How do you pick your books????

(63 Posts)
MrFranklyShankly Fri 01-Nov-13 12:43:57

Hi folks,

Just wondering how some of you pick books, is it by finding ones that are related to a certain theme you like, the front cover! Or recommendations?? I have picked a few by front cover recently as reading the back for a description sometimes can put me off what can be an otherwise good book, so got 'every last one' & 'before I go to sleep' this way and they were really good but then I got a crap one so I've scrapped this method of selection!!!! Recommendations here are always really just curious as to how everyone else picks theirs????


JeanSeberg Fri 01-Nov-13 13:43:23

I like to have a browse in Waterstones then reserve them on-line in the library.

MrFranklyShankly Fri 01-Nov-13 14:23:52

Good idea jean, might start doing that.

JeanSeberg Fri 01-Nov-13 14:25:15

And best thing is it's free!

(Love your user name by the way.)

TheWanderingUterus Fri 01-Nov-13 14:26:25

I went to the library and tried lots of different genres, stood in front of a section and picked two books that appealed and two that I wasn't sure about. Read a lot of crap books so instituted the fifty/hundred page rule, if I was struggling to care after fifty pages I gave up. I discovered lots of gems though and I used the Amazon 'people who bought this, also bought' section to find similar books to the ones I loved.

I haven't liked any modern fiction I have tried, but zombie novels, post apocalyptic fiction, romantic fantasy and books about madness turned out to be my favourite genres.

waycat Fri 01-Nov-13 16:03:35

I like to read the first few paragraphs of a book - I can generally get a good idea of whether I'll like it from doing this, although it doesn't always work and I've ended up giving up on some books that I've selected using this method.

I also flick through and look at how the chapters are structured. For example, if the book seems to alternate alot between different time zones, or if the story is told in the first person and that first person keeps chopping and changing, then I know I shall have trouble keeping track of the story line. I found that with Khaled Hosseini's latest, but I did actually finish it at the second try.

Of course, recommendations from friends are always a good way. I also look at my Amazon page, because they will draw your attention to books similar to those you've previously bought. Armed with this information, I then head to the library and borrow for free!

Lunaballoon Fri 01-Nov-13 16:11:16

The last few books I've read have all been MN recommendations, some that I've sought (historical fiction) and others simply because of glowing posts by others. I have to say I've loved every one of them and have been introduced to writers that I probably would never have chosen myself!

MrFranklyShankly Sat 02-Nov-13 02:46:22

Cheers jean, it's from my fave smiths song, only backwards!!! Loving the idea of utilising my free library, by using recommendations from here or elsewhere.

Waycat I'm a big khaled hossines fan, the kite flyer is one of my all time fave, and liking the recommendations from amazons pages...keep the ideas coming ;-)

Louise1956 Sat 02-Nov-13 05:36:40

I browse around bookshops and on amazon, hoping to find something that will interest me.

17leftfeet Sat 02-Nov-13 05:50:34

My dad is working his way through the library in alphabetical order of the author

The only thing he won't read is anything occult

He's up to C grin

JeanSeberg Sat 02-Nov-13 08:06:24

MrFrankly Have you read the Reluctant Fundamentalist?

Cherrypi Sat 02-Nov-13 08:14:27

Recommendations from newspapers, twitter, goodreads, mumsnet. Read the free sample on my kindle. If I like it add it to my wish list and buy when it's cheap or get it when I see it in the library.

DuchessofMalfi Sat 02-Nov-13 08:38:43

What Cherrypi says smile

MrFranklyShankly Sat 02-Nov-13 09:16:56

Yeah cherrypi, I do that as well, forgot to mention that, the free sample is great on the kindle, although sometimes I love the first few chapters only to find a book boring or off putting in the middle! I was I love with a book called the glasshopper up until the middle of the book and then totally abandoned it!

:-) at 17leftfeets dad!

Yeah browsing on amazon is a good tip.

Tell me more jean, haven't heard of it????

CoteDAzur Sat 02-Nov-13 09:51:09

Avoid books aimed at women, written by most women authors, with pink/pastel covers and fluffy fonts.

Avoid books called "life-affirming", "warm", or said to make the reader cry.

Avoid Bestsellers and books everyone talks about like 50 Shades Of Grey.

