How do you choose a book to read?

If you are a voracious reader like me, there is no end to how many times you’ll get this asked by fellow readers, book lovers, and the likes.

Not exaggerating. Seriously! Not boasting either. Honestly!

I have no one way to answer this. But with the increasing number of times I am asked this; now that I am amidst some really fabulous book lovers on Instagram, I thought it was time I ought to put up a list of things one can consider while picking up their next book to read.

Before I delve into putting that list for you, I want to share,

Why is it important to choose the right book?

Time is Precious

As a reader, I am very finicky about what I invest my time in. I prefer reading a book over watching a show adapted from it. Making sure what I’ve signed myself up for something that will take more than 100 precious hours does make me feel pressured to make a right choice. Why? Because of course,

So many books, so little time.

Ruined Chances

We are always skeptical about those most-anticipated first-timers, aren’t we? The first kiss. The first job. The first book. Once that experience is ruined, we know what follows. So, if I pick a book by an author, and end up not liking it, possibilities are high that I won’t readily pick his or her next book. Well, because,

Once burnt, twice shy

Lasting Experiences

Now, this, is most important of all. We read to be lost and be rediscovered. Amidst this process, I do not want to be hung for eternity, in a world, I’d rather not be in.

Let me give you an example. I’ve realised romance is not the genre for me. Love-making scenes, desperate chasing and chasing-back attempts, cheesy characters make me cringe. So, I save myself the trouble from not cursing myself for having unwanted scenarios stuck in my head. That said, I may yet indulge in a ‘Wuthering Heights’ or ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ any given day. See the difference? After all,

Memories last forever, even if the plot won’t.ย 

Now that we’ve cleared out the mist around why it is important to choose that next book carefully, here’s,

How to choose the book to read?

Now these are things I follow. I can’t ensure these will work for you, but if they do, I’ll be a happy mouse. So here goes:

A little research goes a long way

Fellow readers find it strange when I tell them I always make sure to do a bit of research on the book before starting to read. I don’t understand how it is weird.

Researching on the book, its history, any trivia around it, opens up more layers of it for me to decide whether it will be to my liking or not. I’m not saying you will get a clear picture of what to expect, but you’ll be closer.

Research deeper into the book.

Know the author

Getting to know the brain behind the book works wonders, at times. I’ve tried that on a few occasions when I was not so sure of the book, and trust me it has always worked. My first encounter was with Jhumpa Lahiri and God knows, I have chased each and every one of her books, her interviews, and her social media pages.

I guess, once you know what the author’s style is, where they derive their inspiration from, their thinking process, the genre they explore, etc. it becomes easier to understand what their books may or not promise. It’s like when you’re using a black pen, you know what ink to expect on the paper. Makes sense?

Tour the writer’s brain.ย 

Understand the Genre

Now, as stupid as this may sound, but yes, it does go ignored, by the best of readers. Sometimes, we take the Goodreads listing of the book’s genre or a friend’s recommendation of it too seriously, and end up reading something we may never have, had we checked on the genre well.

What I intend to do is read through the reviews. Not just on Goodreads or Amazon, but also on the very many webzines available online. For instance, for me, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘First Post’ work all right.ย  These reviews help you get the right genre of a book. So you know that you will get served a creepy plate of horror because that’s exactly what you paid for.

Double-check the genre

Beware of the Hype-list

I am a person who tends to go the exact opposite of the lane hype-following readers prefer. You ask me why? Simply because I’ve had my fingers burnt too may times. I will not pick up a book based on hype alone, unless it has the meat to charm my senses.

Also, because, it is not necessary that you’ll love a book just because your friend did. I am also not totally ruling out that point. But if you are a hype-scarred reader like me, you will do better to stay away of the hype fever.

Hype may be the gold that does not glitter as much.

Finally,

Be different. Read different.

I am an adamant believer of what Murakami said, If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. I tend to sway away from popular titles, from preferred authors.

I am a reader who goes digging with a spade, for the underrated ones, the untouched titles shouting out from behind bookshelves, for the unfamed beauties of the literary world. For unless you try what the masses haven’t, how can you suggest differently?

Read not what everyone else has, but what others haven’t found yet.

I loved putting this list up, because I feel it will help a lot of readers in streamlining their reading choices. If you have any other great ideas on how must one pick a book to read, do share them in the comments below.

Go ahead, tell me what you liked and what you think doesn’t work for you. Let’s discuss books. ๐Ÿ™‚

~~~~~

Asha Seth

 

10 Replies to “How do you choose a book to read?”

  1. Hey I just came across your blogs well this is the first one i read and let me tell you I found it so Simple and deep I mean you wrote so beautifully and calmly right…
    It was really nice reading it and as m one of those readers who just need something extraordinary to read and in this process I really ignore some of the points you mentioned before selecting a story or book to read. But now I’ll make sure to keep them in mind before selecting a new book..

    Awesome…โœŒ

    Like

  2. This post is so me ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š I too have this curiosity of knowing more about my writer from reading their interviews to their inspiration behind their stories, helps to understand the writer in them. Also I agree with reading something different from others or exploring books on your own rather than following a blind TBR. Go to libraries and find some real fun books.

    Like

  3. When looking for a book to read, I tend to see what other bloggers have recommended but I also like to go to a second hand bookshop an hunt for obscure titles that will catch a readerโ€™s eye. I agree with the hyped books, I tend to leave them alone, as much as possible.

    Like

  4. I too don’t go by the hype. I’ve been burnt so many times. Now, I go with only recommendations from a few bloggers I trust whose tastes match mine.

    Like

  5. Loved this post Asha. I definitely agree that there is a lot of hype out there in the book community. I’ve caved into the hype before and although I did find a handful of books I enjoyed, most of the times the book did not live up to the hype. It’s a good reminder to read what WE want to read, rather than what everyone else is reading ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

โ€œI love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.โ€ โ€• James A. Michener

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