Hello everyone, and welcome back!
Today I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish to give you six things that make me want to read a book. (I only need six. Or less, let’s be real. I read a lot.)
This is actually something I think about a lot because I read quite a few books each month now, so I also have to acquire a lot of books to read. (That acquiring has been going considerably faster than the actual reading, but you know.) And then I have to motivate myself to read them while they loom over me on my shelf and at my desk and all over the place.
When you have to get a lot of books to read and you have other things to do, like read them and write reviews and do your day job, it’s pretty important that you find shortcuts to find stuff to read. I mean, I could meticulously and painstakingly research every book I put on my TBR (sometimes I read up on a book quite a bit), but that’d take up all of the time I need to do other things, like romance Garrus, and Garrus needs me. So I have to be able to look at a book and see some key sentences in a summary or review and maybe the author’s name and say Yes, that, good.
So here are a few things that make me say Yes, that, good!
A Cool Premise
Given the reading I’ve done over the past year or two, I know that even a great premise can’t carry the book (and that a lot of good books can sound pretty weak), but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to read about magical schoolgirls fighting Giant Enemy Snakes or genetically-engineered assassins in SPACE and so on.
Books about a girl and a boy meeting and falling in love or about a boy/girl in a fantasy world who is Chosen for a Thing can be really great, but when you read piles and heaps of those, a premise that sticks out is exciting.
Female/non-binary teen Friendships
There are some great literary bros, but finding great female/non-binary friendships in books is harder, to the extent where I have a hard time coming up with any. I like the female friendships in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Attachments, but I’m not a huge fan of Fangirl for other reasons and to love Attachments, you really have to get past the creep factor of the premise. (In my case, I did, but it still makes me feel awkward about the book.)
That’s why I picked up Truthwitch, although I wouldn’t really advise picking it up for the female friendship; the two are great friends, but they’re split up by circumstances through far too much of Truthwitch and Windwitch to really get to know their friendship as much as I’d like. (I do like those books for other reasons, though.) I honestly haven’t had a great female friendship read yet this year, although there are many months yet for me to try. (There are some nice female friendship moments in The Hate U Give, but it’s not really a focus.)
The main characters of most young adult books are white, straight, cis, neurotypical, and able-bodied. The most common deviation from this, in my experience, is white, gay, cis teen boys, or maybe white, straight, cis teens with undiagnosed depression. (Hello, Bella.)
So when I find a book where the main characters don’t fit that mold, then I’m very inclined to pick it up, especially if the representation is particularly rare. It’s a decision to support diversity on one hand—I want to spend money on books that are bringing diverse representation to the table for young adults—but on the other hand, it’s really kind of personally practical? Like just as I’m not that interested in reading nothing but contemporary romance and Chosen One fantasy, I’m not that interested in reading about people with similar experiences/backgrounds all the time.
An Underrepresented Genre
You’re starting to see a pattern here, right? I really like reading stuff that I don’t get to read all the time!
Right now in YA, it’s pretty easy to find contemporary romance, fantasy, and fairy tale retellings that are one or both, but harder to find horror, sci-fi (especially if not heavily dystopian), western, and other kinds of reads. There are some I’m not always interested in (I’m not much of a thriller person unless it’s more horror-flavoured), but it is great to be able to branch out sometimes!
…I mean, I really love fantasy, and I really love retellings, so I can read a lot of those. Contemporary romance isn’t really my favourite, but with so much of it out there, there are some really good books in that genre!
Focus on setting
…especially one I know or want to know!
I don’t find that you can usually tell from a book summary whether it’ll be a very character-driven or plot-driven book. But often a summary will flag to me if the book will really focus on setting, and I love books that really make use of where they’re set, especially if it’s a setting I’m familiar with, so I can relate to what they’re referencing, or a setting I’m interested in, so I can get a feel for what it’s like.
I bought the book Texas Gothic for the title because I thought some Texas-centric spooky might be a fun time, even if I’d never heard of the book or the author. And, honestly, it was!
(Just like with everything else, there are settings you see all the time, like New York, and settings you almost never see, like most Canadian ones. So as much as I love a good New York setting, I love to snatch up books with settings I rarely see!)
A Canadian Author
This is really just a bonus that tips things over the edge sometimes. Canadian authors are less big in YA than American and British authors, so I do tend to be interested in what they’re writing, since I am also Canadian! Plus the likelihood that they’ll use a setting I know goes up, obviously.
That’s what gets me to pick up a book. How about you? How do you choose your next read? Let me know down in the comments, and I’ll talk to you again soon!