How do you choose the books you read?

This question has been on my mind a bit lately. Especially since my friend, Lyn is about to have her first book published in 2015. I’ve been wondering how many people will read, rate and review the book, and what will draw them to pick it up in the first place.

So what makes you pick up a book to read? Do you always read from the same genre? Always go back to the same authors? Do you wait for recommendations from trusted friends? Or do you read what is popular on GoodReads? Or maybe you pick your books off the shelf at random?

For me, at the moment, I’m reading from an extensive pile of review copies I’ve been sent. Which is odd, because I’m usually pretty picky about what I read. Now days I’m reading whatever lands in my lap, which is awesome because I’ve found some hidden gems I wouldn’t have known existed otherwise.

How do you decide to read a book?

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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26 Responses to How do you choose the books you read?

  1. Laurie says:

    I first go to the genre, in my case sci/fi/fantasy and then it is all about the synopsis, very similar to the trailers for movies, it needs to grab me and intice me further.

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  2. Joseph Bird says:

    I used to read just about anything, but with time becoming more precious as my days become fewer, I’m more selective. I prefer literary novels, but I enjoy Stephen King and an occassinal Dean Koontz. I also listen to friends and family. And as I try to get my own work published, I’ve come to realize that there are probably a lot of great books out there by unknown authors that I’ll never know about. Is there a way to find these hidden gems? Maybe Jodie will spread the word on her discoveries.

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  3. folakemi says:

    I used to go by reviews so will real only best sellers as I know what to expect, then focus changed to reading less known non fiction writers which I have found really enjoyable. Lots of western classics I read were from sitcom references. The last book I read was by an author who I hadn’t heard of before but listening to his talk on TED I bought two of his earlier books. No set rule to what I read, I suppose as long as I find the plot interesting, I’ll give it a go

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  4. Bookgirl says:

    i buy books that have been recommended either by a friend or a good review. Shamefully I also buy a book because of its cover. You can’t beat a good cover design.

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  5. Lani says:

    Great question. Since I live overseas, in a non-English speaking country, books are passed along and shared. So I end up reading things folks give to me. When I lived in the States, I’d read a book based on its description (a good cover can help) and reading the first line or two of the book. I’m surprised by how many popular books have horrible blurbs…it makes me wonder how the book got read in the first place 😛

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  6. I like buying books from the authors in my writing clubs. I like superheroine/superhero books, since I am writing those types of stories myself. I like books with a funny slant, since I like to write funny. I like buying books from the authors who show present at our writing clubs (like The Martian by Andy Weir). I like buying books that others recommend.

    And I think that as for comic books, a lot of DC is getting grimmer than I like (I love The Flash TV show, but the current comic book, not so much). I love Harley Quinn, she is FUN!

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  7. Mike Mattice says:

    Since I have noticed most of the shelves in bookstores are filled with book series, I’ve been reading various series. I read the Twilight Saga (not so good), Hunger Games (very good), and I’m currently enjoying the 4th book in Dean Koontz’ Odd Thomas series.

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  8. This has been something that’s been on my mind a lot lately as my first novel (Empire of Dust) came out from DAW two days ago. With the reduction of book stores on the high street the opportunity to browse is much reduced. Many years ago I would discover new authors in the library and if I liked them, would buy everything that came out, but libraries are also much reduced and – besides – many of the authors I like now are not published in hardback, so are more difficult to find on library shelves. Goodreads has become a good source for me, and social media seems to be the new ‘word of mouth’. I’ve also been doing some blog-swaps with writer friends. Also I just had a post come out on Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/11/06/jacey-bedford-five-things-i-learned-writing-empire-of-dust/. I’d advise your friend – in advance of publication, to set up a blog tour if she can – and to prepare the posts well in advance, so she doesn’t find herself trying to write ten completely different blog pieces all in the same week! (Yeah, I really did!)

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  9. debb lavoie says:

    A good cover draws my eye but the content keep me reading. I review books so I read genres I might not otherwise read. Prior experience shows me what books I don’t like and I do follow favorite authors.

