Pick and Choose

05 Jan

I’ve been entering a lot of ARC/reviewer giveaways on Goodreads because hey, free books. Plus things in the mail for me that aren’t bills/requests for money! I’ve been entering these giveaways for about 8 weeks now, and I’ve already received a huge stack awaiting my attention:

Of course, I haven’t yet gotten around to reading many of these…and by ‘many’ I mean ‘two,’ of the thirteen I’ve received. To be fair, I’ve also read two books which are prequels to books on this list…so maybe we could say I’ve read four? Books I won, through Dec 31, 2012:

  • Vortex by Julie Cross*^
  • Kept by Shawntelle Madison^
  • Jinx by Sage Blackwood
  • The Black Rose by James Bartholomeusz^
  • Saucer Country Vol. 1: Run by Paul Cornell
  • Unreliable: A Novel of Suspense by Molleen Zwiker
  • The Key by Lynsay Sands*
  • December’s Thorn: A Fever Devilin Novel by Phillip DePoy*
  • Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman
  • The Scoundrel Takes a Bride by Stefanie Sloane^
  • An Affair of Vengance by Jamie Michele*
  • Tangled Web by Crista McHugh
  • For the Love of a Goblin Warrior by Shona Husk^
  • Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
  • The Scottish Movie by Paul Collis
  • The Riptide Ultra-Glide by Tim Dorsey^
  • The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab*
  • Killmaiden’s Compendium of Uncommon Occurances by James A. Shapiro
  • Back to the Good Fortune Diner by Vicki Essex*
  • Glen & Tyler’s Honeymoon Adventure by J. B. Sanders*
  • Run, Clarissa, Run by Rachel Eliason*

* = I have not yet received my copy of this book^ = This book is #2 or greater in a series
bold = I’ve read this one! (and any preceding books in the series)

As you may be able to tell, I’ve been entering a LOT of giveaways. But I haven’t been entering them all. Which begs the question – how do I choose which ones to enter? Obviously I don’t enter any where I honestly think I will never read the book. So how, then, do I determine whether I’m likely to read a book? What criteria do I use?

  • I like science fiction/fantasy/paranormal, but I don’t like vampires, zombies, horror, or military.
  • I like romance, but I don’t like Christian, BDSM, Medieval, or Scottish.
  • I like adult and young adult fiction, but will read some middle-grade if it looks really good.
  • I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but will if it’s about physics/astronomy/the history thereof/gender issues/diversity issues/LGBTQ issues/the history thereof.
  • I’m not a fan of poetry or inspirational/self-help books.
  • I like books that are long enough to have substance, but not so long I get bored halfway through (usually 300-500 pages)
  • I find it easier to empathize with characters who are: female, intelligent/observant, flawed, introverted, and/or between the ages of 10 and 40 (roughly).
  • I like worlds I can sink into and strong female characters.
  • I like books that make me smile – or laugh.
  • I like pretty covers and back-of-book blurbs (or first pages, when available) which are well-written and intriguing.

Other factors that may sway me towards reading a book:

  • Author is female, a person of color, from a non-English-speaking country, and/or a member of the LGBTQ community
  • The protagonist(s) is/are female, people of color, disabled, and/or members of the LGBTQ community
  • The book appears to have themes of confronting/interacting with/surviving the kyriarchy
  • The book is about non-kyriarchal places/people/communities/cultures, or a culture about which I am specifically curious
  • The book is released by a known publishing house and/or has a number of favorable reviews

Factors likely to make me drop the book like a it was a flaming pile of excrement:

  • Blurb/title/excerpt is worryingly racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic/etc (shorthand: TEH PRIVILEGE)
  • Mentions God/Christ/Jesus in the inspirational/recovering faith/being a good Christian sort of way (shorthand: book is full of TEH JESUS)
  • Blatant ignorance of basic science (shorthand: PHYSICS TEACHER SMASH)
  • Metaphysical-Freemason-Illuminati-Astrology-Conspiracy bullshit (shorthand: BULLSHIT)
  • Blurb/excerpt is cliched/poorly-written/self-important (shorthand: VANITY PRESS)

Sometimes I also enter giveaways if I know a book will amuse and/or annoy my friends (like all of the Maya 2012 book giveaways I keep entering in hopes of watching Mitu splutter when I force her to read it, or a picture book whose title character has the same name as my best friend.)

TL;DR: I like my books speculative, romantic, non-kyriarchical,  and well-written with sympathetic characters. I will cheerfully chuck your book across the room if it is full of TEH JESUS, TEH BULLSHIT, TEH PRIVILEGE, TEH VANITY, or TEH CRAP SCIENCE.

What do you like to read? What criteria do you use when looking at authors, characters, style, and content? What are your red flags for identifying burn-worthy books? And what have you been reading of late?


Posted by on 5.1.2013 in Books


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4 responses to “Pick and Choose

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster

    6.1.2013 at 8:30 am

    Characters are the big draw for me. I want to read characters who I’d enjoy sitting down and having coffee with. This doesn’t mean I have to like them, but I have to know and appreciate who they are.

    My first book of the year was an abysmal shortfall on that front. The character didn’t have interests or hobbies, nor a clear, consistent sense of self; the author would build her up as one thing (telling, not showing) then contradict that in the next scene while expecting the reader to hold the tenet as truth nevertheless.

    I will not be reading in in that series. I will be reading every Montmaray book written, because those are characters for many coffee trips!

    • Myriad

      6.1.2013 at 11:53 am

      I agree, characters are incredibly important! I have read – and enjoyed – books with weaker characters, but those were books that were more about IDEAS than people, and I made a conscious decision not to try to like any of the characters.

      Generally speaking, though, I completely agree!

  2. mitukagome

    6.1.2013 at 1:00 pm

    I tried to win For the Love of a Goblin Warrior. You’ll have to let me read that one.

    • Myriad

      6.1.2013 at 4:57 pm

      Will do, once I get to it 🙂


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