Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Salon: Book attractions

My family thinks I will buy any book ever published. They think I am completely indiscriminate. My monthly book bills and my groaning shelves might bear out this observation (generally said in a pitying tone of voice and accompanied by a resigned head shake). I can't be trusted in book stores, racking up a triple digit bill in mere minutes. And my amazon wishlist is insanely out of control. But despite all evidence to the contrary, I do indeed have a modicum of restraint. Of course, there are certain things about books that severely test my restraint.

If a book has a boat or water on the cover, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book has a book or bookselves on the cover, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book is by an author I've read before and didn't totally loathe, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book has a quirky title, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book has a steamy bodice ripping cover, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book has a dog on the cover, I am guaranteed to pick it up (although I hate the general truth of my friend C.'s observation that if a dog appears on the cover, it will die before the end of the book and keep my fingers crossed that this will turn out to be false each and every time--Joe Coomer doesn't kill off the dog on A Pocketful of Names, just so you know why I continue to hold out hope even in the face of overwhelming odds).

If a book has something even vaguely Indian looking on the cover, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book has a photograph of a woman or women wearing stunning clothing, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book has a title referring to a body of water, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book has a cover that contains lots of shades of blue, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If the book subtitle says: A Memoir, I am guaranteed to pick it up.

If a book has food on the cover, I am guaranteed to pick it up (yes, you should see the obscene number of cookbooks I own).

I have to stop listing things because this could go on and on and on. And while the above list might seem to argue for my family's view of my reading, I might note that these guarantees don't mean that I will actually buy the book (although research shows that we are more inclined to buy something we have been compelled to touch first so odds are better than not that I will buy all of the above). Getting me to buy the book isn't necessarily a slam dunk but it really doesn't take too much arm twisting either. I have a friend in Ohio who used to love going to the bookstore with me and playing the "Let's get Kristen to buy books" game. She'd troll the tables and shelves and hand me things, chortling with glee when I added them to my stack. I don't know if she, being an artist and therefore visually observant, had my list of guarantees tucked away in her mind as she pulled for me, but it was an easy game for her to win and for my bank account to lose. So I guess, despite my claim to read ecelectically, I am in fact, terribly predictable. Or maybe my family is correct and I am just completely and totally indiscriminate. Nah...

This past week, some bookmarks stagnated in their books as others raced through different books. I traveled the world learning about the simple truths behind happiness, I avoided food because it was so loaded with the sorrow of the maker, I farmed and lost and told the tale of sorrow bound into my life and land, and I stayed at the home of an absent friend, looking back on my friendship with her and another. I am still working through the experience of a Korean picture bride to Hawaii, life with a mentally ill mother, the waning years of the British Raj, and a classic Dickens. Each day I dip into the flora and fauna around the Great Lakes and I am pleased to be leaving for said Great Lakes shortly.

This week I also created a page on Facebook for the blog. So if you are so inclined, head over to BookNAround on Facebook and hit the like button to have posts show up in your news feed. Because you certainly wouldn't want to miss any of my brilliant pearls of wisdom now would you?

So, what attracts you to a book like a bee to honey? And where have you been between the pages this week?


  1. I reserve most of my library books online, so the title and the synopsis lure me more than the cover. However, the books with the coolest covers are most likely to be the ones I carry along with me to read at the doctor's office.

    I used to think I had varied tastes when it came to reading but just recently I realized that I gravitate toward the same genres and plot devices over and over. I like "fish out of water" scenarios, especially ones where a modern person gets transported to the past. I like books that center around food, including cookbooks. I also like books based in the 1800s, especially pioneer dramas. Lastly, I have a soft spot for pulp novels written in the 1950s: ones with the lurid covers and tag lines like "She had a way with men -- a way of leading them to the grave!" as well as the super-sweet teen romances.

  2. LOL...that pretty much covers all the bases Kristen. I am a sucker for gorgeous eye catching covers as well; bodice ripping...not so much..LOL

  3. I too like books with anything remotely Indian on the cover! It is amazing how those covers can just draw us in!

  4. Water, boats, watery people! love all the YA with teen couples on the cover. "memoir" "My year of.. (fill in the blank".

    I'm not buying many books at all right now, mainly using the library, so I pick up anything at all, but for purchases I won't buy a bad cover even if the book looks great. I just can't make myself!


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