What unimportant elements draw you to a book?

October 6, 2016 Fun Questions 15

Fun Questions LogoJoin me as I ask a Fun Question that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

What unimportant elements draw you to a book?

I think we all have things that draw us to certain books – the author, narrator (for us audio junkies), rave reviews, heck even a great cover can pull you in. But I realized recently that there are a few things that really seem so small and yet, I will pick up a book for them anytime. It made me wonder, what small, unimportant elements might pull others to books.

Here are some of the things that pull me in:

  • Pets! I am a sucker for animals, especially dogs, but any pet. If you tell me that this book had a really sweet relationship between guy and dog, I’m sold. I’m already thinking how much I will probably like that character and it pulls me in. The animal doesn’t need a significant role, to be the main focus of the book, or to have any supernatural qualities. They can quite literally just be the dumb cat next door that our hero can’t help but feed and I want to read the book.
  • Location. I read a series years ago that took place in Arlington, where I was living at the time. It was the coolest thing – I could drive down the streets my characters were in. I did drive by the hospital mentioned on a regular basis. So now, I’m always on the lookout for books that take place in an area I know well. I want that heightened experience that comes from familiarity.
  • Main Character’s Job. This has had different impacts on me, depending on my point in life. Early last year I read a book where the main character was a kindergarten teacher… like me. Well I was having a hell of a time and I hated every mention of her job. I needed to escape kinderland and having it in my books was too much. But around January my mood towards teaching Kindergarten changed. I started loving my job, despite frustration. These days, if you tell me the main character is a kinder teacher, I want to read it. Even if that job isn’t in the book more than 10% of the time. It draws me to the character.
  • Main Character’s appearance. I read books all the time filled with gorgeous people. And I love them. They’re great. But gah, they do not feel real or relateable. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t live in a world filled with gorgeous people. I don’t know anyone that is necessarily unattractive, but they are real. With flaws. So when I find a book where the main character or her sidekick or whoever is a bit plus sized, a bad dresser, zit faced, etc – I’m drawn to it. I like that the author bothered to make them real and still good people, with love lives, success, and friends. Because I think that’s a message that needs to be sent – in fact, I sometimes feel it should be coupled in with diversity in general (but that’s another post for another day).

That’s my list! So…Are there any seemingly unimportant details that draw you to books?

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

15 Responses to “What unimportant elements draw you to a book?”

  1. Alexandria

    The location – and time period – are possibly the most important aspects that determine whether I’ll pick up a book. I love my historical fiction and my sci-fi, so that’s probably why it matters so much to me.

    The protagonist’s job is also quite important – eg. I’ll read something about a radio presenter, but not a CEO. The job has to either be related to my interests or be totally out there for it to grab my attention.

    The character’s appearance doesn’t matter to me so much as long as they aren’t one of those characters who doesn’t know they’re beautiful.

    I’m also more likely these days to read books written in the third person – first person doesn’t cut it for me anymore, and I’m not sure why. I particularly like third person, present tense for novels since it’s not very common.

    I also tend to be interested in books with a female protagonist, but usually put down the book as soon as the blurb mentions a male character who isn’t explicitly a relative, friend, or enemy. That’s because I’m too wary of romance.

    This was a great and thought-provoking post!
    Alexandria recently posted…Top Ten Characters I’d Name a Cat AfterMy Profile

  2. Emily Alfano

    Pets is such a good one! Usually cats, but I love cats in fantasy books because they always talk and I think it’s hilarious! The most recent one that comes to mind is Grimalkin from the Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa

    I can’t think of any that come to mind for me, but I’m not overly picky! I do tend to love books that talk about books though (the irony right?) Might be why I fell in love with Inkheart as a little girl! The book descriptions in the book were just SO GOOD and I knew I wanted to grow up one day in a house like Meggie and Mo’s!

