Thursday, August 3, 2017

How I Choose My Books (Book Tag)

book tag

I came across this thought-provoking book tag on Adventures of a Bibliophile. It was originally posted at Thrice Read. Let me know if you decide to play along too; I'd love to read your answers!

Find a book on your shelves with a blue cover. What made you pick up that book in the first place?
"Something Blue" by Emily Giffin. I actually rescued it, and a few others, from a neighbor's trash many, many years ago. At the time, I had never heard of Emily Giffin, and I didn't realize it was the second book in the series when I read it. But I guess this shows I have a soft spot for books about to meet their deaths... I've rescued a few over the years. And now Emily Giffin is one of my auto-read authors!

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy but did. Why did you read it in the first place?
Pretty much any YA book I've read and actually liked the past couple years fits into this category. I was never into YA before I started blogging, but then I'd see the same books raved about over and over and feel like I should give them a try -- and I almost always ended up disappointed. Either they were just-ok, or they were awful. So now I'm very picky about YA books and I pretty much always go in expecting to hate them; when I do come across one I really like, it's such a pleasant surprise!

Examples from the past couple years: "The Book Thief" by Marcus Zuzak, "I'll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson," "A Monster Calls" by Patrick Ness (which I had to read for the library's book club), "Carve the Mark" by Veronica Roth.

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book?
"The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." I'd heard a lot about this book -- an Oprah pick that has a dog on the cover -- before picking up a rather battered secondhand copy for 50 cents years ago. Still haven't gotten around to reading it, though!

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?
A hidden gem called "The Dud Avocado" by Elaine Dundy, which chronicles the adventures of a young American expat in Paris in the 1950s. It's a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story filled with charm, humor and life lessons. I loved it! It was recommended to me by a co-worker (a huge Francophile) and I just had to read it -- I mean, it has "avocado" in the name! (And yes, there is a meaning behind the quirky title.)

Pick a book you discovered through book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?
"Red Rising" by Pierce Brown. This book was all over the end-of-year best-of lists for 2014. I had hardly read any science fiction at that point and wasn't really interested, but after seeing it on list after list I figured I had better see what the fuss was all about. And I'm SO glad I did -- it's quite possibly my favorite series!

A few other good books I'd never have read if not for blogs and bookish social media: "The Fifth Season" by N.K. Jemisin, "The Royal We" by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik, "You" by Caroline Kepnes, the Saga graphic novel series... the list goes on and on. (Of course, re: my YA answer above, there are also a lot of books I only picked up because of blogger raves that I regretted wasting precious reading time on.)

Find a book on your shelves with a one word title. What drew you to this book?
From my metaphorical Goodreads shelves: "NOS4A2" by Joe Hill. Something about the cover of the book -- the bloody license plate -- intrigued me, plus I knew it was a horror book somehow tied to Christmas, and I'd had this book on my to-read list for a while. I finally read it right around the time Hill's newest book, "The Fireman" was released; I guess the buzz reinvigorated my desire to read Joe Hill. And then one book later I blew through "The Fireman"!

What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?
Hmm... I'm pretty unlikely to go back and read a book after seeing the show or movie, though there are a few exception. I'd really like to read the books the Masterpiece shows "Poldark" and "Grantchester" are based on, which I never would've discovered otherwise, and I want to read the Game of Thrones books as well (though those were already on my to-read list before the show came on).

More often, I see that a movie or show is coming out and it motivates me to read the book beforehand. Most recently I read "The Lost City of Z" by David Grann, though I haven't seen the movie yet. And I'd like to read "Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie before the new movie comes out in November.

Think of your all-time favorite books. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?
My all-time favorite books are probably the Harry Potter series, which I started reading my sophomore year of high school when a neighbor suggested I borrow the first three books. To be honest, I think I was a little reluctant to take them -- I mean, they were kid books! What a mistake that would've been. I'm sure I would have discovered Harry eventually on my own, but I'm so glad I got into the series when I did because I got to experience four book release days!

More recent favorites have been found through a combination of happenstance (the cover catches my eye when I'm tidying at work, etc.) and, mostly, through blogs, Instagram, Goodreads, even NetGalley, as well as chatting with co-workers at the library.


  1. Definitely read Murder on the Orient Express! It's one of Christie's best and a mystery classic.

    1. I definitely will. I can't believe I call myself a devoted bookworm and yet have never read an Agatha Christie book!


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