What Makes You Pick Up A Book? #LetsTalkBookish #LetsDiscuss2021

April 16, 2021

What makes you pick up a book?

What Makes You Pick Up A Book (white text over a background of a tall stack of hardbback books)

Image Source: Canva

One of the most pressing questions in the reading life is “What Should I Read Next?”

How do you decide what to read next? What makes you pick up a book?

I was going to clean the house, but then I realised.l..this book isn't going to read itself (Image: a young woman sits on the floor leaning against a cabinet reading a book)

I love discussion posts, and many of my favorite bloggers participate in Let’s Talk Bookish and the Discussion Challenge. One of my blogging goals in 2021 is to participate in more discussion link-ups. Do you enjoy discussion posts?

As I answer the questions, think about how you would answer them for yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This post is also an entry for the 2021 Discussion Challenge, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

What makes me pick up a certain book?

  • Reviews (I have a few reviewers I trust and who I consider my book twins!)
  • Known Author
  • Genre (hitfic FTW!)
  • Diverse Voices
  • Catchy Title

***Tip: I like to have a few books already in my queue so that I am not left adrift after finishing a book. It’s helpful in preventing decision fatigue to have something to hop right into. I enjoy a seamless reading experience. What makes you pick up a certain book?

Is a pretty cover enough?

Absolutely not! I’m actually most tempted by a catchy title or an author or review. I admit to liking bright covers….especially bright floral designs! I confess that I am growing weary of the women on histfic covers who are walking or looking away and all we see are their backs. Also, I usually prefer the original cover to the movie adaptation cover. It’s always interesting to notice different covers on the UK versions of books. Because I read on kindle, I hardly ever notice the covers until I start writing my review! Do you like a pretty cover?

Do I check for good reviews?

I stalk all reviews! The good reviews and the bad reviews. If I’m going to invest hours in reading a book, I want to make sure it’s a good fit for me. I don’t like to go in “cold.” Because I don’t usually read thriller or suspense, I’m not that worried about coming across spoilers. I’m trusting that most reviewers will avoid spoilers or have them clearly labeled. When I read reviews, I’m also looking for trigger or content warnings. I know that I don’t want to read books about child predators, serial killers, or witchcraft. I find it’s helpful to check the 2-star reviews. I know every book isn’t for every reader but I like to see if the shortcomings are something I can live with. For instance, if the reviewer indicates that excessive profanity is an issue, I will probably steer clear of that book. I know that I often quit on books with a great deal of profanity. If the reviewer indicates that the story is heavily character-driven with minimal plot, I will think carefully about that book and read more reviews. Many times when I pick up a book it’s because #BookstagramMadeMeDoIt (many thanks to my bookstagram buddies!) Do you read reviews or do you like to go in “cold”?

Do I depend on recommendations from friends, librarians, or booksellers?

pulling a shelf of library books

Maybe you have a group of bookish friends or family members who always recommend books? Perhaps you ask your librarian or bookseller for a rec? If we were friends in real life, I would always have a recommendation for you (maybe a cart full)! My hairstylist is not a fast reader but she appreciates having a good story on hand for when she wants to read. I began the tradition of buying her a book for Christmas one year. It took her an entire year to read it but she loved it and was ready for the next one the following Christmas! I guess she would say that she doesn’t worry about what to read next because she reads what her customer brings her! I think getting a recommendation from a friend is great because your BFF really knows you and your reading tastes. I have one friend that I love to get a rec from because we tend to enjoy the same books. Have you found your book twin?

Is the synopsis important?

The synopsis isn’t as important as reviews in my opinion. A synopsis is a sales pitch and it can be misleading or contain spoilers. I find that most reviewers are more careful about spoilers. The Sea Wife is sold as a thriller and I thought it was more of a family drama with a little mystery (how did the husband die?). I know several readers who were disappointed in the read because they were expecting a more thrilling story based on the synopsis. It was actually fine with me because I don’t like thrillers! Two years ago, I read an installment of No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and while I was writing my review I checked the official synopsis and a couple of events that were mentioned in the synopsis NEVER happened in the story! Sometimes, it’s painfully obvious that the writer of the synopsis has not read the book! Is the synopsis important to you?

Do I look for diversity or #ownvoices?

Yes, I purposely look for diverse reads and #OwnVoices authors. I track my yearly stats in a spreadsheet and I always include this category! In my monthly reading wrapups, I like to see a nice variety of voices and perspectives. Do you purposely look for diversity in your reading life?

Does my last read influence my next read?

