Thursday Thoughts #5: Bookish Turn-Ons

P O S I T I V EHello and welcome to today’s Thursday Thoughts which is actually going up on a Thursday instead of a Tuesday this time. (sorry)

A week or two ago in Thursday Thoughts I talked about some of my “Bookish Turn-Offs“, so in an attempt to prove that I’m not a completely horrible and negative person, I thought a great topic for this Thursday Thoughts could be:

Bookish turn-ons

I’m not going to even attempt to make that horrible light switch analogy again, so instead I’ll just remind you that just because a book has one or more of these components does not guarantee that I’ll like it/buy it, it just is something that might make me a little more inclined to give that book a shot. You know the drill, so let’s get started!

1. a pretty cover:

Are you surprised? You really shouldn’t be. Although I try to avoid book buying that is strictly cover based at all costs (hence my chanting “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” while walking past the gorgeous Barnes and Noble editions of classics that I already own in ugly versions), a pretty cover is definitely likely to make me pick up the book and read the synopsis, which can often lead to a purchase. I mean, which are you most likely to spend money on:

OR

I’m just saying.

2. FANCY CHAPTER NAMES:

This is honestly one thing that I think should be required in all books before they get published. I don’t want anymore of this simple “Chapter 1” business, oh no. I want chapter headers similar to those of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (Chapter 12: I Put the “Idiot” in “Videotape”), Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter (Chapter 1: Down the Zombiehole), and literally every Rick Riordan book ever. If I’m flipping through a book and I see that every chapter not only has a title but a name, I’m definitely intrigued. Chapter titles make books more fun to read because typically we’ll stop reading at the end of each chapter, right? But when there’s chapter titles that immediately grab you when you just glance over at them, you want to keep reading. You have to keep reading. 

3. GRAPHICS/PICTURES/DOODLES/unique text/ETC.:

As readers, we have the hardest jobs of any appreciators of different arts. People who are art (like paintings) enthusiasts? They’ve got it easy. All they have to do is walk around, look at pictures, and nod, pretending they seem some sort of deep meaning within the scribbles and pastels. Movie watchers? It’s pretty self-explanatory: they watch movies. Their work is done as soon as they pay for their over-priced popcorn. But readers? Authors are incredible, but we’re responsible for doing a lot of the work too. When you stop to think about it, we’re holding words for hours at a time, and we are the ones who turn it into the enjoyable spectacle that it is, by imagining and convincing ourselves for those hours or days that the characters and story are real. Now, it’s quite apparent: I love reading. If I didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this on a book blog, obviously. But if we’re all being honest with ourselves sometimes it can get a little boring just reading lines and lines of text, and we might need a little help imagining that it might be real. This is when the fun stuff that authors sometimes add in comes in handy. If you’ve ever read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (you really should if you haven’t – great book) you’ll know that this road trip story is told in a very unique way: not only is there narrative and dialogue like normal stories, but there’s also receipts from restaurants they visited, playlists of real songs that they listened to along the way, postcards, and oodles of other stuff included within the book which serves to make the story feel like it was an actual journey. In some other books, like Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (review), there will be pages where the book is written out like a movie script, which can help make it easier to picture and read through. Don’t get me wrong – I love traditional books, but these unique touches can always help make for a really fun read. (Image taken from theprettybooks.wordpress.com – go follow her gorgeous blog!)

4. QUIRKY NARRATors:

Unfortunately for us, this particular bookish turn-on is usually found in middle grade books (at least that’s what I’ve concluded from my experience), but please let me know if you’ve found it in other places. I don’t really know how to describe this one, but if you’ve read The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch or A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. This is when the narrator isn’t even directly involved in the story but they have such a unique and hilarious personality that they seem like the star of the show. For example, in The Reptile Room (the second book in the Series of Unfortunate Events series) the narrator takes the time to fill up an entire page with the word ever, simply to remind you that you should never, ever, ever, ever, ever, (etc.) fiddle around with electronic devices lest you be electrocuted. It’s just so unique and hilarious and unexpected – I love it. With Pseudonymous Bosch, the narrator of his story (which is kind of him, as the narrator is supposedly the one writing the story) warns that the story he is about to share is incredibly secret in the prologue. He then begins the first chapter… and replaces every letter of every word with “x”. The only thing that remains are punctuation marks. Narrators like these are amazing and so entertaining to read – I really want more of them.