    Great post Berls! SO much fun to read!
    Emily Alfano recently posted…Review: Empire of StormsMy Profile

  3. Lola

    Oh great post! Pets are a big pull for me too, it’s one reasons why I like cozies as they often have pets. I love reading about pets. I am currently reading a sci-fi anthology with pets, it’s called Pets in Space, it’s fun so far! And I love it when the main character has a job or hobby that I don’t know as much about. I enjoy reading about different kind of jobs and hobbies. I also like characters with flaws as sometimes those flaws can make them so much more relatable, similar like characters that aren’t super pretty. Great topic!
    Lola recently posted…Review: His to Protect by Karen RockMy Profile

  4. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Oh, I totally just read a book the other week and a large part of the reason was because I saw a review about how the MC had rotting teeth and the love interest had one eye (kind of extreme, I know lol, but it was a dystopian), so I completely agree about physically imperfect characters being a draw. (Of course the characters ended up having some futuristic surgery thing and became perfect -_- but what can you do.)

    I also am drawn to books set where I live, except I don’t seem to find many, at least not in SFF. I did read one this year in which the MC went to where I went to college, but there was never really anything specific mentioned, so that was disappointing :-/

    I can’t think of what other little things I like even though I’m sure there are more. I have a post planned about weird things in reviews that make you more interested, but that’s not really the same thing. This is such a fun idea for a post though!
    Kristen recently posted…Mini Reviews: Graphic Novels – The Nightmare Before Christmas, Morning Glories Vol. 1, iZombie Vol. 1My Profile

  5. Jessica

    Location can definitely be a draw! Hardly ever has a book in my genre been set in St. Louis! The closest I came was when Kim Harrison’s Hollow series had a road trip that involved a stop in my fair city…and resulted in toppling the Arch that we’re known for! LOL! I did pick up Paula Stokes’ latest YA read that has a dystopic/thriller kind of vibe and takes place in St. Louis as well! Still need to read that one though!

    Another thing I love is when the main character or secondary character has an intense love for books! And yeah, Katy from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series was just awesome because she was a book blogger! So wish I started my blogging life at 17 and that this series was around…then I could totally crush hard on Daemon without feeling skeevy! LOL!
    Jessica recently posted…Random ThursdayMy Profile

    • Berls

      I lived in St. Louis for a while, so that’s an area I keep an eye out for. But I haven’t seen many either. The Hollows was a fun run in St. Louis!!

      I do love an intense love for books – and book blogging is super cool to find in books! Totally agree 🙂

  6. Katherine

    Location is a big factor for me too. If it’s somewhere I’m really familiar with I just can’t resist! I also am drawn in by jobs – anything connected to history or museums, librarians, or teachers are always high up on the list for me. I also can resist anyone who does something in home renovation. Or really if there’s anything involving home renovation anywhere in the story I’m probably going to want to read it! Especially if it’s an old house. Great topic!
    Katherine recently posted…Crepe Factor – Blog Tour Review + GiveawayMy Profile

  7. Bookworm Brandee

    I do love a book set in Colorado, Berls. Or even in places that I’ve spent a great deal of time (Seattle, Portland 😉 ) It does enhance my connection to the story because I can more easily envision the places being talked about or even drive through the characters’ neighborhoods, etc. (I’ve been known to cruise Ford’s neighborhood a time or two! 😉 ) I also like stories with “real” characters because it absolutely increases my connection to a story and the characters when they feel like they could be me and my friends/family. Like you are with pets, I love a story with kids. Although I do prefer the kids not be gratuitously added, I’m a sucker for a guy who loves kids, loves his kids, etc. I’ll have to think on this to see if I can come up with any other unimportant elements that draw me in…great question!
    Happy Thursday, my friend! {{{hugs}}}
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…#OctobeRecFest Review ~ Happily Ever Now ~ Jen MeyersMy Profile

    • Berls

      Oh yes! I love kids too. But they have to be written really well. I know kids and how they act, so if they written too old or too young, it bugs me.

  8. Greg

    Great topic! Pets or a cool animal (especially a paranormal) will definitely get me interested. I’ve only read a few books that had locations I knew, but it was definitely cool!

    Same with relatable people, I don’t want to read about perfect, cardboard cutout people all the time. Give me some flaws! 🙂
    Greg recently posted…Stranger Things TagMy Profile

    • Berls

      I think it’s interesting how many people agree with me on the relatable people and yet, there not the norm in books. Wonder if it’s just because authors have more fun writing “perfection”?

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