Yesterday, I (Bridget) talked about deal-breakers when it comes to the books I read. Now let’s talk about some dealmakers! Like I said yesterday, I’m pretty picky with the books and genres that I read, but there are a few things that will always inspire me to pick up a book!
1. Comparisons to books I like. I’m not proud of this, because I think comparing every new thriller written by a woman in the past few years to Gone Girl does everyone a disservice for a variety of reasons, but dang does it make it easy to pick books. I requested Above through NetGalley for its comparisons to Room and The Lovely Bones; I picked up The Glittering World in part because of its comparisons to TheOcean at the End of the Lane. I picked up The Never List and The SilentWife in part because of their comparisons to Gone Girl.
2. Published by a certain author. We all have auto-buy lists; mine, until recently has been pretty short, only consisting of Stephen King and J. K. Rowling. But in the past few years, I’ve added Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and several other authors to my auto-buy list. In the case of most of these authors, I’ve read several of their books and enjoyed them all; the only exception, currently, is Ms. Hawkins, whose debut novel The Girl on the Train was nothing short of amazing. I’ll definitely be first in line to buy her next novel, whatever it is!
3. Horror/thriller elements. I’m not going to buy every horror or thriller novel ever, of course, but having those elements definitely adds a lot of points in a book’s favor. It’s hard to say exactly which of these elements and in what combinations will always make me pick up a book, but here are a few that come to mind:
- “Race against the clock” type stories, a la Tick Tock, Ready Player One
- Man versus wilderness/impossible survival, a la The Martian
There are a lot of others, but they’re a little bit too nebulous to put into words. It’s sort of like that judge said about obscenity: I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.
4. Good reviews by bloggers I know and trust. That’s not to say I’ll read every book any blogger I read ever likes, but blogging as part of a community means learning your fellow bloggers’ taste in books, and there are definitely a few whose reviews I almost always trust—especially because there are so few bloggers who review primarily non-YA, so when I find one, I almost immediately follow them. (Sorry, is that creepy?) I have a smaller pool to choose from than most bloggers, but it’s sort of nice because it’s not as overwhelming.
(I’d like to note that, at this point in writing, I was having trouble coming up with a fifth dealmaker so I asked my husband what he’d look for in a book if he was buying me a book that wasn’t on my wish list. After I shot down a few things he suggested, he got frustrated and said, “I don’t know why you like the books you like!” Me neither, friend. Me neither.)
5. Good covers. I know you should never judge a book by its cover, and I don’t usually judge by a cover on its own, but a good cover can definitely increase a book’s odds of ending up in my bag. Similarly, a bad cover can kill a book’s chances of ever ending up on my shelves. Again, it’s hard to quantify exactly what makes a good or bad cover, but I know it when I see it!
What are your deal-makers?