Sometimes I hear things like, “I don’t know why I read that book,” or “I don’t know what possessed me to pick that book up.” I then wonder if people are just saying that, or if they really don’t understand these things. I scratch my head, because ninety nine percent of the time when I purchase or borrow a book I know that I will like it. How do I know these things? I am a book lover. I know what I like to read. What draws my attention to a particular book? Sometimes it’s the cover, and sometimes its word of mouth. Sometimes I open it up and read a few pages to get the feel for the writers writing style. So I’m wondering…what draws you to a particular book?
An author I follow recently blogged about something similar. She really didn’t talk about books covers, which I think is important, but she did talk about the importance of the first sentence of the book. I was completely thrown for a loop by this one. I honestly do not pay that close of attention to the very first sentence. I would hope that readers would give a book more than one sentence before tossing it to the wayside. I read many of the comments that were left and I think it was about 65% that said they would give a book more than one sentence. Phhew! It got me to review (and maybe adjust) my own books and works in progress.
I went through some of the novels I have at my house. I thought I would give you a few examples. You tell me if you would read them or not.
- · “Elly sensed something was wrong immediately, but since she was not a woman who lived by her instincts, she did nothing.”
- · “Hannah Willis was a second year law student at Virginia, and everything that lay ahead of her seemed bright and promising-except, of course, that she was about to die in these dark, gloomy, dismal woods.”
- · “Maddie drove the narrow, curvy highway with her past still nipping at her heels after fourteen hundred miles.”
- · “Alexis Smith rubbed her temples hoping that would stop the throbbing going on inside of her head.”
- · “Emma Sharpe steeled herself against the sights and sounds of her past and kept up with the nervous woman rushing ahead of her in the dense southern Maine fog.”
Well, what do you think? I threw in a couple of different genres there to give different perspectives. So let me ask…would you read any of these? (In case you are wondering one of those is from my book! Which one is it?)
I judge a book by more than the opening sentence. I hate to sound like a cliché but I sometimes judge a book by its cover. Usually if I like what I see on the front cover I turn it over and read the back cover. However it is I come to open that book and start reading I do give it a chance. At least a chapters worth!
How do you choose what books you read? Do you judge by the book’s cover? Or are you one of those first sentence and done people? (It’s okay if you are, we don’t judge here!) For what reason have you ever quit reading a book? Did you figure out which first sentence was mine? J