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Book Picking

Tags: book
Hello, I know it's been long. Throw the rotten apples my way, I'll glad take it.

Ow, not that hard!
Anyway now that we are even. I wanted to let you all know what I've been up to.
Yes, I have been up to things, not just sitting around watching korean dramas 
(Although I did finish cheese in the trap about a month ago, hella good for any kdrama lovers out there! )
Moving swiftly on, I have a few blog posts coming your way one of which will be an updated review guide to running books, I have been reading a lot more running books so I have a list (which is ongoing any recommendations are greatly appreciated!) 

Also I have an updated running journey post coming up and I think you'll all love this one, an updated life post, because things have changed since last we spoke. Things have gotten better in case you can't tell. 

I am so much more happier, and at peace. I want to move forward in life, and not look back. Yes I will put up the awaited post of my brief encounter with marriage. I am looking for a job now, and everything feels so much more easier. Anyway that's for the life post, lets move on to the Reader's Choice! 

Does everyone just pick up a book and give it a go?
Is that how picking a book works? I often wonder if people see book picking as easy as fruit picking.
But even then in fruit picking, you need to look for the most ripe, free from insects and so on in essence: the golden ones.

And when you pick a book, its the golden ones that catch your eye.
You already know how close books are to me, they've practically raised me, from my child-like self to the grown up child I am now. Books are everything.

There's so much variety out there, reading is so precious so when you pick up a book, HOW can it be as simple as just picking it up?

The simple answer is... It's not.

I have a guide to picking out books. This is tailored to my needs, but you may benefit from it, learn a few things even. You are by no means obligated to follow this guide, if you have your own quirky guide to picking books, let me know! I'd love to take tips! Now lets begin!

1*. What is the title? Something predictable? Boring. Not something like Don't open. Or if you like romance. Her Summer In Paris. If it is predictable but you think it has charm (Ha!) you may look at step 2. In this stage I like titles that catch my attention, titles that make me think, what? e.g. a book I picked up the other day based on its title, Behind Her Eyes (although I didn't finish that due to other reasons you may find out in the steps) the title made me think, what is behind her eyes? That's not even possible, silly book! Other times, it's because I can relate to the title e.g. Finding Colin Firth, I like Colin Firth and I just thought it'd be cute, how are they going to find him? Where is he?

*Step 1 and 2 can be done together

2. What does the cover look like? What is the image? Or words on front? Intriguing? Different? Relatable? ( this appears alot because even if it is predictable, if its relatable I will most likely pick it up)

3. If the cover has passed the first round, you may move on to the back where the blurb is located. Read through it, is it easy to read? Does make you want to know more? Make sure its not predictable and cliche. (Some blurbs are located inside the book on the VERY first page on the left) If it doesn't have a blurb, it better have a damn good cover, who does it think it is, with no blurb, depending on the cover and title it MAY reach step 4, however it is dependent on the first 2. You decide.

4. Okay so its passed the blurb test, that doesn't mean you're through, Bookey. Next open the book, look over the first few pages, (I dislike introductions and author's notes at the beginning I prefer them at the end when I have read the book and enjoyed it, then I want to know more about the author, before that I do not want to know. However this is not grounds for elimination, it is simply brownie points there is room for up to -5 brownie points, after that you may eliminate the book. Unless it has blindingly bright golden quality.

5. Read the first page of the story briefly, interesting? Do you like the style? Do you even like the character?

6. Now you may move on to the quality and colour of the paper used for the book. I do not like white paper, unless it is for academic purposes. The paper should feel nice in my hands, after all this book will be accompanying me on my journeys and placed preciously under my pillow, not every book deserves this title! The paper shouldn't be too glossy, that is not fitting for a reading book. I prefer the book to be easily flickable, meaning when you flick through it is like a breath of wind. However that is not essential and is only additional by no means should you take a brownie point away because of it. The colour should be a light beige, most books are this colour, however some are not.

7. I prefer the size of the book to be a normal sized book, however some do vary and can be on the bigger or smaller side. Smaller is fine, however bigger may be a problem. If it is bigger and it has passed all other stages, that is fine. However if the other stages are barely passable, it is possible to eliminate on these grounds. Yet if the book wishes to appeal, there is room for that.

8. Now you may have noticed in step 5 when you read the first page, the writing. What is the size of the writing? It should be a normal size, anything too smaller is bothersome. Yet it shouldn't be too big either! (I do sound vaguely similar to Goldilocks now, not too small and not too big! Just right!) You'd be surprised at how many books I come across with tiny writing or writing that is too big (if it is too big it may be because it is for a younger audience, perhaps young adult)

These steps can be done in combination but do not have to be followed chronologically. Some may be bypassed as we have discussed. Also if you are reading titles by the same author you may bypass these stages as you are already  familiar with the style of writing. Also you may bypass these titles if you are following recommendations or similar titles to books you already enjoy. You are taking a chance of course and we will move on to the next set of steps.

