Why do we choose to read the stories that we do? Lately, I’ve engaged in several casual conversations with new-to-me people, who have asked who/what I like to read, and why. It was a surprise to find that I struggled to answer the questions. For the who, the challenge was where to start my list! I love reading, and there is an ever-growing list of authors that I recommend to others.
But, how to boil down what captures my attention into a small-talk-worthy sentence or two? That has been a struggle, so I’ve been thinking about it for the past week or so. I still don’t have an answer, but I’m actually enjoying the self-analysis!
Currently, I’m re-reading a fun and incredibly well-written series (the Ordinary Magic series by Devon Monk). Set in the fictional town of Ordinary, Oregon, the stories revolve around three sisters who represent both traditional law enforcement for the town, as well as specific roles related to managing the gods that vacation in Ordinary.
Yep, gods. Death, War, and so on, come to Ordinary, Oregon to put down their god powers and vacation like normal humans. Great premise, right? I highly recommend the series (five books so far, with short stories as well). Here’s the beginning of the blurb for book five, Dime a Demon:
“Myra Reed’s life is going great. . .Being a cop is great. Guarding the library of arcane secrets is great. Even dealing with the monsters and gods vacationing in the little beach town of Ordinary, Oregon is great. Then the demon, Bathin, strolls into town and steals Myra’s sister’s soul. So much for great.”
Whoa! Grabber, there. But, what about this series captured my attention before I even read the blurb? Why, when Amazon is driving me crazy by putting seven books by the same author, who I have NEVER read (and will never read; can I please have a “stop showing me this” option?!?), in my “recommended for you” list, for weeks at a time, am I choosing something else? (Other than a wee bit of passive aggression, of course.)
When selecting a new read, I usually start by checking for new books by my favorite authors; books that we’ve mentioned on this blog; or books by authors speaking at a conference I’m planning to attend. When none of those options result in a new book to read, I’ll scroll through the options presented by Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Interesting titles, great blurbs, an appealing cover are things that draw me in, but even after some thought, I can’t really define why one book sounds better than another – especially when the blurbs are similar.
I’d love to know what captures your attention – what makes you buy or borrow a book? Is there a particular theme that you are particularly drawn to? What magic draws you in, readers?