Take recommendations from like-minded people in RL & on MN.

Check out Amazon's Kindle deal every day.

And when I like a book, I usually read every book by that author.

JeanSeberg Sat 02-Nov-13 11:03:05

There's also Morrissey's autobiography of course!

hackmum Sat 02-Nov-13 11:18:44

I have particular authors I like, and always look out for when they've got a new book out.

I also look at the review sections of newspapers (particularly Guardian and Observer). I often buy prize-winners, and will often read some or all of the books on a shortlist. I occasionally go on recommendations from friends or places like Mumsnet.

MrFranklyShankly Sat 02-Nov-13 12:40:44

Oh that looks good jean, have you read it??? Could be my next purchase! have read moz's book, a great art of saying very little over 400 or so pages, and saying it beautifully of course, as he does, but I think I prefer him cloaked in a bit of mystery!

Totally agree cotes, avoid any of the candy looking stuff, although my mil knows I love my books and insists on buying that sort of thing to me every birthday and Xmas!

Yeah hackmum I was doing that as well, reading everything by authors I liked, but sometimes they all began to blend into the one book, so have stooped it!i read gone girl recently and was tempted to read a few more of that author but they sounded a bit the same (and i thought gone girl was a bit tedious after a few chapters!)

JeanSeberg Sat 02-Nov-13 12:49:06

Sorry, but I feel the need to talk about flatulent pains in the arse. Great name. smile

GoodReads can sometimes be good for recommendations. Otherwise, I tend to just go to the library and browse. I'm reading more and more non-fiction, and tend to pick certain 'topics' for those.

For fiction, I tend to look for writers I've liked before, or occasionally pick according to the cover/blurb. And if I don't like something by 30 pages in, I don't bother. This is why I use the library for fiction!

So much modern fiction is just awful...I must speak frankly! wink

bishbashboosh Sat 02-Nov-13 20:26:50

I have a kindle and go on every dAy to get the daily deal at 99p and buy them, then whatever tickles my fancy. I have about 300 downloaded at the minuteshock

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 20:31:09

Recommendation on threads discussing the genre I like on MN.

Looking on Amazon and checking out the customer ratings on other suggested books.

I only read post apocalyptic/zombie fiction though.

I am more adventurous with non-fiction (of which i read a lot more) and often search on ebay under my particular interest.

TheOneAndOnlyAlpha Sat 02-Nov-13 20:34:15

I joined a book group. I've read so many good books I would never have picked up. Plus I love the library and have a look at the returns trolley.

TheOneAndOnlyAlpha Sat 02-Nov-13 20:35:27

verysmallsqueak have you read 'Z for Zachariah' or 'The Last Children'?

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 20:38:16

Z for zachariah,yes (excellent book)

The last children,no (so I'm scribbling a note to look it up as we speak grin )


asandwichshort Sat 02-Nov-13 20:54:10

I use Put in an author's name you've found that you like and a springy map appears with names of authors who write similar types of books! S'easy - the nearer the names appear to your chosen author (which will be in the centre!) the more like THAT author they will be! Sort of if you like this one, here's others you would like!! Its very entertaining I don't get out much though! blush I have found some good books though!!!

TheOneAndOnlyAlpha Sat 02-Nov-13 21:02:56

*verysmallsqueak' it is deeply disturbing btw. Proper post-nuclear war horror.

HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs Sat 02-Nov-13 21:10:30

Sometimes by the cover... A sandy coloured cover is a good sign!
And sometimes I have a browse in Waterstones and pick one 'safe' choice and one 'wildcard' when they have buy one/get one half price.

So which sandy coloured books would you recommend? smile

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 21:30:25

I do find the nuclear ones chilling TheOneAndOnly.

I think that's got to have some proper scientific basis HomeIs. grin

My copies of The death of Grass and Day of the triffids have sandy coloured spines and they're two of the best books I've ever read.

smile I like Triffids but didn't think much to The Death of Grass.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 21:34:34

I thought the death of grass was 'delightfully' of its time Remus.

