What Makes You Want to Read a Book?

It was Mary Ruefle who said: “There are certain minds that need reading the way a body needs food. But just like food, it feeds us and gives us energy and then we don’t remember it, yet it’s essential, we couldn’t live without it.” This is so true. The things that take us to books (or conversations of the soul) have eternal life. Mention: knowledge, truth, entertainment, fantasy, pleasure, pain, etc.

So I got to ask my friends on Facebook: What strikes you first about a book? Title? Book cover? Synopsis? Blurb? First sentence? Last sentence? Some reviews about the book? Tell me, what makes you want to read a book?

Below are responses from readers:


Winky Lewis: Cover!! That is what would make me take notice initially.

CN Ndubuisi: First line tells you how crazy a writer you’ve just met.

Edith Yassin: I have a way of searching out authors. Second to that, is the unknown quantity that attracts me with the title. The synopsis on the back cover and the book cover in that order.

Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu: Last sentence of the book.

Rosalyn Marhatta: Blurb and recommendation from someone I know. Sometimes the cover.

Madu Chisom: Nothing.

Sandy Marchetti: First poem. Or first poem I flip to in the middle. They all better be good.

Aiken Voka: The number of pages.

IK Ogbu: Blurb. If it’s badly written, I’m not likely to pick if off the shelf.

Nellie Umutesi-Vigneron: Usually the author, and reviews I may have read about the book.

Macpherson Okpara: A good blurb signposts the content and form.

Isaac Attah Ogezi: The name of the writer whether among the greats, then the title and blurb. The more exhaustive the bios, the more I am estranged. I hate forewords in a work. As for a poetry collection, a random reading of some poems; for plays I look out for modern themes instead of traditional.

Shittu Fowora: First paragraphs in each chapter of the book. If there’s nothing in the openings, I may not finish or obtain the book. For poetry, experiment, language and title.

Adaugo: Depends on the moment. Sometimes the blurb, sometimes the cover, sometimes the writer’s name, sometimes the first five pages, sometimes the first sentence. It depends.

Kathryn Kopple: What’s in it.

Aj Dagga Tolar: The book.

Sophia Ophelia: Authors, reviews.

Femi Fairchild Morgan: A lot of factors will make me read a book. I love reading books that I have read their reviews because I want to know whether it would be true to me as it was true to the reviewer. The book cover is another thing, but on a specific, the overall presence of the book or the author is important.

Adeola Opeyemi: The language. If the language is good and unique, I’ll forgive the writer for almost every other weak aspect of the book.

Nurain Oládèjì: It’s not my habit to pick up books blindly. So, previous references to the book does it for me: reviews, referral by someone whose taste in good works and/or writers, and oh, I’m kind of lazy, so the book’s bulkiness is also a factor, and, well, everything else.

Tijah Bolton-Akpan: Used to be a blurb freak till they broke my heart. Then I discovered and fell in love with random snatched. I open to a random page and that sentence or two helps me decide if I’ll read the book or not. But author and title in that order makes me pick up the book in the first place.

Brent Goodman: Cover, title, first poem, first line. Blurbs and dedications be damned.

Aimee Morales: Theme.

Catherine Edmunds: Cover. And that doesn’t mean it has to be beautiful cover-art or anything like that. It could be a battered old plain cloth cover in a secondhand bookshop. If it’s battered, it’s been much read. Could be good, I’ll read the blurb (if there is one) and the first few sentences. Never, never, never the last sentence. That’s how to completely ruin your potential reading experiences. Never reviews.

Sarah Russell: I read the last page.

Cb Crane: Definitely the blurbs first. Then the first paragraph.

Robbi Nester: First few pages. If that’s no good, I don’t continue.

Eskimo Pie: I often open the book to a random page and read a paragraph to see if I like their writing. I also like to read the synopsis and their bio.

Jelica Gavrilovic: About the author, the blurb on inside covers or the back, that the print is legible.

Catherine Daly: Undying sexual appeal.

Karen KC: Cover and title.

Verneda Lights: Title.

Susana H. Case: Title and synopsis. I must confess I never look at the blurbs.

Suzanne Turner: Cover design/color immediately followed by title. If those get me to pick it up, then the synopsis followed by the blurbs. Decide to buy based on whether the first page draws me in. Process is different online, in which case it’s how the book is served up to me based on a search. From there it’s title, author, book reviews, reader reviews, first page.

Ajanae Dawkins: I love the quotes at the beginning of a book.

Jc Niala: For a number of years now I have specifically been looking for and reading books by African and black women and people. It’s interesting because when I got into a bookshop it means I browse completely differently than I used to—it also has taught me a huge deal about how black authors’ underrepresentation is multifaceted.

Rebecca Hazelwood: Cover.

Matthew Silverman: Cover.

Personally, it certainly has to be poetry—or essays/memoirs. I go for beautiful covers, also.