Friday 19 December 2014

The How And Why Of Book Selection

by Dorothy Adamek

With the calendar year almost at a close and many of us sharing our top reads for 2014, I’m challenged to look at how I approach my reading list. 

I know many of you keep a To Be Read list of want to reads and must reads ... and so do I. One of my lists lives on my phone and another sits beside my bed in a very real, tottering pile. We all have them. 

But how do they evolve?

This year I’ve kept a list of all the books I’ve read, to test how I come across a book and why I decide to read it. So far, 27 books made it onto my list. More books than I read last year, but nowhere near as many as some of you voracious readers, I’m sure. There’s plenty more in that leaning tower of books I plan on getting into in the new year. 

But why... and can I as an author learn from my reader patterns?

Here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

1. I read more books recommended by someone I TRUST. 

This year, that’s been Rel Mollet. She runs the awesome book club I attend and 11 of the books I enjoyed were titles Rel recommended for our group, as well as friend to friend over lunch dates. After I’d read one of her recommendations, I knew I’d be pleased to read all the others. Some I’ve loved, others I’ve enjoyed loosely. All have challenged me in various ways and I don’t knock back anything shared by Rel because I trust she’ll find something just right for me. Her reading preferences are much like mine, and here’s the thing I learned from that. When a reader finds a trusted fellow reader, the power of word of mouth cannot be equalled.

2. I continue to read authors I’ve read and enjoyed BEFORE. 

I’m a loyal reader, so if there’s more in a collection I believe worth hunting down, I’ll find it. I’ve searched through second hand book stores to add to my stash of LaVyrle Spencer books because I’m a fan of her creative gift. Reading a LaVyrle Spencer book gives me a reader thrill as well as a lesson in fabulous storytelling. Miss Spencer hasn’t written since the 1980’s, so stylistically her writing isn’t always reflective of more advanced writing techniques, but I can forgive that because her stories grip me. And being able to turn off my internal editor and enjoy a book these days is no easy task. 

3. I read books I’ve been SENT. 

Personal relationships with authors via professional networking has resulted in my letter box being blessed by early copies of newly released books. Some of YOU, are these generous authors who have quietly snuck your books my way. And I’m so grateful! These titles get a fast pass to the front of the pile, because for me, knowing an author or meeting them in person makes the book a more desirable option.  

At the end of my experimental list keeping, I learned I am the sort of reader who responds best to the recommendation of others if it’s a face to face referral of someone I trust. 

I’m not one who bases too many of my choices on book reviews, although I know many use the reviewing method successfully for discovering new books and authors. 

I’m also someone who responds well to face to face relationships with authors and this engages my reader interest as well.

How about you?

What will best shape your 2015 book reading list?


Dorothy Adamek lives in Melbourne with her Beloved and their three gorgeous kids. 

She's the winner of the 2013 FHL ~ Touched By Love Competition, and is the 2104 Inspirational Category Winner of the TARA Writing Contest. 

Enamoured by all things 19th century, she writes The Heartbeat of Yesteryear, Historical Romance - Aussie style. Come say G'day at her blog, Ink Dots. 


  1. Dotti, great post! My book selection criteria is similar to yours and word of mouth is powerful. ACRBA blog alliance has introduced me to a number of new authors in a wide variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction and children's books.

  2. Hi Narelle, I'm glad you've found new authors to add to your reading list. I'm so looking forward to 2015 and the books I've already earmarked for the new year. :)

  3. Really enjoyed your post, Dotti. You've inspired me to keep a book log in 2015. I have no idea how many books I read in a year other than 'a lot' so I'm keen to find out. I think I've read most of LaVyrle Spencer's novels - my local library has them. Haven't read one for a few years so might be worth a revisit. Thanks Dotti :)


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