When searching for the next book to read (hopefully a future favorite) there are a few items that will make me want to read a book sooner rather than later.
Since we’re talking about concepts and ideas, the format looks different from my past TTTs. Also, I decided to give an example for each concept.
Beautiful, Bodacious Book Covers
I know, I know. ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. But honestly, there’s so many new releases out there that a beautiful cover can stop me in my tracks. Add that to one of the subjects below and it’s jumping to the top of my TBR list.
I mean, look at the cover right there!
19th Century English Literature
When I was in high school I was introduced to English lit by way of Pride and Prejudice and The Count of Monte Cristo. I feel in love, and devoured a lot of classics from that Era in my early 20’s. I still have a few on my TBR list.
One Element of Magic/Supernatural
I would consider this one step away from Magical Realism. The best example would be the recent Exit West. Everything looks exactly the same as our world expect that one element, whether from science or magic, changes everything.
Exit West is about the refugee crisis, except that doorways that take people to different countries are discovered. The book uses this element to analyze the concept of borders, imaginary things we give great importance to.
Turning Something on its Head and Making it Darker
When the genre of ‘reimagined fairy tales’ gained momentum, I really liked the first wave of dark retellings, but sadly most are filled with bad tropes.
I still try to find books that do a dark twist on a common genre. One of my recent favorites was The Magicians. A great study of a person who is never satisfied, even when he finds out Magic is real.
I really like scary stories, I grew up reading Goosebumps. For some reason, big spooky buildings will always catch my interest.
My favorite is The Shining, the movie has chilled my bones for years, and thankfully the book didn’t disappoint either. I was surprised that I really liked both versions for different reasons, and liked that both featured the hotel as a character.
A Different Point of View
Over the past couple years, I realized that my TBR wasn’t very diverse (all those classic English literature picks). I’ve been looking for not only diverse books, but points of view that I probably won’t come across in my daily life.
The Best We Could Do is a graphic novel memoir about the author’s family experience with the Vietnam war and being refugees in the USA, and definitely fits the bill.
Secret and Unknown History
History isn’t on the top of my list when I’m looking for what to read next, but a ‘narrow slice’ kind of story works for me. Usually a subject many don’t know about, and that I can discuss with family/friends.
The best example is The Devil in the White City. I read it for a book club, everyone else disliked it, and I was the lone dissenter, singing its praises. Everything was just so interesting to me, and made me rethink narrative non-fiction.
Interesting Graphic Novels
Recently I’ve been into limited series graphic novels and the different ways to visually tell a story. There are some genres I’m not huge fan of, and sometimes beautiful pictures help push me to read new subjects.
Boxers and Saints is about the Boxer Rebellion in China, and not only did the author figure out a visual way to make the story compelling, he also gave the ‘enemy’ some humanity.