“Top Ten” Steps to My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly list-event hosted by the “Broke and the Bookish” blog, has as its theme for today “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book.”

In roughly ascending order:

Things that make me click the link/pick it up:

1. Good cover/Catchy title

A book might not be judged in its entirety by its cover (for instance, I’ve seen some gorgeous covers clothe some “meh” books) but there’s no denying an outstanding piece of artwork can make the casual web-surfer or library-stroller say, “Oo, I wonder what that’s about?”

The same applies to a great title: it’s that moment when you’re scrolling through Amazon, looking for inspiration, and just have to interrupt what you’re doing because Wish You Weren’t is so suggestive you just need to know what’s going on.

Conversely, I think we’ve all seen titles that we forgot even while we were still looking at the book…

Things that make me wish-list it:

2. Double lives/Secret societies

I don’t know what it is, but ever since writing Prince Hector in Sons of the King (*cough*) I’m intrigued by any kind of deep-cover agent, the man-who’s-more-than-he-seems, the Mission Impossible meets Call of Duty set-ups.

I wish I could find more of that.

Example: Not by Sight

3. Story Research

This encompasses a broad range of things, depending on what I’m working on, but if a work of fiction will double for story research somehow (poison, political intrigue, memory manipulation, zombies, whatever) that’s always fun!

Examples: The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha; Superheroes Aliens Robots Zombies; Book of Poisons

Image courtesy Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

4. Mysteries

If someone’s been murdered, that’s already a plus for me. I also love secrets, juicy back-stories, and complicated relationships (as long as the author can convince me the pay-off is worth hanging around for).

5. Heroic Men

I’m a man’s girl…er… Let’s just say I have very old-fashioned ideals.

Sweet, sensitive, bookish guys with glasses have their place (I’m Team Mac for Rose in Bloom, after all), but there’s something so right about having a powerful, protective, steady, noble, impressive leading man who does what needs to be done with a minimum of chit-chat and angst.

Image credit: youtube

Sort of like my hero in White Mesa Chronicles: Gladiator. No wonder he was so hard to write! 😳😉

Examples: Halo; StarCraft 2 (their relationship is “over,” but Jim’s still saving Sarah’s Zerg-mutated hide!); Behold the Dawn

Things that sell me:

6. Price

All other things being equal, I admit I’m a sucker for free. Ah, I’ve tossed many a download to the shiny allure of F-R-E-E or S-A-L-E.

Perhaps it’s just me.

I do have my standards, though. Even a price tag of $0 won’t convince me to click on any of those “shirtless-body-builder” covers.

Examples: In Between; Blott

7. Recommendation

I’m sure I share this with a lot of people, but there’s no denying word-of-mouth goes a long way.

And we’re not just talking positive online reviews, either. A million gushy teenie-boppers tossing starred-reviews like glitter won’t do as much for me as a reasoned, extensive, and clear-spoken recommendation from someone I know whose opinion and taste I trust.

Examples: Spy of Richmond; War in the Wasteland (brother’s Christmas present 2016!)

8. Known Author

G.A. Henty, master of a predictably satisfying formula adventure.

If I’ve already enjoyed their work, I’m that much more likely to put myself forward with the confidence that I’ll enjoy more of it – even if it’s a different genre, setting, etc.

Once again, I’m sure I’m not alone with this. To quote Russell Hoban’s Frances:

“When I have bread and jam, I always know what I’m getting, and I’m always pleased.”

And, of course, every once in a while you find an author whose taste and style so much coincides with yours you will pretty much pick up any book they’ve written with an assurance you will get something out of it.

Examples: Dorothy L. Sayers; Suzannah Rowntree; G.K. Chesterton; Columbo (TV show); E.B. White

9. Fathers

Any father figure. Any child. Any heroic rescue quest.

I recognize not all parent-child relationships are bright and rosy, but as long as they’re working toward resolution, I will follow to the ends of the earth to see what happens.

Girl healing her absent-daddy wound with a hot boyfriend? Pass.

Flawed dad pulling himself together because his precious princess needs him? Rock on, man!

Example: Ranger’s Apprentice; This Present Darkness

He’s smaller than I am. Really.

10. Brothers

If the main character’s motivation is to help/find/cure his brother, I’m pretty much there.

Extra bonus points if it’s a younger brother 😉

Example: Gemini Rue; Never


Kimia Wood has been writing stories since she was little, and watching her dad play computer games for even longer. She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by writing stories – because that’s more fun than gardening. (Join the mailing list for publication updates!)

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