What Makes Me Pick Up a Book?

As you might know (because I literally never stop talking about it!) I do’t have a physical TBR which means that I pretty much buy books as I read. Because I have read a lot this month, as stands to reason, I have bought a few books this way, which got me thinking about what makes me choose these books? Normally, my buying is done online but when I am in uni I can also just pop down the shop and pick one up from there, but what appeals to me? With this question in mind I thought I would carry out a mini investigation, and here I present my findings:

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Some hype but not too much

Fine line to tread, I know, but this is what I have concluded. Basically, if a book has too much hype I will avoid it, hence why I didn’t read Six of Crows for ages and why I wasn’t planning on reading Turtles All the Way Down by John Green right away (even though I did end up buying and reading it really soon in the end but who can resist a book on sale?). I think this is mainly just because I’m nervous that the book won’t live up to the hype, especially with books (like Turtles) where I am desperate for them to be good! In terms of books I actually pick up pretty speedily, these are normally books where I have seen some positive mentions about them, around but haven’t seen hundreds of five star reviews and not seen one single bad thing said about them!

Examples

  • Autoboyography – Christina Lauren
  • Simon vs The Homo Sapien’s Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Multiple POV

Oh man do I love a book with multiple points of view. I didn’t actually realise how much until recently when, with pretty much every single book I read and didn’t enjoy, I found myself thinking how much better it would be if there were multiple points of view, *cough, cough, Batman: Nightwalker, *cough cough.

Examples:

  • Carry on – Rainbow Rowell
  • One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus

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Auto-Buy Authors

I don’t really auto buy books by that many authors. I might be predisposed to read the synopsis of a book because of who it’s by but if that doesn’t sound like something too interesting, I won’t necessarily pick it up just because of the author. However, there are some exceptions to this rule including John Green and Maggie Stiefvater, whose books I will read no matter what! I also find that if I have read one book that I have enjoyed by an author I am usually willing to give a second book a go.

Examples:

  • The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
  • The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon
  • All the Crooked Saints – Maggie Stiefvater

Buzzwords 

This was something I had to think long and hard about: which buzzwords make me pick up a book? Obviously I could think of loads of buzzwords that make me not want to pick up a book, but what about the flip side? After some deliberation I have managed to come up with a few:

  • Friendship – I love books where friendship is important, especially as in so many books, friendship seems to be cast aside for the sake of the romance. No! I want female friendship and bromance and girls and guys who can be platonic friends without either of them having been secretly in love with the other for the entirety of their friendship!!!
    • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
    • The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Family who actually family – if I read in the synopsis of a book or online that there is a good family dynamic in a YA contemporary chances are I am going to pick it up. I have just read so many books where the parents are completely absent often for no good reason, which is really annoying! So if there is a family with parents who actually care about and look out for their kids, and siblings who actually like each other (most of time, it still needs to be realistic!) then I am all for it!
    • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
    • Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Standalone – although I will pick up series occasionally, it is not something I do unthinkingly unlike with standalones where if I see only some of the things I have mentioned here, I will probably shrug my shoulders and say ‘might as well’ before picking it up. One reason for this is commitment, another reason is reading amnesia. All in all, at the moment I just find standalones much more accessible and easier to pick up.
    • Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon
    • I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson
    • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard

Genre

After looking at my books I have concluded that there are two main genres which pique my interest. The first and main one is contemporary YA, while the second is YA fantasy realism.  That’s not to say that I don’t choose books from other genres, but if I had to choose between other genres and these two, I would normally go for these two.

Examples:

  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Everything, Everything – Nichola Yoon
  • The Wolves of Mercy Falls – Maggie Stiefvater

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Pretty Covers 

I know, I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I’m pretty sure everyone does at least a little, and I am no exception. I think my main argument here is that having a cover I don’t like won’t necessarily make me not pick up a book, but having a pretty cover will make me much more likely to pick it up. Spines are also important because when I go to the bookshop this is the first thing I see.

Examples:

  • The Names they Gave Us – Emery Lord
  • Passenger – Alexandra Bracken

So there we have it, some things that make me pick up a book. I should point out though, even though these things determine whether I pick up a book (at least speedily) they aren’t always signs that I will like these books. Quite a few of the books I have mentioned turned out to be a bit disappointing including Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (picked for the cover) and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (picked because I loved Everything, Everything so much) while other books that I have mulled over reading for ages because they don’t fit some/all of these criteria, have turned out to be my favourite books, like Six of Crows and The Book Thief.

So what makes you pick up a book? Are there any books you’ve read that you think I would like based on my conclusions? Are there any books you like that completely fall outside of what you normally choose?

As always, happy reading!

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(I’m so sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)

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23 thoughts on “What Makes Me Pick Up a Book?

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 Hard hitting is such a great buzzword, I think I was trying to come up with something similar to that because I’m really attracted to books that deal with big and current issues and are exactly like you say, hard-hitting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, honestly that happens to me all the time too, especially when I am writing essays for uni! Being bilingual I also have times when I have the perfect word in welsh but can’t think of the english translation and vice versa! 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is such a fun discussion post!! Usually, I pick up a book in the bookstore if it has a pretty cover, I know the author or I’ve heard some hype about it. Basically most of the reasons you mentioned haha

    If I could recommend a book for you, I’d probably say All-American Boys because it’s a lot like THUG and it’s written by an equally as wonderful author, Jason Reynolds. One book I enjoy that’s out of my normal comfort zone is probably Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I’m not a huge fantasy fan, but I loved the story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow we have some of the same things we look for in a book. I LOVE Multiple POVs. It’s always such a fun way to make a book a little different. And I think One of Us is Lying did it sooooo well. I also love friendship. Love love love it. Especially if it mentions like bromance friendship. Something about that is so sweet to me, seeing two guys or a group of guys being actually friends with each other and listening to each other and supporting each other. The hype one is also so important. If it is a super super hyped book I won’t read it right away because I know it won’t live up to my expectations. For example: Caraval. Still haven’t read it, but now I’m wondering if I ever actually wanted to read it or if the hype just decided for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool to hear that we have some of the same tastes! Yes, One of Us Is Lying is one of my favourite YA’s ever and most of that is definitely down to the multiple POV aspect! Yes, I really love bromance too and I think it’s so important to have that representation in books and normalising guys showing their feelings and explicitly caring and looking out for each other! Honestly I have the same thing, I really have to ask myself whether I want to read it and whether I actually want to read it or I don’t want to miss out!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some things we have in common like auto buy authors, pretty covers and genre even if my genre is mainly romance Other things is lostly if trusted friends sharing the same taste love the book That’s the most important trigger!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes I really get what you mean about “some hype but not too much”- I definitely get nervous that books just won’t live upto it- which is why I didn’t read Six of Crows for ages either. And yeah I don’t autobuy many authors, but there are a few. hehehe I definitely get sucked in by pretty covers, so I can relate 😉 Really great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, I’m so glad people feel the same as me about this because I was scared I was being really particular! Yes, and sometimes I know the book isn’t my kind of thing but the cover is so pretty I can’t help myself!! Thank you so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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