How I Pick Books

Hey there! My name is Anthony, from aVeryAwkwardBlog. I collaborated with Laura on a project that took place during Christmas, so I thought I’d drop in to her blog and return the favor!

Since the main theme here is (quite obviously) books, I thought I’d write something book related.

We all love reading, and a huge part of reading is, of course, the book itself! While you can always read anything on your computer or phone, nothing is worth a physical book. A small bundle of papers that serve only one purpose, and that is to tell a story!

Books are precious. And chosing them is no easy task.

Sometimes, you want to read a certain book. You’ve been waiting for it for a while, it’s the sequel of a book you love, it’s written by your favorite author… You just want to read it. So it doesn’t matter for you how it looks like, or what it might contain, you just want it.

But more often than not, that isn’t the case. Usually, you’re just strolling through a bookstore when you lay eyes upon a book you’ve never seen before. You pick it up, gaze at the cover, skim its pages, read the blurb. You want it.

Books have personalities. Some impose themselves, some want to be noticed and read, some just sit there, waiting for someone to pick them up and discover them. Some are shy, barely making themselves seen, with a pale cover and simple blurb. Some are treacherous, and wrap themselves in false images, catching the eye but failing to make impressions. Some are pieces of art by themselves, and are designed just to make your eyes gleam, entrancing you and making you buy them just for the sole satisfaction.

The Cover: we always say don’t judge a book by its cover, in a metaphorical way. But when it comes to actually chosing books, we often forget about this saying. Who can honestly say that they have never been convinced to buy a book solely by its cover? Covers are the first thing readers will see in a book, and it could either create a hard-to-break charm, or turn them off instantly. Covers should not only be beautiful but fitting – why put the picture of a beautiful landscape on a book about nerds? This technique has popularly been in used in school textbooks. Face it, publishers. These books are horrible no matter how you dress them, and I won’t start studying physics because of the beautiful tulips on the cover. Still, it’s always better to read a book with beautiful tulips than one with a dull monochrome grey cover. Get where I’m going with this?

The Blurb: if you do live by that previous saying, then this is the main thing you consider when picking a book. Blurbs have to be captivating, and they should be the main aspect of the back cover. I do NOT want to know what that famous-writer-person thinks about that book or whether this tabloid magazine recommends it. There’s Goodreads for that. I also don’t want to know more about the author before I even read the book (save that for the last page) or how many other books (that I totally should read if I want to be a cool person!) he has written that got turned into Major Motion Pictures (in cinemas this November!). I only want to know what THIS story is about. That said, false blurbs are honestly just shameful. Why present your book as something it’s not, something it can’t live up to? Cheating your readers will only make them stop reading your books for good. Oh, and one more thing. If I ever read a blurb that includes ‘… That will change his/her/their life FOREVER’ again, I will throw the book in fire along with bazillion other YA books that have the EXACT SAME line in the blurb. Last thing… How annoying is the word ‘blurb’? Can’t we change it to something refreshing and sweet, like… Dash? I read the dash… (Still trying to think of other words). Wink? Winkie? Nah. Let’s stick with dash.

The Spine: this is not one of the most important features, but I still don’t like breakable spines. I will usually do a spine tests on some books to see if they’re bendable or not, and usually end up picking those who take the heat if I’m torn between two.

The Text: sometimes, the way a book is printed really affects buyers’ decisions. Just today while I was book-browsing, I was interested in a certain book. I opened it up, saw the tiny font, and put it back immediately. Seeing all this tiny writing in Times New Roman on a small page just makes my brain hurts and I immediately think ‘dictionnary’. (Hint: I don’t enjoy reading dictionnaries). The print should feel like a breeze, not an obstacle. How refreshing is it to open a book with a nice font, sized above 8? When I say that, John Green books come to mind. It may be one of the factors in their success!

The Price: let’s admit it. Who wouldn’t like all their books in first edition hardbacks signed by the author? We just can’t afford to buy books sometimes. I don’t know about you, but the price is an important factor in my chosing a book. Between two books I am interested in, I’ll most probably pick the least expensive. I still don’t know how books are priced and why some are more expensive than others, but if you’re gonna charge me 20$ for a book while I could get two others for the same price… I mean, the more books, the merrier!

After going through these tests, a book can finally call itself mine! (what an honour) Here’s how it’s applicable to the book I’ve bought most recently (today), which is Looking for Alaska by John Green:

» Just look at that cover! All black with a whisp of smoke, how cooler can it get?!

» As I’ve come used to with John’s books, the spine is unbreakable and the book is completely bendable. Well, let’s be honest, it’s a 200 page book, there aren’t even enough pages for the spine to break.

» The blurb actually isn’t its strongest aspect. For starters, it includes the much-loathed statement of ‘Nothing Will Ever Be The Same BooHoo’. AND it’s riddled with ‘praise’ from authors and magazines (I mean, isn’t it enough that the book starts with about 62 pages of praise and recommendation for all of John’s books?). I actually picked the book because all my friends who have read it loved it, even those who hated all of John’s other books (like, HATED hated). I liked them all, so I thought it couldn’t be bad!

» As I stated previously, John’s books have a characteristically breezy font. It’s just inviting and makes you want to keep reading. It could be mind control, but oh well.

» Last but not least, I mean it’s a 9.99$ book. Just like all the others from John. Between that and the heavily priced volumes I saw next to it, I just picked it up and went with it.

Yes, for me, book-picking is a whole ceremony by itself. I don’t accept just anything into my coveted family of novels. I have standards, just like every one of us. And I’m genuinely interested in knowing yours, so please let us know in the comments down below! 🙂

I want to thank Laura for letting me post on her fabulous blog, and of course thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post! Have an amazing day 😀

2 thoughts on “How I Pick Books

    1. I always try to do the same and open my books just as lightly as possible, but sometimes (especially when reading huge volumes) I just get frustrated and crack it. I always feel guilty afterwards. When a book opens all the way, I feel like I broke it (I’m talking to you, order of the phoenix) and don’t even allow myself to open it to its full extent! Ah books. Darned little creatures.


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