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  10. Nyambura says:

    I find that I always pick a book/s depending on what section I gravitate to while in a Bookshop. Once in the section, I kind of run my eyes through titles till a few grab my attention, then I read tit bits from the first chapters (only the first, for I feel I haven’t earned the right to read further on without making a purchase…weird…I KNOW! I still cringe when I see people turn the pages to the end of the book!!) of every one and pick out the best of the lot. It works every time. 🙂

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  11. Shari says:

    I try to stick with classic books from great authors from the early 1900’s, but of course, that varies. If I know an author is great from any time period, I want to read it. Even my daughter influences my selection when she plants a book on my stack by the bed. That’s why I’m reading the Maze Runner series right now.

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  12. Cassandra says:

    I read the ‘blurb’ on the back of the book (or rather the electronic equivalent). If the book is about something I like and seems to be good (to be extra sure, I check reviews too) I decide to buy it.

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  13. Abbie Taylor says:

    I read the book description beforehand. If the story sounds believable and doesn’t contain violence or a lot of love-making, it’s a good bet I’ll read it. I definitely don’t like mysteries, thrillers, or fantasy.

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  14. Dustin says:

    Great question, Jodie!

    Foe me, I rarely stick to the same author or genre, and I’m not sure what, exactly, causes me to choose one book over another. Sure, I naturally gravitate towards my favorite authors, such as Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and Richard Powers (amongst many others,) but more than anything I think following my instincts/desires is key. And timing is everything.:)

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  15. G Robert says:

    I’ll read just about anything if I think it will captivate me in some way. I started reading mysteries at a young age, particularly Sherlock Holmes by Doyle, Poirot by Christie and Ellery Queen. I gravitated toward sword and sorcery (Conan by REH) and then horror as I grew older (HP Lovecraft). Nowadays I most often read thrillers (Cussler, Baldacci, Child). I believe in reading from a lot of genres to keep things interesting.

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  16. Renae says:

    I hate to admit that I most often go back to the same authors over and over. Not that they aren’t good, but I know I’m missing good stuff. I’m hoping to develop better habits this winter. I have to start by reading more, period. I miss the days when I could go through multiple books a week.

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  17. Kayla says:

    I choose my books several different ways. Before I joined Goodreads I used to get recommendations from family and friends and from Amazon. lol. On Amazon I would check what’s trending or such, and then read the synopsis and if it sounds good and has more than 3.5 stars then, I’m more than likely getting it. I pretty much do the same with Goodreads but I find it to be more accurate in suggesting books I will like. I tend to read older books, that have already been reviewed and so I mostly go with that. However, every year I do try out at least 1 or 2 authors that are on their first novel, or trilogy. I do not read romance novels, nor non-fiction. I would read inspired by a true story though. I prefer thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, but I do read other genres. I try to be rounded.

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  18. Joseph Nebus says:

    Typically, I notice something along the way to picking up another book. The title or the cover or the subject catches my eye and then I discover that, oh, yes, this is interesting too.

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  19. Evan says:

    I keep a list in Evernote of books I hear about that I think I might be interested in. If I’m stuck for something to read I buy any one of the books on that list, randomly, on the assumption that if I put it on the list it must have interested me at some point.

    I also go through spurts where I work through the entire published works of a particular author, in publication order. Last year I did that with Thomas Hardy, and I’ve just done it was Kazuo Ishiguro. I’m about to start it with Carson McCullers. I find this is a cool way to get a complete sense of an author’s ideas, but obviously I’d only do this with someone whose work I like in the first place.

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  20. Sometimes I choose books by authors who have proven they can grab and hold my attention. But nearly as often, I choose books I have read about or those with catchy titles and covers. Those are fun ways to discover new authors.

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  21. Goodreads has been a great resource for me in discovering new books to read. Other than that, I usually discover new books through word of mouth or favorite authors 🙂

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  22. I have a lot of review copies I am trying to get through at the moment. I will always try and read review copies first over books I buy. Other than that I just look at my shelf and see what I feel like reading and go for it.

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