Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book.
I’ll have to go with “Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Pick Up A Book,” because almost nothing is an insta-buy for me — certainly not words or topics, and recently, not even an author’s name. (I’m getting more selective as my shelves get fuller and my budget gets a little tighter.) But there are certainly words and topics guaranteed to make me pick up a book and take a second look. In no apparent order:
- dragon — I fell in love with dragons in high school, when I discovered McCaffrey’s Pern novels. I don’t like all dragons, nor all dragon books, but if a book is about dragons, it definitely warrants checking out the synopsis. I’m currently listening to Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, and loving them.
- paranormal mystery — Since I discovered Madelyn Alt’s charming series, I will pick up a paranormal mystery to check it out. I may put it down again — pretty quickly — if it’s dark or has demons, but if it’s humorous and relatively light, I may decide to give it a try.
- knitting — Fiction or nonfiction, I’m likely to pick up a knitting book for a second look. Combine knitting with mystery (or fantasy — i.e., Princess of the Midnight Ball), and you’ve probably sold me on reading it.
- fairy tale retelling — I love these. Not all of them, it’s true, but enough of them that the mere hint that it’s a fairy tale retelling will get me to consider reading it. I like the ones that are very fairy-tale-ish, like Jessica Day George’s Princess trilogy or Robin McKinley’s retellings, but I also like it when authors successfully recast the fairy tale into some other time and place, like Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Magic and 500 Kingdoms series.
- music and musicians — fiction and occasionally nonfiction. I especially like music in combination with fantasy. But mostly classical or folk-style music; I’m not particularly into reading about rock musicians. I’m a singer (of sorts), so I gravitate toward tales of singers (like McCaffrey’s Menolly), but I also like bards like Rothfuss’s Kvothe and violinists/fiddlers like Lackey’s Rune, a.k.a. Lark. And harpists and pipers and… you get the idea. (And yes, like Rune’s nickname, my online nickname is related to my music.)
- English village — particularly when combined with mystery, a la Christie, Aird, Ngaio Marsh, Nancy Atherton, sometimes Tey and Sayers, etc. Actually, if a you combine English with mystery even without the village aspect, you’ll probably grab my attention, at least long enough to ascertain whether the book is dark and gritty — which will promptly lose my attention again. (I don’t do really dark, gritty, or creepy-psychotic in my mysteries. I like to sleep at night. But I don’t object to sensitive police procedurals, like Deborah Crombie’s wonderful Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series.)
- encountering another culture — I’m particularly drawn to this theme in fantasy. You find it in everything from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover novels to some of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books to Naomi Novik’s Throne of Jade (which I just finished.) What I really enjoy is seeing how a main character from one culture reacts to, learns about, and perhaps adapts to another culture. If the cover or title hints of this, or the synopsis suggests it, I’m intrigued.
- Arthurian legends — I’m not as strongly drawn to this topic as I was when I was younger (I could fill a whole box with my books about King Arthur, and half another box besides), but anything to do with the Arthurian legends will usually get a second look from me.
I know I’ve only come up with eight, but the others I’m coming up with are too broad (fantasy, magic, 19th-century romance), and they don’t guarantee I’ll pick up a book or even give it a second glance. So these will have to do!