My favorite literary genre is the mystery. I’m not a big fan of the “cozy”—the storylines of teacups and cats set in bookshops—but I don’t like sensationalist serial-killer stories, either. I don’t want to read loving descriptions of slow torture or the detached planning of sociopath rapists. This is not my idea of entertainment.
My favorites are those books that straddle a middle ground. I like the puzzle a mystery offers. I like a flawed detective. I enjoy good writing, unusual settings, and any time period. If there’s a secondary romance plot, so much the better.
After a year of not really enjoying anything I read, I just polished off in one week the first three books and four novellas in the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn. I’d been thinking about why this series, set in Victorian times, caught my fancy when so many other things did not in the past year. Lady Julia has a great deal of agency, Brisbane takes her seriously, and her large family—eccentrics all—is fun to read about. Also, the dialogue is good and the romance is slow-burning. So that’s all catnip for me.
Do you buy books based on the blurb? What attracts you and/or puts you off?
Last week I complained that I’ve been suffering from book blurb blindness. I’ve resolved to read more new-to-me authors, at least one per week, so I’ve been paying more attention to the book marketing communications that find their way to my in-box. I actually started reading them instead of giving the usual hasty skim in the hope that something would leap out and grab me.
I couldn’t keep it up. Even on a slow day I get emails from BookBub (ten free or discounted titles of various romantic sub-genres), Amazon (usually at least two emails with a dozen books each, plus others if an author I like has an upcoming release), SmartBitchesTrashyBooks (anything up to a dozen books on sale, reviewed or newly released), and a handful of author blogs or newsletters.
I’m barely dipping a toe in the water, and I guesstimate I receive about 40-50 targeted suggestions per day, in addition to recommendations I actively seek out from friends, discussions here and other trusted sources. That makes over 300 titles per week, from which I’m trying to find one or maybe two new reads. If I Continue reading
Hatchards book store in London
This past weekend I took a ramble through the local Barnes & Noble store. The majority of my book purchases are made online, but I had a gift card and the store was right there, so in I went.
My first stop was the clearance section (and not just because I was raised in a very frugal family). The section is such a varied mix of books and subjects that something almost always catches my eye. I was tempted by the Tabletop Catapult: Build Your Own Siege Engine! – I figured I could have hours of fun Continue reading