Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guest Blog: Judging A Book By Its Cover

Thanks to the lovely Amanda, we have a guest blog this week titled, "Judging A Book By Its Cover." Thanks, Amanda! <3

Judging A Book By Its Cover

I confess. I go to the bookstore and the first book I pick up will be one with a cool cover. Then I flip it over to read the teaser, and then I open it up to read the first page. If it still has my interest, it goes in my basket. As a new mom, my “me time” is very limited- I just don’t have the time to waste on a crap book.

I must admit I’m a sucker for reader’s reviews. Most of my book shopping lately has been online.  I appreciate when someone takes the time to give their opinion on a book I’m contemplating purchasing:

  • “Great book overall. Started slow but I fell in love with the characters.”
    Sold. They even gave me a great pointer- get over the dry bits in the beginning and come out smiling!
  • “Don’t waste your time.”
    Perfect! Thank you, anonymous reader!!!
These quick little reviews are so helpful when I’m picking out books from my library or purchasing books for my ereader. It saves me a ton of time and money!!

More often than not, I will enjoy a certain book and upon opening up my goodreads account and seeing what other’s had to say about it, I will notice someone saying it was similar to “_____” book. I’ll scratch my head and realize I never read “________” so then I have to go find that book and so on and so forth. This is how I recently came to read “The Giver” (which is a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE book and I will never recommend it to ANYONE. EVER. I had nightmares for DAYS. Have I made my point? Good. We can move on.). I think this is a great way to discover more books in a similar genre that you may have really enjoyed, but don’t know how to go about finding others like it.

I can be swayed into almost any genre, but I tend to shy away from anything claiming to be “the next great American novel”. Spare me. Good for you, author who thinks the world needs to be taken more seriously. I’m going to sit in the corner and have a romance with a studly 19 year old guy who thinks it’s “so complicated” to juggle school, soccer practice AND his first girlfriend, thank you very much.  I typically don’t fall for the vampire shtick- but I had a friend totally GUSH over a series and insist I read at least the first book. Nine books later, and I’m biting my nails in anticipation of a new Sookie Stackhouse novel.

To ask me what my favorite books are would be just mean. On any given day it could be a thriller/mystery (I am sooooooo good at catching the bad guy!), a period book (especially about the Tudors- fascinating!), Young Adult (because there is a teenager stuck inside me who still views the world as limitless) and even the occasional Sci-Fi ditty (vampires, angels, you know- the cool stuff. But none of the “In a galaxy far, far away” business.)

Overall, I love to read. If a book comes highly recommended, I will devour it. I love getting to know a person through the type of books they enjoy.  It is such an intimate thing- to share a great book with someone else. It touches you in such a personal way. My best advice would be to join a book club. It has been one of the more enlightening experiences for me. It has opened me up to a new world of genres and characters that I may have never gotten to know if it weren’t for the group of women who make up the club

One of my closest girlfriends came up with the idea to start a book club two and a half years ago. She wanted it to be fun and relaxed. We each invited a few fellow book-lovers and agreed on a meeting for the first Monday of each month. We take turns hosting. The hostess will have chosen her selection prior to last month’s meeting so that she could announce a month in advance what that month’s pick will be. This keeps it both fair and interesting- because if you don’t like “her” selection, you know you’ll get something else completely different next month! (And one HUGE perk is that we have added meals to our meetings- everyone brings a dish and we get to try new foods all the time… for example, Italian food for the book “Angels and Demons”… yummmm)

If you don’t know enough people (I’d say 4-5 would be sufficient) that would be interested in starting one up with you, check out craigslist or even to find an existing group that you can become a member of!

All in all, keep it simple. Don’t stress yourself out trying to read every Jane Austen, John Grisham or “Bestseller” before you die. Stick with what you know and like, but keep an open mind to what else is out there! If someone is passionate about a book, don’t disregard it just because it’s out of your normal comfort zone- you might surprise yourself with how much you could truly fall in love with a book if you just open it up and take a look.

Happy reading!