How I Get Hooked on Books

by Kim on October 16, 2009 · 33 comments

When you’re browsing through the bookstore, reading reviews online, or just chatting about books in general, what makes a book stick out for you? Are there any subjects or themes or character types that make you look more closely?

What follows is a list of things that will pretty much guarantee I’ll give an unfamiliar book a second look, or that will move a book higher up my pile.

Disclosure! I borrowed this idea from Memory (Stella Mautina) who borrowed it from Ms. Bookish who borrowed in from Word Lily. So basically, it’s an idea lots of other people had that I think is awesome.

Journalists: I love books written by journalists or realistically about journalists. I like getting into their process, using the stuff I’m learning about journalism to assess the work, and imagine how glamorous my life could be if I became a journalist who wrote a book.

gleePrecocious Kids: Well written, spunky, smart, and imaginative kids as characters always make me happy. It makes me hope that if I ever have a baby, it’ll be as awesome as these kids. I also like books about high school, but only if the kids are more like the characters in Glee than Gossip Girl.

Feminism: I’m always interested in books about women exploring their relationship with feminism or how feminism is changing for women of my generation.

Embedded People: I’m especially fascinated by books where the author will immerse themselves in a topic or lifestyle then write about it. A.J. Jacobs’ book The Year of Living Biblically is a good example of this.

The Middle East, specifically Iran: I’ve been fascinated with Iran since I read Reading Lolita in Tehran, so any time a book is set there or about that country, I give it a second look. Also, Zimbabwe: Ever since I read When a Crocodile Eats the Sun I’ve wanted to read more about this too.

Reading/Books: I also like books where characters love books or where authors use literary references to explain their characters.

Re-imagined Fairy Tales: I like when authors take a familiar story and rework it in some way, bringing out ignored characters, playing with an ending, making one decisions differently… I think that co-opting of a familiar narrative is fascinating.

Multiple Narrators: I love seeing a story through multiple perspectives, especially when you can see how characters understand and misunderstand each other.

Do you have your own bookish hooks, things that will make you stop and take a second look at a book you’ve never seen? Or, what books would you recommend based on my bookish hooks?

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