1. Realising a book you love isn’t from a first time author – BACK CATALOGUES guys
Robert Jackson Bennett is my prime example of this. City of Stairs was so utterly stunning I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of him before. Surely this must have been his debut novel? But no, it wasn’t and now I have even more books to enjoy!
2. Finding a book you’ve been looking for in a used bookstore
I have very strong feelings about switching covers partway through a series – especially when the original covers already suit the series. The Dresden Files is a prime example of this. I’ve read all the books through the library and I love them. But when I came to buy the first I was horrified to discover they’d changed the covers – definitely for the worse. So I never bought the books. But a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a near pristine copy of the first book in the original cover design for 20p. Sheer delight ensued…maybe now I can find the rest.
3. Beautiful book covers (over beautiful books)
The Gracekeepers is a brilliant example of this. The cover is utterly stunning and incredibly well atuned to its contents. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when the cover illustration just doesn’t fit the story inside so it’s a wonderful pleasure when it does. It’s pretty much a perfect cover design, North and her bear nestled in their coracle on the front, Callanish on her island on the back and a wonderful surprise under the dust jacket.
4. Discovering a new Top Ten Book
I’ve had a couple of these since I first started this blog – City of Stairs was definitely one and The Goblin Emperor was another. I love a lot of books and I rate quite a few at five stars, but there are some books that grab hold of you and don’t let go – ever. Those are usually the ones you want to reread immediately after finishing the first read-through.
5. Book Tokens
Allocated book money – there are few things better than that. That said I pretty much consider Amazon vouchers book tokens as well…or birthday money…or that couple of quid I found at the bottom of my handbag…
6. Well done TV/Radio/Movie adaptations
There are a few duds out there where they start messing with the plot or make horrendous casting choices. But when you hit on a good adaptation it’s so satisfying to see characters you love come to life on screen (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell)/ on the radio (Neverwhere). I’m looking forward to the upcoming adaptations of His Dark Materials, American Gods and Good Omens.
7. When books you believe to be standalones/end of series suddenly get sequels
I write this largely with TLWTASAP in mind but also in relation to Nix’s recently announced sequel to Abhorsen – Goldenhand. Any new books from authors you love are great but when it’s a sequel to an existing favourite it’s even better. If James Clemens ever writes the third Godslayer book I’ll probably faint.
8. Getting that ARC you really want, off of NetGalley
Sometimes I can go a bit click-happy on Netgalley and I end up with books that aren’t up my street just because they’re free. But it’s a privilege to get hold of advance copies of books I’m really excited about and I got lucky a few times last year. The Girl From Everywhere was on read now and it was brilliant. I whizzed through it in one go and I’m working my way though The Masked City at the moment.
9. Random book conversations with strangers
I’ve had a few of these over the years – ranging from a quick chat about Rushdie with an old man on the bus to an in-depth discussion of Practchett’s social commentary with a couple of students on campus. One of the fun things that comes from reading in public and further evidence that books can bring people together!
10. Wandering around libraries and bookshops
One of the reassuring things in life is that there will always be more books out there than anyone can read in one lifetime. The opportunity to go searching for possible new finds is one of my favourite things. If I’m going to meet a friend in town I always have to add on an hour before or after to go and get lost looking for books.