’t stop at one.
There you have it. A guide to picking awesome books. Do you have any other funny/unusual/weird book picking habits? I would really like to hear it. Comment please and share to fellow book lovers.
Fact about me:
If I like the smell of a book, I would probably read it for the sake of the smell.