Screening Books

I am something of a compulsive reader, so have no problem choosing books to read, as I will read almost anything and will force myself through it to the end in the hope that the story improves, as if by slogging through 200 odd pages the author deserves some kind of literary redemption. Though, when a book is dire, there’s only so much you can hope for it to improve…as in the case of James Joyce and A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man, the only book I have ever given up on.

How, though, does the “normal” reader (if we define normal as being someone who doesn’t pick up tubes of toothpaste in bathrooms so they have something to read) go about choosing a book? I read today about the Page 99 Test, which involves reading page 99 of the book you are considering buying to decide if you can read it all the way through.

I suppose this has the advantage of avoiding the disappoinment that comes with books like The Angel’s Game, which have such a strong opening that you feel let down by the rest of the book. I never actually read the first page before buying a book though. I’m very much of the, can I fancy that blurb school of thought. More often than not I can.

Do you have a method for screening books before you read them? I worry that the Page 99 Test could give something away, or put me off a good book before I start it.

0 thoughts on “Screening Books

  1. Penny

    If I don’t have the recommendation of a reading friend or acquaintence, I go to Amazon. I don’t pay attention to what THEY have to say so much (that’s just publisher press release stuff normally) as what the readers’ comments are at the bottom of the page. Those are unsolicited, and far more likely to be a range of opinion.

    Also, if you don’t have an eReading device, I’d look into it. It has opened the world of books for me SO much! I have a Sony ereader and also read from my iPhone. AND I have not spent one cent on books. Creative internet searching has allowed me to acquire MANY thousands (and I do mean thousands literally) of books at no cost, and public libraries now also offer eBooks as well. If you have any interest, a good place to start investigating all aspects of eBooks & readers is:
    There is a wealth of info there & not a selling venue, but a discussion forum of ‘bookworms’ of all types! And there are eReaders now for less than $150, so the cost is coming down quite a bit. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    1. Siobhan

      Thanks Penny. I went through a point where I did make a lot of use of the recommendations on amazon, and used to keep my account up to date with the books I read for all the new recommendations. I got quite annoyed in the end though, because it would recommend several editions of the same book. I can see that the reader reviews would be really helpful though.

      I don’t have an e reader, and I’m really holding out on getting one I’m afraid! I can see they have many benefits, but I’m just not sure. I like classics, but ultimately I prefer to read new releases, which wouldn’t be free as they are in copyright for at least 50 years. Another big issue, as my technophile boyfriend pointed out, is that I love to read in the bath, for about two hours, and the water and electricity wouldn’t be a great combination!

  2. ryoko861

    Honestly, I really don’t like reading.
    The last book I attempted to read was “Life Is Like A Sailboat” because it had a sailboat on the cover and I love sailing. It was by John Grogan, author of “Marley And Me”. The author lives in my area. And I did find it “interesting”. I didn’t agree with some of his views, but that didn’t detract from liking the book. I never finished it though. Don’t know why. I’d say maybe the last chapter or so has gone unread.

    But the only reason I bought it was because of the sailboat on the cover. Isn’t that silly? So I guess you can say my method of screening is what is on the cover and the title. Lame, very lame…… 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

    1. Siobhan

      Not lame at all! My favourite book is Wuthering Heights and I read that when I was 14 because my father had played me the Kate Bush song and I loved it. I actually think that the cover of a book is very important, because generally I just browse book shops and pick a book up to have a closer look if I like the cover or title. So I guess to some extent everyone judges books by their covers! I will keep an eye out for Life Is Like A Sailboat. Thanks for the comment- I urge you to finish that last chapter!

  3. Anna

    i tend to open a random page at the front, a random page towards the back and a random page in the middle and read bits of it.
    if i like what i see, i will go for the book 🙂

    apart from that, recommendations from friends and family of course as well. and, well im fussy about covers. if a book has a pretty cover – i want it.


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