5. UNIQUE PREMISES:

I think this one goes without saying. It seems to me like all books lately can be grouped into four categories:
Boy/girl meets boy/girl
Someone’s dying
Someone wasn’t who they thought they were and now adventure ensues
I just am in the mood for something really weird and new and unexpected. You know, there must’ve been a time when people thought it wouldn’t be worthwhile to write about a neglected boy wizard, but look where we are now.


Hey! So that’s the end of this week’s Thursday Thoughts. What did you think? Do you agree with my choices, or do you have things you think should be added to this list (there might be a sequel!)? Do you have book recommendations that fit any of this criteria, or would you like some? Leave anything and everything in the comments, I love discussing with you guys. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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30 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts #5: Bookish Turn-Ons

  1. I like pretty covers too. Its just so hard not to pick up a book by its cover. I also like chapter titles. One thing I personally love is maps, I don’t know I just love them. They’re so detailed and pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another thing for covers: I love when there’s a nice foiled-ish pattern of some sort on the actual hardcover of books! It just makes it so much nicer 🙂 (Btw I so agree with everything you said here!)

    ~Faith

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with #2! I just finished Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour (coincidence much?) and I totally loved the formatting of the lists!
    I don’t really agree with #3 but that’s only because of my reading habit. The way I read is that I go from the last word of a chapter directly to the first word of the next. Most of the time, I skip the chapter title or quote used as a header…
    What I like is when they have a special design on the inside of the book cover or on the book itself! Like in the hardbacks of the Jasper Dent series, there’s a fabulous blood splatter design on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am totally with you about chapter headings, I love that the Harry Potter series has them! It definitely makes the book harder to put down, it’s like when a TV show shows a clip of the next episode at the end of the one you just watched!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, I agree with so many of these. Pretty covers are always awesome, of course, but I’ve been left a bit jaded from content that just doesn’t measure up. I certainly adore quirky additions to books, like lists and scribbles and notes. And, of course, number 5 – finding a book with a completely unique premise will always win me over!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello I’m new to your blog, but I LOVE it. I plan to share it with my students when school starts. I enjoy your sense of humor and writing style. You’ve got great voice and could definitely make a career out of this. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re totally right! Quirky narrators ARE something I’ve really only found in middlegrade! I wonder why that is.. maybe writers think older people can’t be a little silly? Or maybe it makes the book FEEL like a middlegrade. I currently read Mosquitoland, which was totally YA, but it did FEEL like Middlegrade- maybe due to the quirkiness of the narrator. Maybe you should try it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, thanks for the recommendation! I’ve had my eye on that one for a while but I haven’t heard much about it. It sounds really interesting, so I’ll be sure to check it out! Whenever the kids I babysit fall asleep I always read their books and they’re so hilarious! I don’t understand why YA authors thinks that their narrators always have to be philosophical and depressed… maybe some readers would find it demeaning if the narrator was so crazy but I would definitely be a fan! 🙂

      Like

  8. I love this post! I only just discovered your blog and I’m loving your posts.

    I definitely agree with your thoughts about covers. I would add that I often buy a book for how it feels. Does it have quality paper and maybe the title is embossed on the cover? I like those sorts of things. And I definitely picture how the spine will look on my bookshelves. That is important!

    Love your thoughts about the uniqueness of readers too. We really do a lot by reading. And it takes so much longer to truly experience a book rather than a painting (although I must admit I love a good Monet or Renoir as much as the next person).

    Thanks for starting a great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! The feel definitely plays a role, too. I love when covers feel kind of rough, like the cover on The Young Elites by Marie Lu. I don’t know how to describe it but it always feels well-made and new. I love fancy spines as well, because when I’m shopping in an actual store the spines are often what grab your attention when they’re on the shelves. The favorite spine that I own is definitely Winger by Andrew Smith.
      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I completely agree with numbers 3 and 4! The graphics, especially maps and pictures, work wonders for me. I just finished Band of Brothers, and in the book the Ambrose gives maps and photos of the men throughout the European campaign, which really helps give me that mental image of the action. And I’m all about the quirky narrators. The Book Thief is in my September TBR, and everyone who has recommended it to me leads with “Death is the narrator!” so I’m really excited!

    Liked by 1 person

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