I’ve recently had a birthday and received a book voucher which, to a reader and writer, is a gift made in heaven. This was a voucher for a physical book store- I had to go in and choose some books- OMG- the bliss! The confusion! The indecision! What if I chose a book I didn’t like! What if my voucher was wasted? Should I go with tried and tested favourite authors or take a risk?
Having just been to two romance writers’ conference and brought back a haul of books I decided I would choose something from a different genre. The poor woman in the shop approached and tried to sell me at least a dozen books- none of which appealed- well, they all did in some way, but not enough to use my voucher (for the record, books in New Zealand are very expensive- I ended up buying two trade paperbacks at a cost of $37.99 each, which is about $31 US or 19 pounds…for paperbacks- ouch!)
In the end I plumped for JK Rowling’s new crime novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling which I chose because I was interested to see what she could do in another genre. And a book called The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons because of the blurb which went: ‘At thirty a woman has a directness in her eye. Juliet Montague did anyhow. She knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted to buy a refrigerator… But in a rash moment Juliet changes her mind and commissions a portrait of herself instead. She has been closeted by her conservative Jewish community for too long, ever since her husband disappeared. Now Juliet is ready to be seen.’
Something about that blurb intrigued me enough to choose it above all the others in the shop.
Lastly, I was at a book signing in Atlanta and had to be fairly mindful about weight of luggage, so I chose pretty carefully. As the books were free it was a great opportunity to find new authors without the financial risk. This book I picked purely because of the beautiful cover, The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee.
Choosing just two books was akin to visiting hell and heaven at the same time! But it got me thinking, how do other people choose books? What reels you in- blurb, the cover, the author, the brand?