1. If it's recommended, consider the source and then more than likely read it right away.
A lot of my friends are big readers too, and I always like to know what great books they've recently finished and I take these recommendations very seriously. People don't usually recommend books that don't make you feel something or that just flat out suck. I've got a great group of friends, and none of them are anything like the next one, so this always makes for an interesting selection of books. From new age stuff to deep theology, and the current best seller to some trashy romance novel, my friends have read them all. And it's always nice to read something from a new or interesting perspective. Although I admit that I'm behind on this list of recommendations.
2. Judge the cover.
Yep. You read that right. I judge the cover of books. I'm part graphic designer, how could I not? If I don't like the design or if I think I could have made it better in an easy way, I don't read it. Or I look to see if there are other cover designs for it...thank you Amazon! Also, if a book was made into a movie and the actors are on the cover, that is not the one I pick. I like the original art better, although I did make an exception for my copy of The Help. And if it's an old book without the cover sleeve...even better! Nothing to judge if it's not there!
3. Feel it up.
This kind of goes along with the design in general but if I book is awkward to hold or just doesn't feel right, I'll look for it in a different form. I prefer books in soft covers simply because they are easier to hold and seem more comfortable. Packaging is important, people!
4. Read the first paragraph.
If you're not drawn in after that first paragraph, you're not going to want to continue reading the whole book. Authors kill themselves over that first paragraph, it's obviously one of the most important pieces.
5. Read the last sentence.
I'm serious. It gives you just enough of a juicy stopping point that you wonder what happened to lead up to that moment and it's just as important as that first paragraph...if not more. And if you end up getting the book, you'll more than likely forget what it said by the time you finish reading the book anyway. Since it's so short it's not like you are ruining the ending for yourself.
6. Turn to a page and read a random paragraph.
I stole this one from one of my favorite professors at Seton Hill who has actually recommended books to me that are now some of my favorites. He always picked page 58 (if I'm remembering correctly) but I've decided to pick the page with my age. So until July, every author better hope that their 24th page is a knockout. And again, it's not like you're giving anything away, reading a couple sentences from a random page isn't going to tell you everything about the characters or give up a major plot twist and you will more than likely forget what you've read once you get into it. But if you're hooked because of those few sentences, you'll more than likely be hooked through the whole book.
It's not science, but it helps. Especially if you're choosing between two random books you found at the library that you've never heard of - like me earlier this week, when all the books recommended to me were checked out at the library. How do you decide on what to read?
Book reviews previously posted: