Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Draws You to a Book?

It's Labor Day weekend and perhaps you've got a bit of time to read. So, what draws you to a book? The premise? The buzz about it? The author or his/her previous work? The cover art, or art in general if it’s a picture book? Maybe the blurb or author endorsement, if there is one, ignites your interest. Or, maybe the story synopsis or the text on the book jacket grabs you. I sometimes consider what brings readers to books as I write, read, and shop for my next great novel (three of my favorite pastimes, by the way).

Right now I’m reading The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King. There is no question that the premise of this young adult novel hooked me. A contemporary American teenage girl is reincarnated from a famed female pirate. And get this, not only does she clearly recall her life as this seventeenth century buccaneer, but she also recalls each of the one hundred lives she led as a dog between dying as a pirate and being born human again (the dog lives are attributed to an unfortunate curse). Add to all of this that the modern teenager is intent on finding the treasure that she buried as a pirate. Well, of course! Now, tell me this premise doesn’t make you want to pick up this book. Seriously.

On the other hand, when I read the premise for The Hunger Games, a year ago, I wasn’t as enthused. But over the months, the buzz got to me. By the time I was halfway through this past summer, I had to read the book to see what all the fuss was about. And I loved this fast paced, exciting novel. So, hurray for the buzz which, apparently, can indeed be trusted.

In general, I’m pulled in by the text on the book jacket. Sure, the art is likely to grab my attention and might even entice me to pick up the book. The cover illustration for The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo, for example, instantly caught my eye. But artwork won’t make me want to read the book unless the jacket copy convinces me that the story is going to deliver.

So, enough about me. How about you? What pulls you to a book, makes it irresistible? And, by the way, dipping it in chocolate does not count.

1 comment:

  1. The cover art and title will make me pick it up - - then I flip through and read some passages to see if the voice catches me enough to want to read on.

    I also follow certain authors (like Kate DiCamillo -- can't wait for the release of her new one The Magicians Elephant in October...I've pre ordered that one because I can always count on her to deliver something I like and something I want my kids to read as well).

    And, a recommendation from a friend will also make me try a book.

    love the pic for this post.