Library Loot

I came back from the library today with this pile of books.


I’ve been thinking about how I choose books since writing my last Weekly Geeks post – am I influenced by the cover, just what is it about a book that makes me want to read it? Here are my reasons for choosing this pile:

  • The English: a Portrait of a People by Jeremy Paxman. I like to vary reading fiction with non-fiction, so I browsed in the non-fiction section and this caught my eye because of its title and author. I haven’t read anything by Jeremy Paxman but his TV programmes are always interesting and often controversial. I thought I’d like to find out how he defines Englishness. The chapter headings look interesting such as “The Land of the Lost Content”, “Funny Foreigners” and “The Ideal Englishman”. It also looks as though no one else has borrowed this book and it’s always nice reading a brand new book.
  • Strange Affair by Peter Robinson. I looked for a book by this author based on Roberta’s recommendations in her blog Books To the Ceiling.
  • My Invented Country by Isabel Allende. South America is largely unexplored by my reading and I have two of Allende’s books waiting to be read. She was on my mind since writing the Weekly Geeks post and so I looked in the Biography section and found this memoir. It promises to be a ‘highly personal tour through Chile.’
  • Little Monsters by Charles Lambert. I’ve not read anything at all about this book or its author. It’s from the New Books section and its cover was on full display. I don’t like the cover and I don’t like the title, but what attracted me initially is this quote from Beryl Bainbridge on the front cover: ‘Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer.’ I like her books, so I picked it up and on the back cover this quote from Griff Rhys Jones (why him, I wondered) made me curious enough to look further: ‘Sharp like sherbet, poignant and gripping.’ I opened the book and the first pages looked interesting.
  • Small Gardens – a Royal Horticultural Society Guide. This was in the library sale. We have a small garden, sadly not too flourishing, so I thought it would be useful.
  • The Riddle of the River by Catherine Shaw – another author I’ve never come across before and in this case it was the title on the spine that drew my eye.  The cover is OK, but it was the sub-title and the subject matter that made me decide to borrow the book – ‘Murder and mystery in Victorian Cambridge’. The book summary on the back helped plus the opening pages.

How do other people choose books? Do let me know.

5 thoughts on “Library Loot

  1. Lately I have actually been choosing quite a few books on the basis of blogger recommendations. We sometimes get books after reading reviews from someplace like the New York Times Book Supplement. Another frequent way that we choose is “new book by author we like.” And finally we spend a lot of time browsing in bookstores, and will be attracted by a title or cover, page through it, and often end up getting it.


  2. That’s a tidy little stack form the library! Sometimes I choose books because of the cover. Sometimes I choose book because of the title. Most of the time I choose them based on my mood, what I know about them, and who has recommended it.


  3. I choose most of my books by browsing, whether that is a book store or the library. It’s usually the summary on the back cover or on the jacket flaps that decides it for me.

    I guess you could say I’m also browsing books when I’m reading book blogs. In this case I’m reading the review or maybe a summary and then putting the title on my List. After so long I know different bloggers that I trust their review and recommendation. Example is StarGazing on your blog.

    The English sounds interesting. I follow to see what you think.


  4. Interesting choices. I tried to check out several books at the local library, but they were on a waiting list behind six or seven people. Instead I picked up Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson for a quarter, from the library fundraiser booksale table. It was one of the books I was trying to check out!


  5. Pingback: Other voices, other blogs « Books to the Ceiling

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