Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Do I Know What to Read?

Last week my friend Jenny over at Alternate Readality talked a little about reading book synopses (you know those things on the back of the book, on the jacket flap, over at Goodreads and at the beginning of every review) and how she likes to make up the rest of the story in her head, or try to figure out where it might go. When I said to her I don't even read them, she wondered how I knew if I wanted to read a book or not. So, here's a post to answer that question.

Interestingly I think this is one of those things that's changed since blogging.... let me 'splain.

First of all, it's not that I don't EVER read them, but rarely. Sometimes I'll skim them, or read parts, or glance over them. But mostly, I'm scared of them. It used to be that I would read the back of the book, but that was in the days where I knew nothing about the book at all. Now it seems like the books I am reading I've heard of a little bit at least, and know of some reaction from people (aka bloggers) about what they are thinking. And it's THAT which helps me decide whether or not to read the book.

Also, I seem to be less tolerant of spoilers now and I feel like there's almost always a spoiler to be found there. In fact, I think I really really hate spoilers. I don't want to be led down any direction at all really, I want to discover everything for myself. Make sense?

So how DO I know if I want to read a book?

* I will consider whether someone whose bookish likes I'm familiar with liked it or hated it
* I will read anything written by certain favorite authors
* I will read anything written by my awesome local authors
* I will usually finish a series or trilogy (eventually, it may take awhile)
* I will read things based on reviewer reactions
* I am very swayed by buzz
* I will read pretty much anything, no matter the plot.

All that being said, I actually enjoy writing them, because I find it fun to figure out how to write very short ones, that give away absolutely nothing except for the very very basics, yet still give you a feel for the book.

So what think you? Am I crazy? Should I be reading these things? Should I not rely so much on what you all are saying? Am I giving you way too much control over what I'm reading? :)


  1. Wow. You're the first person I've ever heard that does not want to read the blurb, but I like your reasons. :) How about the book cover? Does that sway you one way or the other?

  2. I don't read jacket copy either, for many of the same reasons. There are often spoilers, and I find the whole medium almost unbearably corny. I know of certain publishers whose jacket flaps are always rambly and unhelpful, too, so I avoid those on principle. I'll skim for keywords and the like, but I rarely read a summary all the way through.

    You and I use a lot of the same strategies to decide what to read. I pay attention to who the author is and what I've heard about their work. If other bloggers have talked them up, I'll give them a go. I also gravitate towards authors whose work I've loved in the past, and authors who seem to deal with themes I particularly enjoy.

  3. while I like to read the flap or cover, I still use the ways in which you find interest in the books you read. although I did go through a period where I was just so annoyed with the publisher's copy--I hate when they are completely misleading.

    I do tend to skim the last paragraph of the flap, you know where the book is deeply moving and poignant and innovative and...


  4. If it works for you, I say go for it. I do listen to buzz, but I'm very careful about the buzz because I may like something no one else does. I'm weird like that. And, I have to read the synopsis. I just do. I don't like spoilers, but the little things in the synopsis don't usually bother me. Although, it was fun to discover Edward was a vampire along with Bella since I didn't read the jacket or back of the book on Twilight. I guess it depends on my mood, lol.

  5. Ha! I knew you were swayed too much by others. ;) As I thought about this though, I realized it's probably why you like most everything you read. You don't got into it with a bunch of preconceived expectations like me. I'm with Jenni Elyse, though. There might be something I'll like that no one else will so I have to read the synopsis.

  6. I've gotten away from reading the synopsis as well. I do many of the same things that you do to determine whether or not I want to read something.

    I hate to admit it, but I do judge a book by its cover.

  7. I read books mainly from bloggers recommendations also.

    I tend to read the covers after I have read them mainly because I find the mislead on purpose or give away spoilers.

    If I do read them, it is to decide to buy them or add to the Wishlist but I will never read it as I am about to read it.

  8. I tend to skim the summaries a lot, and am certainly influenced more by reviews whose opinion I respect. I am also a bit of a cover lover, and will check out a book because I like the cover. That can be disappointing though. And like Marce I never go back and read the summaries after purchasing a book and before I actually read it.

    Great post!

  9. I think I've gotten more and more like that since I started blogging, too. I used to love spoilers unless it was a series I really cared about, but now I like to go into a book knowing as little as possible!

  10. I read every single synopsis, sometimes again as I'm reading the book, so I can't imagine not reading them! So impressed!

  11. Destiny: I like covers... covers are cool, but they don't usually help me decide if I'll read that book or not.

    Memory: Yep yep.

    L: Misleading! Yes, I should have included that one. It seems they often are.

    Jenni: True, and I'm sure there's stuff I'll like that people aren't talking about...but also I very well might try a book that people say they are hating too. Twilight is a perfect example of a terrible spoiler on the back. I hate that.

    Jenny: Yes, I for sure am! And like I said, there's stuff I like that others don't, and somehow I find it... I think....

    Teresa: What do you look for in a cover?

    Marce: Yes, it's fun to read them after reading the book and compare what you think to what they want to make you think. Very fun.

    Jan: On covers, I must say that sometimes a cover may turn me totally off a book, actually.

    Kathy: Right! Start knowing nothing, so you don't expect certain things.

    Thanks for the discussion everyone!

  12. Sometimes I read the blurbs and sometimes no...more times no. I'm always afraid I will read something that will spoil the book for me. I only want to know very generally what the book is about before I begin.

  13. Sometimes I read the blurbs and sometimes no...more times no. I'm always afraid I will read something that will spoil the book for me. I only want to know very generally what the book is about before I begin.



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