We always have a slightly differing view on these threads! Tbh I think I'm quite easily pleased - so long as there's a bit of mayhem and breakdown of the fabric of society,I'm a happy bunny grin

smile I'm v v v fussy, but mayhem and the breakdown of society are good, providing the writing is half decent. And I like a bit of plausibility with my mayhem too, which is where D of Grass fell down a bit imo.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 21:45:34

Falls down with a lot of post-apocalyptic stuff really,unfortunately.

Which is why I disable my bullshit detectors and just go along with it for the blood and guts ride. grin

See, I don't think it does. The Stand - entirely plausible. Even World War Z. Even Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. smile

But I just couldn't believe in the whole 'middle class people start to rape and murder within 2 hours of finding out the world is dying' thing.

MacaYoniandCheese Sat 02-Nov-13 21:51:57

GoodReads is really helpful for this. Look up things you've read and enjoyed and you'll see links to lists that include similar picks, other items in that genre etc.

CoteDAzur Sat 02-Nov-13 21:59:25

"I just couldn't believe in the whole 'middle class people start to rape and murder within 2 hours of finding out the world is dying' thing."

People acting like savages when law and order collapses has a long record & tradition in RL & literature. See ex-Yugoslavian neighbours quickly getting around to raping and murdering each other, for example.

As I told you before, I found the opposite take in On The Beach laughably unrealistic - grown adults debating whether they can start fishing season a month early this year, knowing full well that they will all die in a few months, talking about some marriage in the future as if it's ever going to happen, etc hmm

CoteDAzur Sat 02-Nov-13 22:01:10

Has anyone here read Asimov's Nightfall? Pre & Post-apocalyptic, with very interesting ideas.

I know, Cote - but it just didn't work for me. I do understand your problem with, 'On The Beach' too, but I just enjoyed it more as a story than 'Grass.' 'Grass' had an uncomfortable mix of 'of its time' prissiness and attempt at shocking modernity which didn't sit right for me.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 22:12:03

I have to say that I agree with Cote as far as The Beach is concerned.

I enjoyed it but had a harder time with it because they were all so damn stiff upper lip and civilized.

Roughly what is Nightfall about (without spoiling it) Cote?
Is it sci-fi-y?

CoteDAzur Sat 02-Nov-13 22:20:57

Yes, Nightfall is sci-fi-y (isn't all post-apoc?) and talks about a world illuminated by several stars so they have no night. They have a holy book that talks about darkness and bright dots in the sky in that darkness. And they are excavating ruins of an ancient city that shows recurring charred layers. I can't say why it is apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic without giving away more smile

Disclaimer - I read it several decades ago, so don't hate me too much if you find the writing lacking. The story is a good one, though.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 22:25:43

That sounds interesting - I normally steer clear of sci-fi-y ones (I don't do aliens.Aliens are silly.Zombies aren't confused ),but that sounds more woo than alien.

I'm talking crap now,aren't I? I know what I mean though!

CoteDAzur Sat 02-Nov-13 22:31:52

The only zombie book I read is World War Z (which I quite liked) so can't help you much there, I'm afraid.

Tbh most zombie books are horribly badly written imho - WWZ is one of the better ones.

I WISH somebody would write some good ones though.

CoteDAzur Sat 02-Nov-13 22:33:57

Btw, sci-fi of the last 20 years is mostly not about aliens but about the near future of planet Earth re where technology is going etc.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 02-Nov-13 22:38:41

Perhaps I need to broaden my horizons to try sci fi then,since I've read most zombie books....

I did love Last light by Alex Scarrow.That and the one after it (which name I always forget but poss. After light). Especially the first one was one of the most thought provoking books I've read - and horribly seemed quite realistically possible too.

MegBusset Sat 02-Nov-13 22:47:00

I tend to work through themes too, esp with non-fiction. Last year I went through a big colonial history phase, this year it's been exploration (mainly polar and mountaineering). Amazon's quite good at suggesting related books.

Fiction is trickier, I loathe most modern fiction including 'book club' books. Have had a few recommendations from here but mostly I work through 'classics' that I haven't read yet, mixed with a few reliably good authors (eg Hilary Mantel).