Definitely, yes. I recently read a very heavy WW11 histfic book, and I immediately picked up a sweet middle grade read. I do like to balance my genres a bit. Sometimes that fluffy chick-lit book is exactly the palate cleanser I need. Even though my followers must think I read nothing but histfic, that’s not the case. Sometimes I don’t write full blog reviews for my in between reads….but I do note them all on Goodreads. Often, a series will influence what I read next. I can’t pick up book #4 in a series and enjoy it without reading the three previous installments! I’m a binge reader when it comes to a good series. In fact, when I am immersed in a series, it’s the perfect antidote to worrying about what I’ll read next. Are you influenced by your last read?

Do l Iook for any checkboxes?

Absolutely! My biggest checkbox is probably histfic. That genre always intrigues me and deserves a look! I also love complicated family drama, found family, and friendship themes and enemies to lovers or friends to lovers tropes. What are your most important checkboxes?

Do I have autobuy authors?

For sure! Fredrick Backman, Kate Quinn, Louise Penny (although I’ve decided not to read the one she’s coauthoring with Hillary Clinton), and Stephanie Dray (especially coauthoring with Laura Kamoie) are four definite auto-buy authors. For chick-lit, I’m always curious about Katherine Center’s new releases. I love Sara Ackerman’s Pearl Harbor/Hawaii stories. I could go on and on listing authors whose work I’m always checking out! Do you have an auto-buy author?

Do I reread?

Usually I don’t reread. I keep a list of lifetime favorites and I’d be happy to read anything on that list should the mood arise. I suffer from FOMO and I’m distracted by the new and shiny, so the pleasure of rereading gets pushed to the back burner. I did reread The Guernsey and Literary Potato Peel Pie Society before the movie came out. And I impulsively reread The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry last summer. Honestly, I’m always fearful that I won’t love a book as much as the first time I read it. I’m addicted to the “Wow” experience in reading and second or third reads don’t offer the same thrill.  However, there are different reasons to reread a book including appreciating the prose and revisiting a poignant theme or memorable characters. I remember the time I read The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman two times in a row. The first time, I was gripped by the plot. As soon as I read the last word, I immediately started on page one to reread more carefully and appreciate the writing, character development, and themes. Fortunately, this is a short story that is easily read in an hour! What is the last book you reread?

Am I influenced by hype?

Yes and no. As I mentioned earlier, I have FOMO so I’m always influenced by hype…Except if the book doesn’t check my boxes. When that happens, I feel awful! I don’t like being out of the loop for new reads. But it happens and I live with it. My most recent experience involves The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I am familiar with her work (The Great Alone, The Nightingale, and The Winter Garden), but I know that she can make me ugly cry (especially her earlier titles). When I heard how sad The Four Winds was, I just knew I wasn’t in the right headspace. I’ve also read a review that gave me pause. I’ve decided not to read it, but I have to live with the hype! Are you influenced by hype?

Outside forces often dictate which book I read next.

At times my review calendar decides my next read for me. I have made commitments to publishers and blog tours that must be honored. Other times, library due dates dictate which book I read next! Occasionally, I pause my hold (easy to do if reading digitally on Overdrive or Libby!), but it’s always looming and I rarely totally give up my place on the holds list and start over. Instagram Buddy Reads and IRL Book Club also affect which book I read next. I need to be accountable to the group and ready for discussion! Do library holds or book club commitments influence what you read next?



I think that knowing yourself as a reader leads to a satisfactory and enriching reading life. (see this post about Your Reading Style)

QOTD: What makes you pick up a certain book?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

What is a Good Ending? #LetsTalkBookish #LetsDiscuss2021

January 30, 2021

What is a Good Ending?

What is a Good Ending? (text over a background of a stack of hardback books)

When my daughter took piano lessons and I nagged her about practicing, she told me, “If you practice the beginning of the song and the end of the song and know the beginning and the end really well, she (the teacher) will still give you a sticker!” Silly me to think that she would need to master the entire song!

Girl playing the piano

I feel this way about beginnings and endings to books! The author has about 50 pages to engage me, and she or he better nail the ending! I often change my star rating in the event of an extremely satisfactory ending or a beginning that immerses me immediately into the story.

I love discussion posts, and many of my favorite bloggers participate in Let’s Talk Bookish and the Discussion Challenge. One of my blogging goals in 2021 is to participate in discussion link-ups. Do you enjoy discussion posts?

This post is inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This post is also my 1st entry for the 2021 Discussion Challenge, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

If endings are important, what is a good ending?

Some endings are revealed in the first chapter of the book and the story unravels the events that precede it. For example, Little Fires Everywhere starts with the fire, and Everything I Never Told You starts with a death. Do you enjoy endings that are revealed at the beginning of the story?

Reading is a personal experience, and I think the type of ending you prefer is also personal. There are no right or wrong answers here…..just exploration!

Do you have a preference for a certain type of ending? Some different types of endings include:

1.

HEA (happily ever after)

We can expect HEA endings in the Romance or RomCom genres. No matter how much tension or conflict the middle of the story contains, we can be assured of the HEA. Although predictable, this leads to an enjoyable reading experience for many readers. In 2020, my pandemic reading brain seemed to crave these endings!

