Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bookwyrme's Book Selection Process

Every now and again, someone asks me how I decide which books to read. It is a long and careful process, the secret of which I am now going to share with you.

I pick up books for any of the following reasons, alone or in combination:

1) I like the author. I already know I'll enjoy anything by Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, or Sue Hubbell, for example.

2) The author is shelved next to an author I know I like. I first read Patricia McKillip (now on the list of authors I know I'll like) because her books were persistently shelved next to Robin McKinley's. It was fate.

3) I like the cover. I found Carola Dunn this way. I still think the covers on the Daisy Dalrymple are tremendously fun and charming and exactly reflect the contents.

4) I like the title. Frankenstein's Cat caught my eye for this reason (and because of the cover and because of the subject).

5) I'm curious about the subject. Carousels, genetic engineering, the development of our concept of time, rose names... Interests come and go and return again.

6) I like the publisher. This one is new to me, but I find I'm now paying a lot of attention to Quirk Books these days. They've published Pride and Predjudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, the Lovecraft Middle School books, The Last Policeman, Cooking with Flowers, and now Shakespeare's Star Wars. They match their name and that makes me very happy.

7) I read a review or two. I've found a lot of books that way--too many to list, really, but for now I'll mention Tuesdays in the Tower and Plain Kate.

8) Someone recommended the book to me. Oddly, this sometimes means it will take me longer to read the book. I'll save it for a rainy day, so to speak, a day when I don't have anything else to read.

9) It's an old favorite. I do reread, quite a lot, actually, though a bit less than I used to. My room is full of old friends, and they get taken down and reread.

There. Now you know the secret to finding good books!

Or at least, you know how to find books, and you also know why I am a long-term library addict.


  1. You have recommended some I have read and liked.

    1. Good :) Because the thing I like next-best to reading books is sharing them!

  2. I love the recommendation features offered by Amazon or Audible. The more generic version is just "similar books," while one that I like better is of other books that people who liked this book also liked in their ratings (this is where Audible's feature asking you to give stars to every book you have in your library comes in useful). Then, reviewers are invited to recommend books themselves.

    I've found a lot of great books that way.

    And how did I find Daisy Dalrymple, since I don't see the covers of books on Audible? I went to their list of historical mysteries, and I believe it was also in the list of cozy mysteries. Another nice way to find new books and authors.

    1. I have used GoodReads recommendations. I kind of lumped that under "reviews" when I was making this list, which is not entirely accurate as sometimes they are "based on shelf."

      I should also add "liked the character" for graphic novel selection; I'm early days on that.

  3. I always wish there were a perfect way to predict what books I'm going to love. That would be great. Like if I'd been reading a bunch of just-okay books for a while, if there were a way to say "Okay, now I'm going to have a really good one!" :p Even faithful authors aren't always reliable -- Neil Gaiman's great, but I don't love all his books equally, for instance. Choosing books is harrrrrrrd.

    1. No, there's no perfect system for finding excellent books--at least, I don't have one yet. These are my ways to decide which of the many many many books in the library I'm going to take home this trip!