Meg - polar and mountaineering books here too! smile

CoteDAzur Sat 02-Nov-13 22:51:47

I've gone through quite a few running books if anyone is interested in recommendations.

asandwichshort Sat 02-Nov-13 22:56:24

I must say that using has broadened my horizons (see my previous post above) I read lee child (my fav at moment) although the jack reacher film starring tom cruise can not and will never in my imagination live up to the book character , karen rose, karin slaughter ( after a grounding of steven king, jeffrey deaver, james patterson, tess gerritsen etc ) and now have diverged onto darynda jones and paul wilson. I USED to just judge a book by its cover! But now i use the above website and check them out and then order from my local library website at 35p per book! I still go to the works and try to get 3 for a fiver though! and then get to the airport and buy 1 get 1 half price AND then when I get to the hotel I check the book swap area to see if there is anything good-- I'm sad aren't I? (too much time on my hands - not really - do anything but housework more like!!)

MegBusset Sat 02-Nov-13 22:56:37

Ah yes Remus I remember talking about TWJITW on the '50 books' thread smile

I've just finished Maurice Herzog's 'Annapurna' and currently reading 'Into The Wild' by Jon Krakauer (having loved 'Into Thin Air'), all highly recommended, let me know if you have any other suggestions!

eatwotsits Sun 03-Nov-13 07:01:56

I read the blurb, and then read the first few pages. If I like it, I buy it. It doesn't matter who it is written by. Oh, I also tend to avoid free kindle books (unless they are free as some sort of temporary promotion) and 99p books like the PLAGUE. I am an avid, lifelong reader and my kindle ended up totally stuffed with what I can only describe as UNK. Oh yes...I know there are a few decent books at that price out there, but in my woefully terrible experiences, I figure 7 quid is better spent on one halfdecent book than 7 unreadable piles of crap. Goodreads is good for discovering unknown authors and entering competitions, I rfecently won a novel called The Medea Complex which, I believe, has JUST been released on amazon. Its about a mother set in Victorian England, who wake up to find she has been put into an insane asylum. Its freaking awesome!

eatwotsits Sun 03-Nov-13 07:03:10

My other fave book is The Help. LOVE, love, LOVE that book (and the movie was great too!)

VerySmallSqueak Sun 03-Nov-13 11:13:31

Ooooo!! I love mountaineering books too!

All time fave has to be "Touching the void" - I have several Joe Simpson books.All good!

I went to a talk he did years ago - I used to hang in the rock climbing scene a bit (obviously at an entirely different level to him).Never been ice climbing or mountaineering so it holds a real fascination!

I recommend:
"The Death zone" by Matt Dickinson
"Fragile Edge" by Maria Coffey
"Where the mountain casts it's shadows" by Maria Coffey
"The flame of adventure" by Simon Yates
"Soldiers and sherpas" by Brummie Stokes,and
"A Hard days summer" by Alison Hargreaves.

MrFranklyShankly Sun 03-Nov-13 21:06:09

Thanks Remus if and when I resign from my job (just waiting for the lotto numbers to turn up!!!) gonna use the lyrics as my resignation letter ;-)) as it does certainly 'coreode my soul'!!!!! Yeah I agree a lot of modern fiction is awful stuff altogether, when I say this to friends they say I'm a book snob! I'm finding the free sample good on kindle.

Wow loads of great recommendations, might give one of the post apocalyptic/zombie fiction a try although I have it in my head I won't like it, what's a good one to start with??? Wish I had a book club to join but don't know of any

MrFranklyShankly Sun 03-Nov-13 21:07:59

Touching the void and the help I have read and loved both

VerySmallSqueak Sun 03-Nov-13 21:35:54

The 'classic' zombie book to start with has to be World War Z.

Post apocalyptic 'classic' has to be 'The Road' (but be warned - steel yourself!)

Post apocalyptic classic would be, 'The Stand' imho.

I liked, 'Touching the Void' and his other one. Mainly like my mountaineering to be historical though.

MrFranklyShankly Sun 03-Nov-13 21:59:52

Mmmm will check them out, love trying new ones that are completely different to the usual.......

Eatwotsits I was looking on kindle for the Medea complex, got the first few chapters free, and have now purchased it, it has me hooked already! Seems right up my street (not that I like quoting Cheryl cole!!!) I'm off back to it now ;-))

MrFranklyShankly Sun 03-Nov-13 22:04:01

That's a really good link Remus by the way cheers for that :-)


Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now