Today’s post is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend last week. We were talking about what kind of books we like to read, which is a question I’ve found hard to answer lately. I’ve noticed that when asked about my favourite genre I always reply with “fantasy”, but that’s not necessarily true. Actually, I say that so I don’t have to explain that in reality, I don’t have one and that my favourite books have almost always nothing to do with genre and are instead based on ~mood~ and ~vibes~, because that just sounds too ridiculous for the average person.
I’ve talked about being a mood reader before and I’ve discussed how I make TBRs work for me in my “Some Thoughts on TBRs” post but I’ve not gone into detail about how I actually choose my next read or how I decide what books I want to add to my TBRs.
How do I decide what books I want to read?
Let me start by saying that I’m very guilty of judging books by their covers. I believe that a cover should give the general feel of the book, and as such it’s a good first step to determine what you’re drawn to. This is the first contact with a book, and it usually helps me decide whether I want to look into it more, save if for later, or discard it entirely.
Some great covers that made me add the books to my TBR immediately:
The same thing happens with the title. They have the power to catch your attention and make you want to learn more about that book. This, in combination with covers, is a good portion of how I decide on what to read.
Some recent titles that caught my attention:
I also very rarely read synopses—I skim them at most—because I find that more often than not I like going into books without knowing much about the plot. Instead, I asses the aforementioned ridiculous concept of ~vibes~. Usually I’ll decide what I’m interested in from what books you recommend on here, or from seeing them on book twitter or booktube—needless to say I really value word of mouth. That’s not to say I’ll read every hyped book on these sites—because some of them I have no interest in—but rather I’ll try to look for some keywords which tell me what it’s about without unveiling all that much about it.
Things I look for:
- Queer rep. Everyone has a particular thing they’re always on the lookout for in books, and for me that’s lgbt+ representation.
- Diversity in general (characters that are non-white, disabled, neurodivergent, etc.)
- Dark academia, vampires, or whatever it is that I’m obsessed with at the moment
- Found family trope
- Multiple POVs and big casts of characters
This list is a guide, and its content changes depending on what I’m feeling—and on the genre of the book—, but these are usually some of the aspects of books I’m drawn to. Thanks to this method (can we really call this a method?) I’ve found some amazing books to read from your recommendations.
Ultimately, I’ll guide myself thanks to the cover, title, and some keywords, but I sometimes also jump completely blind and trusting someone’s recommendation wholeheartedly.
How do I decide on my next read as a mood reader?
If you thought my way to decide what to add to my TBR was ridiculous, just wait and see how I actually choose my next reads. There is simply no good way to explain it because it’s all about how I’m feeling and what’s available to me.
Sometimes I’ll finish a book and I’ll want to read something in the same vein because I’m just too into it at the moment (hence why I read like 4 dark academia books in a row). Other times, I’ll simply pick up a book because it’s easy to access, for example: I started Persuasion because it was included in my Audible membership free-trial, but I had no prior intention to read it.
More often than not I will just find myself having started a book without really planning on it. For instance, here’s how I started reading The Atlas Six: I was sitting on the sofa and suddenly it started raining and thundering. I wanted to read something that would fit the atmosphere and I had People Like Us in mind. However, I had to go upstairs to pick that up and I didn’t want to move from my sofa, so I started The Atlas Six instead. The thunderstorm lasted for about 5 minutes but by then I was already invested in the book so that turned into my next read. Situations like this is how it usually happens for me.
All in all, there’s really no rhyme or reason as to how I choose what to read. It depends on the situation, on what I feel like, and on what’s available to me at the moment.
Are you a mood reader or are you a planner? How do you choose what to read or what to add to your TBR?