Thursday, June 1, 2017

Armchair BookExpo Day #2 What Do Readers Want? & Lets Collaborate

Image created by Boquilla's Window of Big Bend Productions
Today's Day #2 of Armchair BookExpo and the topic is What Do Readers Want? and Lets Collaborate

What makes or breaks a book?

A character's voice and how well I feel immersed in the setting?  Reading a lot of fantasy, I really love a story where the world building takes me to this other place.    I love details like

"Seeds, drifting in from beyond the walls of Castle Gloom, had found fertile soil, and grown, undisturbed by mortals.  Ivy crept over the battlements, thick, black, and shimmering with ice.  Scarlet roses bloomed despite the snow, their heads hanging from worn statues like blood drops. Oak trees rose from the broken flagstones, their branches having brought down the walls and now spread out high and wide over the keep." (from Dream Magic by Joshua Khan). 

  I also want to be able to relate to the character in some way or just a character that stands out and is different from something that I've already read.  I love characters that have a sense of humor, are snarky or one's that take me back to a younger me.  There has to be a strong plot that I can follow. 

How do we rate the books?

A five-star book for me is one that I could read over and over, I absolutely loved the book and it's on my Goodreads favorites list.  These are the books that when the author has a new release coming out I'll preorder cause I have to have it.   After that, my rating really depends on my mood while reading the book, is it memorable?  Is it really geared toward middle grade or more YA?  Do the characters work for me?  Would this be something that my kiddo would want to read?  I think to determine whether it's great literature I'd need more formal education, but I can usually determine whether or not it's a good story to me.   
What do we want from an author event?

I'm not a very good judge of this because I' haven't been to an event in years.  Clive Barker and Stephen King were the only two that I went to and that was years ago.  Stephen King only did a reading and wouldn't sign books and Clive Barker was lovely, it was at the Tattered Cover in Downtown Denver (stores closed and moved since then).  As I recall it was a ticketed event so it went pretty smoothly.  I'd love to have more in my area.  

How does diversity representation fit into all of this? 

One of my reading goals for the year is to read books with more diverse characters and from diverse authors.  Stories that do all the things listed in this quote: 

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.” 
― Rudine Sims Bishop

Let's Collaborate & Listen:

 The online book community has changed so much over the years. How do we keep up within our own book-sphere as well as within the community as a whole (i.e., libraries, bookstores, authors, publishers, etc.)? 

My main resources for what is going on in the book sphere is Twitter and Goodreads.  I tend to follow my favorite authors, bloggers, a few publishing companies on Twitter and follow their blogs too.  Most of the authors that I know have all been very approachable and it feels like a community atmosphere.   I also read through the upcoming monthly releases on Goodreads or Barnes and Noble and check NetGalley or Edelweiss for review copies.  There's a used bookstore in town which I don't frequent as much as I used to, they just don't get much turnover.  However, my library is awesome!!  I've recommended books to them and they're pretty receptive to getting them.   

 What do you look for in a book?  What makes it special?  Feel free to leave your thoughts or a link to your post if you're participating in Armchair BookExpo.     


  1. Great post! I'm hoping to read a lot more own-voices this year to boost my diversity in reading.

  2. Like you I mostly rely on Twitter and GoodReads. I used to use Reader until Google shut if down. Armchair Book Expo day 2: What do readers want? and Collaboration

  3. I would say I rate books based on what the book inspired as I read. I think many of us probably do.

    Then there are instances when one book may have a cliche that bothers me (so I down the rating), and another may feature the same cliche, but for whatever reason I forgave it this flaw. As you also mention, sometimes it's for a simple reason like loving the characters, which is always an important factor. :)