How I choose my books tag

Choosing which books to read is always a difficult task. I usually have some sort of reading list arranged in my head, but ultimately it will depend on what I feel like on the day. This is perhaps why I end up reading a few books at once.  Anyway, I saw this tag on Adventures of a Bibliophile  and I thought it would be a great idea to find out how you choose your books! So here we go….


Find a book on your shelves with a blue cover. What made you pick up that book in the first place?

Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct



I  definitely did not choose this book by its cover… I think it’s rather ugly, and I can’t be the only one as Penguin has recently changed it:

steven pinker 2

Much better, right? Although it wouldn’t count as a blue book in its new cover…

Anyways, I picked up Steven Pinker’s book as it was constantly referred to in the  Itunes U course on “Human Emotions” from Yale University (I think). It was certainly mentioned during my attempts to learn basic linguistics at university.  The Language Instinct can be quite a difficult read at times, but it is very rewarding. The most interesting concept I took away from it is Pinker’s idea that we don’t think in any specific language (ie. English or Mandarin). Pinker argues that we perceive the world through ‘mentalese’, a language restricted to thoughts – which later becomes ‘translated’ into spoken or written language.


Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed


I was quite skeptical initially about Margaret Atwood’s Hag-seed. I only read it because I was attending an event with the author… and I bought a signed copy, which made me feel guilty about not reading it. I am usually quite critical of modern ‘re-writes’, but I did enjoy this one, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with it.


Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book? 

A.S Byatt’s Unruly Times

Unruly Times

I picked up this book completely by accident. I was on a trip to the Lake District and reading Wordsworth’s The Prelude when I came across this little book in Dove Cottage (Wordsworth’s House). I loved A.S.Byatt’s Possession, so it seemed the most natural thing in the world to get a copy of her writings on Wordsworth and Coleridge.  I only read the book three years later, and I enjoyed it – although I had to say I expected it to be more of a straightforward biography rather than a collection of themed essays.
Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind


This book was recommended to me by three different people before I finally reached for it. And my goodness, am I pleased that I did!

It is the best book of fantasy that I have read for a long while. I am now trying to convince all my other friends to read it. Highly recommended.

Pick a book you discovered through book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

I am still quite new at book blogging, so I haven’t read any of the highly recommended books yet- but they are on my To-Be-Read List. Stay tuned.

Find a book on your shelves with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

Joseph Conrad’s Chance. 

Joseph Conrad Chance

It is Joseph Conrad’s 160th birthday anniversary this year, so I wanted to read as many of his works as possible. I have to admit this book was a bit of a disappointment and it might have slowed down my Conrad reading substantially…. at least for the moment.

What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?

Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit

Little Dorritt

This is not one of Dicken’s best-known works and I doubt I would have reached for it, if not for the BBC’s excellent TV adaptation. It’s a treasure. Make sure you have a look at it – or if you’re strapped for time, watch the TV series.

I usually try not to see the TV adaptation of a book, unless I have read it first or I am planning not to read it at all. The only other notable exception to this rule is …. George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones – but I wasn’t planning to read those books initially… It just happened as a logical consequence of loving the TV series.


Think of your all-time favourite books. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

I think most of my all-time favourite books (all of Jane Austen’s novels, certainly) have been recommended to me by my Mum. She is absolutely the best source of book recomendations, and I trust her judgement. We very rarely disagree about a book, and if we do…. it’s usually because I am far more enthusiastic about fantasy than she is!


Please consider yourself tagged if you find the subject interesting . Would love to find out how you guys pick your books….



Featured Image Credit: Gellinger @

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