2.

Hopeful

Middle-Grade stories are known for their themes of hope, and a hopeful ending is an upspoken rule in middle-grade fiction. This is why I turn to MG when I feel myself going into a reading slump or need a break from more intense reads. Of course, adult fiction can also have hopeful endings. I enjoy a hopeful ending immensely! In adult literature, I think a hopeful ending pairs nicely with a second chances trope. Also, endings that involve reconciliation or redemption fall into the hopeful endings category for me. These are some of my favorite endings and Ask Again, Yes and All the Devils Are Here are two examples of endings I love because of reconciliation themes.

3.

Cliffhanger or Open-Ended

A book in a series will sometimes end with a cliffhanger. Even though I might enjoy the series, I don’t enjoy a cliffhanger ending. First, I don’t want to wait a year or more for the next installment. In addition, I think that even books in a series should be able to be read as stand alones. If you’ve just read a fabulous review for All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny and are excited to read it, do you really want to read the prior 15 installments first? Probably not. Fortunately, all of Louise Penny’s books can be read as stand alones because each case is self-contained in one book….although I don’t recommend it because of the character development and overarching themes that develop from book to book. In this series, reading the books in order create a richer reading experience for the reader. In each book. Louise creates a satisfactory ending. We may be curious about what happens next in the family, or to the friends, or in the village, but all conflict and problems are resolved. This is a very long response to say that while I don’t mind a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter, I don’t enjoy cliffhangers as story endings! In addition, I don’t honestly enjoy open-ended endings. After I’ve invested hours reading the book, I need some sort of conclusion!

4.

Satisfactory

I don’t necessarily need HEA endings, but I do enjoy a satisfactory ending. A Place For Us doesn’t exactly have a happy ending and it left me wondering what would happen next for the family relationships, but the ending was satisfactory in many ways (mainly because it was realistic). Several readers have complained about the ending in Little Fires Everywhere, but it was satisfactory for me because enough subtle hints were given for me to imagine what their future might be. In fact, I reread the last few pages several times to glean all the clues! I rate it satisfactory where many readers didn’t feel this way. News of the World by Paulette Jiles has an ending (epilogue) that I felt was extremely satisfying and I truly loved it because it addressed a thought-provoking theme of “doing things right or doing the right thing.”

5.

Sad

Confession: I didn’t read #3 in the Divergent Trilogy because I read in reviews that favorite characters die. If a character you love dies in the end, that’s a sad ending. I feel that some authors manipulate you to “ugly cry” and I don’t like those stories or endings. Sometimes, though, an ending is sad because the story follows the character to the end of his or her life. Stories that have these types of endings include The Book Thief, A Man Called Ove, Castle of Water, The Story of Arthur Truluv, and The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett. I think of these endings as bittersweet rather than sad.

6.

Plot Twist

I can think of one book I vehemently disliked because of the plot twist at the end: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon I didn’t see it coming and I felt “punked” by the author. It ruined the entire story for me and I wanted to throw the book across the room! Others loved the story but the ending ruined it for me. Other stories like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman have a plot twist that really works! In reading Eleanor, I was surprised but not in a negative way….more in an ahhh haaaa way that caused me to want to reread the book from a new perspective

7.

Epilogue

Some stories include an epilogue. I usually enjoy epilogues because they help us understand what the future holds for our beloved characters. There are a few books that I feel needed an epilogue including Eleanor & Park (what were those three words?!)The Girl With the Louding Voice and Little Fires Everywhere. Epilogues are like a serving of dessert after a great meal!

8.

Ambiguous, Unresolved, Confusing, Falls Flat, Rushed, Abrupt

Ugh! These are my least favorite endings. After all the time I’ve invested, I don’t appreciate an ending that falls short: flat, ambiguous, unresolved, rushed, abrupt, or confusing. Authors, please give me a satisfactory ending! A few endings I have felt conflicted about include The Scent Keeper by Erica Braumiester (great story, beautifully written, but the ending fell flat for me) and The Mothers by Brit Bennett (engaging story and interesting characters, but I felt the ending fizzled). For the most part, The Great Alone is a story with a tense, slow build up….then BAM….the ending is rushed and frantically paced. I realize these opinions fall under personal preference!

9.

Bittersweet

In the historical fiction genre, I encounter this type of ending quite often. These realistic endings usually leave me with a book hangover!

10.

Explicit

In this type of ending, there are no lingering doubts or questions. Every character is revisited and has a thoroughly described ending. I recall that William Kent Kruegar in This Tender Land carefully follows through with what happens to the four children. Some readers prefer that an ending is left more to the imagination or inference, but I don’t mind well-explained endings! I prefer explicit to open-ended every time.

QOTD: Which ending do you prefer?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com