I feel as though it’s tempting fate to say this, but the weather in England has been uncharacteristically bright for the past few weeks. It’s still cold, yes, but there’s been a surprising lack of rain: although April is supposed to bring showers, it’s instead […]
I found it really hard to think of ten things to put on this week’s list, because I haven’t done anything that outrageous in the name of books. I just about managed to scrabble a list together… Then I completely forgot to write it up […]
It’s been hard to narrow this list down to just ten, because there are so many different reasons I choose to read a book. I’ve had a lot of fun trying to pick which are my top ten reasons, though – I hope you enjoy this list as much as I liked making it!
10) View potential
Okay, so this is a totally self-absorbed reason, but sometimes I do choose to read a book based off of how successful I think a review post about it could be. I’d be surprised if other bloggers didn’t feel the same – isn’t that one of the reasons that we sign up for blog tours and read and review books by majorly hyped authors?
9) Proof design
This reason is quite shallow – almost as shallow as judging a book by its cover (which is coming later on in this list, don’t you worry!) – but if a book has an intriguing proof design I’m far more likely to remember people talking about it when it’s eventually released. Some of my favourite proof designs that I’ve received include The Last by Hanna Jameson (which features a mobile phone covered in emergency alerts, introducing the story) and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (blue sprayed edges <3). When I’m thinking of books which I’ve reviewed to recommend, they stick at the forefront of my mind because of their memorable designs.
8) Intriguing titles
I’m a huge fan of book titles that make books sound like they’re going to be about something completely different. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, The Last Leaves Falling by Fox Benwell… All of these are books that I might not have picked up if they hadn’t had such interesting titles, but surprisingly enough they aren’t informative books about fruit, trees or the various aromas of living rooms across the world.
I love a bargain. If there’s a book I’m not too sure about reading and it’s on sale on Kindle or I find it in a charity shop, I suddenly can’t resist throwing it in my basket (even if I haven’t gotten around to reading most of the books I own for this exact reason!).
6) Enthusiastic bloggers
If a blogger I like recommends an author or book, I’m more likely to trust their opinion than I am that of a professional reviewer. I recently bought my first ever Abi Elphinstone book just because of how highly she’s recommended by Aimee over on Twitter, and it’s impossible to resist reading Melinda Salisbury or Maz Evans if you go anywhere near Steph’s blog. I’m also willing to try anything that’s loved by Amy at Golden Books Girl – we have almost identical reading tastes, so if she rates a book highly I’m sure it’s going to knock my socks off!
I’ve had to put length in the middle of this post, because it’s not the most important thing I consider when picking up a book but it really does bias me against certain releases. I’m terrified of huge books – A Game of Thrones, The Priory of the Orange Tree and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy are some off of the top of my head – and if a book is too long then I’m sure to avoid reading it. However, I don’t automatically turn towards shorter releases (unless I’m trying to catch up on my Goodreads challenge #sneaky).
As soon as I love a book by an author, they become an autobuy author. This is one of the reasons that I love reading debut authors so much: Sara Barnard, Lisa Williamson, Melinda Salisbury, Kathleen Glasgow, Marieke Nijkamp, Laura Steven… The list is practically endless, but they’re all authors who blew me away with their debuts and whose releases I eagerly anticipate.
Hype is a contradictory one. As soon as a book is hyped I buy it instantly – Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – but it takes me YEARS to actually get around to reading them because I’m so certain that they aren’t going to live up to my expectations. It’s definitely one of the primary reasons that I buy books, but it’s the furthest down the list when it comes to actually making me read the book.
The only thing that’s surprising about me putting covers as a reason I pick up books is that it’s not the highest thing on my list. I am so biased towards beautiful books. If I pick up a book with a boring cover and I love it I find myself getting so surprised, and if a gorgeous book disappoints me it feels like the end of the world!
1) New releases on Borrowbox
I only started using Borrowbox last year, but it is ADDICTIVE. Every week I check the new releases in the young adult and children’s genres and I find myself inundated with brand new titles, some of which I haven’t even heard of! It’s awful, because it means I’ve stopped prioritising all of the NetGalley books which I have to review, but I’ve also found some absolute gems so I’m going to continue doing it (until I run out of new releases, which will literally never happen).
I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday post! What’s the one thing that makes you instantly grab a book off of the shelf?
I was extremely excited to see Monsters by Sharon Dogar on NetGalley, because I’ve been obsessed with Mary Shelley’s life since studying Frankenstein at university in 2017. Expecting a novelisation of her earlier years to bring to life all of the people I’ve studied so closely, I thought this was bound to be one of my top reads of 2019.
Unfortunately, Monsters was an absolute struggle. I knew as soon as I read the first chapter that it was going to be hard – it’s written in the present tense, which is an unusual choice and doesn’t lend itself well to storytelling – but it was like pulling teeth. I’m a fast reader, and it took me almost three weeks of constant reading to get through this story.
