Oh, those shameless book titles just lure me in…

Library shelves

Multiple shelves…infinite possibilities for entertainment! Library image courtesy of click, Morguefile.

It’s interesting to analyze what makes me select a book to read while I’m strolling through the aisles of my local library. Sometimes it’s the alluring cover art. I’ve always liked the Harry Potter cover art of Mary GrandPré, who did the illustrations for the American editions. Edward Gorey, Marc Simont, Ronald Searle and Tasha Tudor are also favorites of mine; each had a unique style that conveyed a certain mood for the book (gothic, colorful or homey) that tempted me into reading it.

Sometimes it’s the author. I’ll read one book by a particular writer (Clive Cussler, David Baldacci, Louis L’Amour, Nora Roberts or Susan Mallery) and want to continue. Either I’ll want to find out what happens to the characters later on in future books or I just get interested in everything that author has ever written.

Then there’s the blurb inside the front cover flap. If it’s written well, that’ll get me to at least leaf through the pages and get an idea if I want to read it or not.

But often, it’s the title. I just finished a book called When The Ghost Screams: True Stories Of Victims Who Haunt by Leslie Rule. I spotted it in a display, and honestly, how was I supposed to not read a book with a title which is that delicious? I like ghost stories (Edgar Allan Poe, you’ve got a lot to answer for, buster!) so it snagged my attention. It features ghost stories throughout the U.S., with a few stories from other parts of the world as well.

And then I saw another book called The Herring In The Library, a murder mystery by L.C. Tyler. And now I’ve GOT to find out what a herring is doing in a British library! Arrrgh. Those book titles get me every time! What is a book lover supposed to do? I am powerless to resist.

Blog readers, what gets you interested in reading a book from a library or bookstore, something that no one has ever recommended to you? Title? Cover art? Author? Inside flap? Let’s talk.


Filed under Writing

21 responses to “Oh, those shameless book titles just lure me in…

  1. It’s so hard because it never makes any sense to me. Sometimes I will try to find reviews to ensure the book is a “worthy” read. Then something will catch my eye and I’ll read something by an unknown author and love it. I love being able to read a little bit to see if I like the style. You can do that in the library, book store or on-line. I do love authors though. Once I find one I like, I have to read everything they wrote (or at least almost everything).

  2. Many is the time I’ve been seduced by a good title. And sometimes, been delightfully surprised. Or not 🙂 But there’s not arguing that a good title can hook you like a fish on a line.

  3. Book titles are a good draw. The cover design hooks me too. Goodreads reviews by people I trust are the biggest draw. When someone rates a book high and tells me why, I’m hooked immediately.

  4. A well-crafted cover will suck me in every time . . .

  5. You have described what I miss most about not going to the bookstore to find a new book. I too am a Tasha Tudor fan (her gardens and her Corgis) and Edward Gorey was to die for. Dianne

  6. Just did some aisle browsing the other day actually thinking I would find time to leisurely read over the long weekend. Now I have a stack of books whimpering at me when I walk past them.
    I look for:
    shiny paperbacks (liking the smooth, new feel plus size)
    graphically humorious or thought-provoking or artfully rendered
    intriguing title
    That is if I don’t know the author
    Let me know about the herring…

  7. Titles get me to open the book, but then I’ll read the first paragraph – and flip through reading a bit here and there – if the style/writing is pleasing, I’ll read it. I do tend to run through all the titles by an author once I find one I like
    Love those book illustrators – what art!

  8. Ha! The author or editor of “The Ghost Screams” was working overtime to develop that gem! 🙂 Love it. With non-fiction, it’s all about the writing in the inside flap… if you can’t hook me there, that’s a relationship that won’t get off the ground. Choosing fiction is much harder- I tend to go with a favorite author (Jonathan Safran Foer hasn’t let me down yet!) or a recommended book from someone whose taste I trust (ie, Goodreads).


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