Jo Talks Books: What Attracts Me To Reading A Book?

Hey everyone! So it’s the last day of October today, which means you guys get my second (and  last) discussion post of October. I was meaning to do another one this month but it took me so long to get the first one up thanks to deadlines and because I was catching up with other blog posts over reading week, I just didn’t get the chance. But ah well, I did say two posts a month when I started this feature, so any extras you get are just bonuses! I know it’s Halloween today, but since I don’t really like Halloween, I’m not going to do a Halloween themed post. Instead, I’m going to talk about my reading habits and what attracts me to reading certain books (and not reading certain books) and just basically why I read the books I do.

I’m sure you’ll have realised if you’ve been following my blog for a while (or even if you haven’t, I’m pretty vocal about it in most of my posts!) that I am a big fantasy lover. I’ve always been this way, ever since I was a kid, fantasy basically embodies everything I love about reading, it’s pure escapism, you get to travel with these characters to worlds that don’t even exist and join them on their magical adventures and I just love that. So any book with any kind of fantastical element, any hint of magic, any kind of otherworldliness whatsoever, I will immediately want to read it. I basically want to read every fantasy ever, it doesn’t even matter what they’re about or who the author is, I love everything about fantasies, the world building, the magic, the adventures, everything. So I will unapologetically always read more fantasy than anything else because it’s just my favourite genre, so any mention of fantasy on the blurb of a book and it will probably be an instant purchase!

Outside of fantasy, I’m slightly more picky about what I read. I’m a history nerd (part of my degree is History) so obviously I like historical fiction, but unlike with fantasy, I’m not quite as indiscriminate, obviously I have areas of history that I like more than others. I love historical fiction based in WWII, it’s a big area of history to choose from & I love it when I find hidden gems that focus on areas of WWII that I didn’t know anything about before (like Ruta Sepetys’ Between Shades of Grey). I would also definitely be attracted to any books set in Tudor England as that’s one of my favourite periods of  history (so if you have any recommendations for books set in Tudor England then let me know) and books set in Ancient Greece or Rome would also attract my attention, since I really enjoy those time periods as well (hence why The Roman Mysteries was one of my favourite books as a child). I’m not so keen on Regency era books though, whilst I might love that kind of thing on TV, I feel like Regency era set books often focus a lot on romance. I’m also quite likely to add a historical fiction to my TBR if it focuses on lesser known history as I’m always keen to learn something new. I really like alternative histories as well, I find it really interesting to think about what might have happened if some significant historical event never happened so if a book is described as an alternative history, more likely than not, I’ll read it.

I love psychological thrillers, as I’m really interested in Psychology after doing my Psychology A-Level and I just love reading about twisted characters, and psychological thrillers are usually just complete mind-fucks which I absolutely love. They’re also usually pretty high action which I love. They also usually have some degree of mystery and I love seeing if I can try and work out who the killer was before the characters do.

I also really love dystopias because they usually deal with some social or psychological issue and explore how it would affect people in the future and I love trying to pick out the similarities between the dystopian society and ours (it’s actually scary how similar some of them are).

I’m really picky with contemporary books, mostly because they usually revolve around romance (which I hate) and they can be pretty slow (and I prefer my books faster paced). I have liked some contemporaries in the past but I definitely prefer fantasies, I think it’s because I find reading about fantasy worlds so much more fun than the reading about the real world.

I love books with strong female characters, so any mention of a kick butt female character on the blurb of a book will make me instantly interested in reading it. Luckily the genres of books I like usually do have these types of female characters so I’m able to kill two birds with one stone.

Usually any hint of a love triangle will kill my interest in reading a book. I mean don’t get me wrong, I have read some books with love triangles that I’ve loved, but I’m just tired of them by now! Not every YA book needs two love interests people! Lots of romance also usually turns me off a book because I find some YA romances a bit cliché and badly done. I have my ships like everyone else, but a romance needs to be really well done to get me to like it! I like slow burns and not enough YA books do romances like that.

Obviously the author also has a lot to do with whether or not I’m attracted to read a book. There are certain authors who I love so much that I’ll read whatever they write (I won’t list them here because regular followers of my blog will probably already know my favourite authors pretty well!) and I’m a lot more likely to pick up a book by an author that I’ve already enjoyed than a new author (I mean obviously all my favourite authors were new to me once, but that’s where my genre preferences come into play, I’m far more likely to read a fantasy book by an author I’ve never heard of before than a contemporary book). I also have a preference for plot driven books over character driven books because if I hate the characters in character driven books, then I’ll probably hate the book, whereas if I’m not keen on the characters in plot driven books then at least if the plot is good, I’ll have a chance of liking it.

I’m also far more likely to read YA than adult fiction, I think because I’m at an age where YA is more relatable than adult fiction (I would read more NA but it all seems to revolve around sex), at my age, I can relate far more to teenagers’ problems than I can to characters who are far older than me. This may change as I get older, but for the moment, I am far more likely to read YA than I am adult books, with the exception of Jodi Picoult books and I guess some crime books as I really like legal drama!

I personally prefer a first person narrative to a third person narrative as I like to be able to get into characters’ heads and see things through their eyes, so I will be more attracted to reading a first person narrative, though I do like multiple third person narratives also as you get more angles on a story. I actually wish more books did multiple first person POVs as that would give you a better insight into all the main characters.

So overall, there are lots of different things that attract me to reading books (though I would definitely say genre is the strongest indicator as to whether I’ll like a book or not) but it’s only by reading lots of different books that I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t like, so whilst I will definitely be more attracted to reading books in certain genres, or by certain authors or that are written in certain styles or have certain types of characters, I always like to try new books alongside books that I’m naturally drawn to because I don’t want to miss out on something great, even if it’s not something I would usually read.

Over to you. What attracts you to certain books? Are there any books that you wouldn’t normally read that you’ve really liked? Let me know in the comments!

I will have my first November discussion post for you soon, probably over the weekend, but in the meantime, I will have my newest Top Ten Tuesday and my October #RockMyTBR update  posts up tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!




2 thoughts on “Jo Talks Books: What Attracts Me To Reading A Book?

  1. Zezee November 1, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    I lean more to fantasy as well because of its escapism. I love the world’s created and the magic as well. I’m also drawn to literary fiction because I love a well written book that plays with language. In a bookshop, what draws me to a book is the cover or title and then the synopsis.

    • iloveheartlandx November 2, 2016 / 1:17 am

      Yup, all those things are great. I tend to not love literary fiction as the subject matter usually doesn’t interest me. I would probably agree with that.

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