How I Select Books to Read

 Never judge a book by its cover… We know we shouldn’t but we likely all do.
One of the reasons I enjoy being part of a YA book club, is that it makes me read books I might not select otherwise. How do you decide which book to read and which one you won’t?
I am very fortunate to live in a small community that treasures books. Our gorgeous library is an impressive building of glass and west coast timbers. It has loads of great books and, of course, it is free. It is also manned by close to 200 volunteers, in addition to two paid librarians. This army of volunteers make it a viable, vibrant place with good books, CD’s, and much more at our finger tips. And there are Interlibrary Loans.

We also have several fantastic bookstores that offer the latest, the best and the most sought after titles.
But my favorite book place, on my island, is the recycle depot. Unbelievable – the wealth of books offered here. For free. Over the years I have taken home boxes and boxes of books (and not returned many). Free books. Gently read books, sometimes brand-new books or well worn classics. I have found autographed first editions, my favorite Dutch magazines (!), and series that have become beloved reads like An Irish Country series by local author Patrick Taylor. There is no due date and you can return or keep these amazing books. Many line the shelves in our booklovers’ B & B for guests to take with them.

But how do you decide which one to read?
I find that the cover is an important part of my decision. I turn a book over in my hands, several times. I read the short content and really hate it if there isn’t one.
Have I read other books by this author?
But then, Harper Lee only wrote one book…
Does the cover look attractive?


But then, I hate the cover of Go And Come Back and that has become one of my favorites ever. And sometimes it goes the other way. Recently I was excited to discover a book called The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. The cover looked wonderful, with a row of tattered old books and the title alone  held such promise. I thought I couldn’t go wrong… But it was one of the most boring books ever. Not much happened and the ending was very disappointing. Yet that book was awarded the Booker Prize… Maybe I am spoiled because I tend to read mostly YA books. And in YA stories, there has to be immediate action, satisfaction, great characters and the reader has to care for those characters right away or the story won’t get published. I find many adult books tedious to read in comparison to YA stories.

I do admit to feeling and sniffing a book… It’s all part of the deal. Which is why I only read specific titles on my iPad, books that I know I want to read, usually when I travel or if the library only has the ebook available.

But these books which I meet on a shelf…  They have not come recommended. They are not on my ‘to read’ list… I just have to get to know them, much like I meet people, and wonder if we’ll be friends.
If it feels comfortable, sounds appealing – then I try the first page.
Does my mind wander? Am I intrigued?


Once I take the book home and start reading, it often feels like sitting down with a best friend. I learn something new, laugh, am touched and changed by the good books I read. Books truly are a window to the world. Sometimes it’s an information book that shows me a new part of the world, a new angle of knowledge. Other times it’s an author like Mitch Albom who makes me think, whose story stays with me long after I finish reading.
Or those Irish Country stories that take me to a village far away and introduce me to life there. Books allow me to live a thousand lives, to expand my horizons and to indulge. Let’s make sure all children are introduced to such pleasures so that they, too, will be lifelong readers.