I have been reading for longer than I can remember. I will read anything...books, papers, shampoo bottles...do you know how much information is actually on the plastic around new toilet paper? Oy!

At any rate, there was a time when I would just pick something up and read. I think we've all been there. I know a few people who still are. They will literally read whatever they pick up first. I have become much more selective. Perhaps it is maturity...hmmm...naaah! I think it is acquired taste.

I can't really pinpoint what makes me pick something, mostly if it sounds interesting. My question to you is, what makes you pick certain books? What are the criteria for selecting the next book that will take up hours of your life? Is it interest? Price?

I'd really like to know.

Karen Syed

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Comment by Kat on April 1, 2007 at 10:31am
Well I'm thinking the question is not what makes you pick up a book but what makes you buy and read a book. Whenever I'm in a bookstore I pick up, and then put down, a lot of books. Most of those are rejected because the blurbs or first few pages just don't reel me in.

Most of the books I do end up buying are either by authors I know and like or based upon recommendations and reviews of readers whose opinions I trust.

When I do decide to try a new author it is usually in paperback form first. Mistakes are less costly that way. But if I decide I like them and am adding them to my 'to read' list I invest in hardcopy versions of their works.
Comment by Jannie Balliett on April 1, 2007 at 5:21am
Oh, and price doesn't matter. The enjoyment of the read, the tricks I pick up that worked for that author, the getting to know a new author, is priceless.
Comment by Jannie Balliett on April 1, 2007 at 5:15am
Karen, I'm going to post my answer before reading the other posts, so not to change my gut reaction to your intriquing question.

I have a three-fold answer. I will pick up a recognized author I like, or one I want to get to know. I will pick up one because I like the cover and title. (that in itself is the most impressive) I will pick up one that someone recommended and I remembered when seeing it on the shelf.

Once I pick it up (based on the above) I read the blurb, the reviews, the fist page, and skim, flipping pages. If I like that authors voice and style, and love the plot, I'll buy it.

Comment by Karen from AustCrime on March 31, 2007 at 1:28pm
Suggestions by readers who's tastes I respect is probably the first trigger.

If I'm getting books to review then I try to pick things that I wouldn't normally read - I'm not sure I'm comfortable reviewing if I'm cherry picking the books I know are in my usual taste range.

Cover summaries and reading the first chapter in a bookshop - but what makes me pick up that book in the first place - probably the author's name will ring a positive bell from a discussion I've seen online somewhere. Unless it's a translation from another language, in which case I'm programmed somehow to find them before I'll go anywhere else. (I love other culture books).

A while ago 4MA instigated everyone posting a random paragraph plucked from a page of the current book you are reading - you have NO idea how intriguing that gets.

(I should also mention I'm carting around a "WANT" list of book recommendations that's currently well over 500 books long.... sigh :) )
Comment by Laura Benedict on March 31, 2007 at 10:37am
This is such a great question, Karen. Though it made me a little sad because, like so many of the folks here, I'm sure, almost all my reading time is research-oriented. On my bookstand now are the Marquis de Sade (ugh) and a peculiar little book called "Sexy Origins--the history of naughty things" or somesuch, and a book on witchcraft.

I find that I often go back to writers I already like when I need to read something to remind me how to write: Patricia Highsmith, Margaret Atwood, Richard Matheson. I bought "What Came Before He Shot Her" because I like the PBS Lynley series and had enjoyed a couple of the books--but as I now know, Elizabeth George made this one a completely different sort of book.

Reviewing, reading blogs and myspace has led me to some fun discoveries: Luanne Rice and Lisa Gardner, among them. My agent got an ARC of "What the Dead Know" from Laura Lippman's editor, and I loved it.

The last two books I picked up at the store for sheer pleasure were Patry Francis's "Liar's Diary" (myspace friend) and Joe Hill's "Heart-Shaped Box." Frankly, I picked up HSB because I knew long ago whose son he was and had been waiting to see what it would be like. Haven't had time to open either.

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