Book Finder

Chuck Wendig recently asked this question: What gets you to read a book?

I’m not your normal reader. I should hardly be surprised that what gets me to read a book isn’t ‘normal’ either but after reading a fair portion of the two hundred odd responses to that question, I realise I’m a bookcrastinator. I just made that a thing.6fe043b0c69edddc41f7dbd2a1768fcd

These are the main ways I’m enticed to read a book.

1. Someone’s lent it to me
“This book is amazing. Have you read it?”
“Uh, no. No, I haven’t…”
“Really? Well, here. You can borrow it if you want.”
“That’s very nice of you but-”
“But it’s really good, you’ll really enjoy it”
“I don’t think-”
*steely stare* *gritted teeth* “Just. Read. It.”
“Yeah, Ok. Sure.” *takes book*

That may be a slight exaggeration but borrowing a book is an effective means of getting me to read. It’s fills me with a sense of obligation and the worry of possessing someone else’s stuff can be as motivating as a deadline (unless you’re family. Sorry, I’ll get it back to you soon…). It’s a bit like a friend insisting you attend a function and you end up having a really great time.

2. Saturation Point
If I hear about a book often enough, curiosity prevails. I began reading The Hunger Games trilogy, His Dark Materials and the Harry Potter series this way. And the Twilight saga. My only proviso is, I have to be interested in the basic premise for curiosity to kick in.

3.The Gift
People don’t buy me books very often, (probably because they rarely witness me read them) but I will read a book gifted to me. I sometimes read a book I’ve bought for someone else. Usually my husband. He’ll read it first and if he recommends it, I’ll read it second.

Snapshot 2011-09-02 13-08-574. Book Beauty
I buy a lot of second hand or antique books because I believe they are beautiful not because I plan to read them. But occasionally, I do. Modern books rarely turn my head for their cover art.

Aside: I, Coriander is the only ‘modern’ book I have ever bought because of its appearance and although it’s geared at a much younger audience it’s also a charming read.

Perhaps you are looking at my list wondering what’s wrong with it? I agree, it’s a good, healthy list of completely valid reasons to read a book (I was particularly proud of the way ‘Book Beauty’ sounded like Black Beauty) but as I wrote the sentence ‘modern books rarely turn my head for their cover art’ I realised I rarely look at books. I don’t browse in bookshops, I wander aimlessly. I don’t pluck books from shelves and devour blurbs. I don’t read reviews or recommendations or express an unwavering magnetism for a catchy title. What gets me to read a book is astoundingly passive.

It could be argued that I seek books at markets, but then it’s not really a book I’m buying is it? I’m buying a beautiful object that I’m unlikely to read.

For reading inspiration, a fellow blogger suggested I join GoodReads but the prospect of facing all those books made me feel like Mickey in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Dum-de-dum, dum-de-dum, with books heading towards me, hitching up their slip-covers and I’m trying to read them before they multiply. I realise now bookstores make me feel the same way. Overwhelmed.

I don’t find books, books find me.

It’s time to become the sorcerer.

This isn’t the post I intended to write, but this is what evolved. Personally, it’s been most insightful, so thanks for letting me talk it through.

3 thoughts on “Book Finder

  1. This is the point at which you and I differ… our book-reading habits. As you know, I need no enticement to read a book! Having said that, ‘book beauty’, to use your coined phrase, is a big thing in getting me interested in a book, too, but normally I am an efficient bookshop browser, generally aware of what’s ‘out there’ – i.e. new publications by my favourite authors, books that are doing well or have won awards or been given strong reviews – and I go with that. A good blurb and opening pages, a pretty cover, and I’m a goner. πŸ™‚

    • Yep, that’s the general response from Chuck’s blog. I think I differ from most people on this particular point! πŸ™‚ I been avoiding reading too long. I’ve got to keep reminding myself I don’t have to read the whole bookshop!
      It’s crazy that I feel this way, all because I *remember* what it was like not being able to read. It shouldn’t even be relevant anymore! Funny things.
      As always, thanks for your comment πŸ˜€

      • Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the amount of books out there that I will NEVER read because I don’t have ten thousand lifetimes to spend… but you’ve just got to let that go, and read what you can. Enjoy every word. πŸ™‚

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