Judge a book by its cover, author or subject? | Sunday Observer

Judge a book by its cover, author or subject?

12 January, 2020

Twelve days have passed since the dawn of the New Year, and still it’s the month of the year when people’s motivation is high to make changes. It may be a resolution to become slim, healthier, earn more money, reduce drinking, and so on.

My only resolution was to read more books than last year. Statistically, the ‘more’ amounts to 30 books – that is,upgrading from 24 last year. With a committed effort, I believe it is an achievable target. In addition to purchasing printed books, I also buy e-books from Amazon and download them to my Kindle e-book reader. Since e-books are very much cheaper than printed ones, I can keep the cost within my budget.

It has been said that reading as a hobby is gradually losing its appeal as opposed to Internet gaming, blogging, listening to podcasts and iPod and watching Netflix and popular drama on television.

However, in reality there is a large segment of population who buy or borrow books regularly. Membership in libraries are not decreasing, while e-books are becoming more and more popular. The glass is far more than half full.

Of course, there is a difference. Today, everyone seems to be reading the same new books. I asked a friend whose hobby is reading how he selects books. “I follow my nose. I am always on the hunt for the next book that’s going to rock my world.” But if you visit any bookstore, you’re unlikely to see many people using their nose, they just head straight for the book rack having ‘new’ or the ‘latest’ editions.

Finding good books

Finding good books to read can at times appear to be a troublesome prospect. However, in this age of global Internet communities and online sharing, you’re never far away from an incredible find. Let me give you a few hints.

(1) Go to http://bookseer.com/ and ask what to read next, and based on your preferences, they’ll kindly suggest a similar author and book.

(2) https://www.goodreads.com/is a nifty community website which allows you to connect with literature fans around the world. Millions of books are rated on Goodreads; sign up, read the reviews, see the high scores, and find good books within minutes.

(3) Take a Look at Best-Books-Ever Lists. There are plenty of them, but this Top 100 Books of all-Time list was voted for by writers from around the world. You can find the list here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/may/08/books.booksnews

(4) Another impressive online resource, Which-Book enables millions of combinations of factors and then suggests books which most closely match your needs. Here is the site: https://www.whichbook.net/

(5) Avoid Best Sellers. This may sound like odd advice, but the books you see at the top of the charts may not exactly be riveting reads. Books can succeed merely by an author’s name, or through a massive advertising campaign.

If you really want to read a best seller, check out a few reliable reviews beforehand.

Do you know that there are two type of readers, the accidental reader and the intentional reader? The accidental reader is one who says, “I accidentally found this book” or “Somebody recommended this book, so I bought it.”

The intentional reader is the person who has graduated from the accidental mindset. He (or she) is a regular buyer of books.

Four reasons

And, there are four reasons why any reader would buy a book: (1) Entertainment: An example of this is fiction that you read simply for entertainment. (2) Inspiration: I like to read biographies because they inspire me. (3) How To: There are books that teach how to do something, such as how to raise money, or how to master the art of selling. (4) Knowledge: Examples of knowledge books are philosophy and health or career-related books.

There are three things a common reader normally considers when choosing books. All three are equally important.

Author: If you choose books based on the author, it is similar to choosing which movies to watch based on the director.

Reviews: Certain books get raving reviews, and that’s worth paying attention to.

Subject matter: For instance, if you’re promoted as a division manager, it might be worthwhile to immerse yourself in the best leadership books.

Why read?

I remember that in the days when I first began to buy books, almost all those I knew were looking for books that would somehow alter their lives. They believed books could change lives. It’s the same today. Books can be incredibly powerful. They have the ability to suck us in, take us on adventures, and influence the way we think.

They can teach us, move us, give us new perspectives, and help shape us. And the most powerful ones change our lives forever.

Encouraging children to read

Many young people today are not used to books; they have not inherited a graceful way of reading; their birthday gifts are not books; they do not have stories read to them; they are not aware of any public library other than their school library; and most likely, they were never told that books could change their lives.

Parents have a responsibility to encourage their children to read regularly. Avoid nagging if you want your child to read. Nothing puts a child off faster than being forced to do something.

Take them to good bookshops. They would enjoy the adventure of going past front displays in bookstores to the back rows where surprises lurk or going online and browsing till something catches their fancy. Let them follow their instincts.

The importance of reading to your child daily cannot be emphasized enough -- so make it a priority. Also, be consistent with reading aloud together, trips to the library and other encouraging activities.

If you are an accidental reader, it’s time to think of graduating to an intentional reader. You can do it yourself.