1. Whilst reading do you feel a pull after each chapter? Have you even finished one chapter? If not, consider why. Is it due to the style of writing? The character? Or the boring story line. All grounds for elimination. However if you are aware of the story line and find it VERY intriguing you may (this is a risk!) continue despite these not being passed. I have done this twice, once it worked and once it was a let down. The title that paid off was Gone Girl. I had already seen the film and knew what would happen, the beginning was good but I did wonder when the interesting part would come, I continued and I really enjoyed it. (Thus the Domestic Noir Spree began) The one that let me down was The Painted Ocean. It had an intriguing story line, and I kept going despite not understanding where it was going. In the end, the story line had no real plot and went nowhere. It fizzled out and made no sense. I don't know how it got published if I'm honest. However even I can admire the fact the story line was able to keep me going despite not really enjoying the book.

2.  Consider if the book is causing you distress. Some books have controversial themes. I can read books that are controversial however it depends how it has been handled. With Gone Girl, I had access to the Husband and the Wife, therefore I could empathise in some sense with why he had the affair, and I could empathise with why she hated him. Other books such as Behind Her Eyes, show viewpoints of the Wife and the woman having the affair, the author honed in on how the wife tries really hard to please her husband and although she also has a sinister plan, I felt sad at her situation. The woman having the affair was relatable however I could not enjoy the book because I felt a part of the betrayal. I can read books with these themes, only if the affair is not a huge part of the story, and if the affair is hidden or not written about while it is ongoing.  So far this is the only theme that has caused elimination.

3. Whilst you are reading, do not look at reviews. It will distort how you see the book. Leave your judgement open. If you wish to see if it is worth reading, look at the overall rating but do not read reviews. Do not do this before reading a book either, look at summaries of the plot and overall rating but not actual reviews you can do this after you have finished or if you have eliminated read it then.

4. I personally like to read 1 non-fiction alongside 1 fiction book which I keep under my pillow. That way I balance out the factual information with the fantasy and creativity. If I'm reading writing books it helps with understanding and focus too.

5. With books, there may be recommendations or tips, stick a tab or fold the page( I know some people hate it, I am not one of them) and come back to it later! It is always good to learn from books and it will also help you find similar books you know you will enjoy. I am currently near the end of Running Wild, but on Boff's recommendation I picked up Wild: an elementary journal and Running Free. I also picked up Into the Wild ( I watched the movie a few years ago and have been meaning to read the book)

(Although I might appear as a book snob, I do not think anyone is obligated to read the book before the movie or read the book after the movie, it is up to them, even if I am one of those people that say oh but the book was so much better , books are a choice not an obligation)

An additional section I have included is Library Hacks:

1. If you are looking for a book, use the online system to reserve, you can reserve from any library and collect at your local library. Ensure your current email address is linked to your library account so you are notified of reservations otherwise you will not be notified and the hold date will run out.

2. If you are too lazy to find a book in the library yourself but are aware they have it, just reserve it. That way you don't have to look yourself. (I usually look myself but the books I want are usually from other libraries)

3. If you have exceeded the maximum number of books to take out, no worries! Just reserve the books you want and pick them up, and the librarian will usually take them out. (This requires you to be a local so you can observe the nice librarians and the stickler-for rules librarians) NEVER do this with NEWBIE librarians they always ask for help from their co-workers and as per 'policy' the librarians usually say you need to come back. You can recognise a newbie librarian just by looking at them, they have someone there, doing paper work, they are a new face( you should have memorised all their faces by now!) and they look slightly anxious. The maximum books allowed in my library is 16 but I always go over, I have gone up to about 22.

4. Although you can reserve titles online, I would suggest you also visit the libraries just to see the library and even pick up a few by hand, you can come across little gems by doing this. Reservations usually require you to know what you want, whereas going there helps you in your book picking skills.

5. If you visit another library make sure its part of the inter-changeable libraries network, libraries usually team up with others so you can use the same cards across libraries, in East London most work together except two I think.

6. You can use another libraries' online system, sometimes it's easier, my local library online system doesn't work with my card, but another libraries' system does. Whichever you use, get online! You can reserve, and renew titles online! Way more easier than calling or going there yourself if you are busy.

7. Check out your libraries' activities. Honestly. do it. There is so much they have, you just have to find it. Almost all libraries offer reading and poetry groups. Some (like mine) offer free script, poetry and creative writing courses. They also have book readings by authors and open mic poetry events. My library also holds free boxing for women. It is free and local, what more could you ask for!

I hope this was useful!

This post first appeared on Hijabi Hayah, please read the originial post: here

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Book Picking


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