Yes, it’s important to focus on the fact that Mary Shelley’s father, William Godwin, completely disowned her when she decided to run away with Percy Bysshe Shelley. It’s also important that they were riddled with debt and had to flee locations across the continent when they couldn’t afford to pay the landlords. But the majority of the book is wholly centred on their monetary struggles, leaving the suicides of both Fanny and Harriet to happen in the last five percent (and for the deaths of two of Mary and Percy’s children, and the death of Percy himself, to happen in the afterword).
However, I do applaud Sharon Dogar for choosing the version of events she feels most likely to have happened and committing to it. A lot of authors would have written the romance between Bysshe and Claire far more subtly, as evidence of their suspected passion has been almost completely destroyed due to the removal of pages from Mary’s journal. It’s a brave move to make the events seem far more clear-cut, although it’s important to take it with a pinch of salt because there is no proof that Dogar’s version of their story is true.
If you’re interested in Mary Shelley but are planning on learning about her by reading Monsters because it isn’t non-fiction, I would highly recommend Charlotte Gordon’s Romantic Outlaws. Yes, it’s a non-fiction book, but it’s told in a narrative style that makes it more gripping than most stories (and 100% more engaging than Monsters). It also tells the story of Mary’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, by running their lives parallel to each other, comparing and contrasting the events that they get up to.
“I’m not just happy, Eff, I’m Happy Girl Lucky. People have always said that’s what I am, but I’ve never really understood the expression before… because why can’t boys be it too? But now it truly capsules me perfectly.” Happy Girl Lucky introduces us to […]
I’m forever getting to the end of a standalone and craving a sequel, so it feels like this week’s topic was made with me in mind. It’s been difficult to pick just ten books, because I can remember thinking this about so many of the standalones I’ve read (but luckily some have had sequels announced since I’ve finished them, so I’ve got my way!).
10) Clean by Juno Dawson
I’m putting Clean at tenth because I’m not quite sure how a sequel would work. I want to read more about Lexi because she’s a brilliant character, but it doesn’t feel like a story that could ever really have a follow-up. Hopefully Lexi will pop up in more of Juno Dawson’s work in the future, even if it’s just a little cameo.
9) Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Another book which I don’t think could even have a sequel, but I love Charlie so much and didn’t want this book to end. I would happily settle for a short story set in ten years time showing us how Charlie has been getting on!
8) The Burning by Laura Bates
I only read The Burning a couple of weeks ago, but I found myself disappointed that Laura Bates didn’t use the opportunity to get Anna more involved in feminism and campaigning. Hopefully it’ll get a sequel which will show Anna doing some good, because that would redeem the first book!
7) Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Good Omens has been on my mind a lot recently, because the trailer for the TV show has just been released. Unfortunately there’s never going to be a sequel, as Terry Pratchett passed away four years ago today and Neil Gaiman has instead incorporated their ideas for the sequel into the TV show. RIP Sir Terry.
6) Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Emergency Contact tells the story of how Penny and Sam meet and get together, but I’m looking for a sequel that follows these two through the ups and downs of their relationship. Will Lorraine come back and get in the way? What will happen when Penny graduates? I gots ta know!
5) How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss
How Not To Disappear is one of my favourite books of all time. I finished reading it during a shift at the library and ended up crying for like half an hour, so I would love to be able to revisit these characters a few years down the line and see how they’re all doing.
4) Vote For Effie by Laura Wood
I can’t stop talking about Vote For Effie! I reviewed it on Sunday, and the whole time I was writing the review I found myself wondering whether we would be seeing more of Effie Kostas in the future. Will her and Aaron Davis find themselves battling it out for a place on the senior school council too?
3) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I don’t think The Perks of Being a Wallflower is likely to get a sequel, because it’s taken Stephen Chbosky twenty years to even write a second novel. However, I would love to revisit Charlie and see how he’s getting on. The Perks of Being a Wallflower perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to be a teenager, so it would be great to see Chbosky tackle Charlie’s college life and adult years.
2) All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor
Four teenagers befriend their favourite author, who exploits them for material she can use in her next book. I purposefully made my review spoiler free and extremely vague, so I’ll be honest and say that I can’t really remember what happened? But I can remember being so invested in it that I read it in one sitting, and if that doesn’t make me want to read a sequel and revisit the characters then nothing will.
1) Whiteout by Gabriel Dylan
This might seem like an odd one to feature, because the only thing I didn’t like about Whiteout was the epilogue which seemed to suggest there was going to be a sequel. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want a sequel! I just think it would have had far more of an impact if it had been left seeming completely resolved, because it would have made it more intriguing to pick up a sequel not knowing how this story manages to carry on.
That’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Do you want any of these books to have sequels, or is there another standalone that you’d choose?
Effie Kostas is new at school and she’s struggling to fit in. She’s intelligent and confident, but she feels basically invisible until she gets into an argument with Aaron Davis – Student Council President – when he abuses his lunch pass privilege to buy the […]