Magic Words in Book Blurbs

Instead of a book review I wanted to share a post I read at Katherine’s site – I Wish I Lived in a Library.  She was talking about Magic Words which draw us to a book.  Her article is titled Ramblings from the Stacks: Magic Words in Book Blurbs.  Click on the link to read her post.  I’m hoping she makes Ramblings from the Stacks a regular feature.

Certain key words in titles grab our attention, makes us pick up a book while roaming about the bookstore looking for new materials.

Quite a number of years ago I was perusing the tables at Borders Bookstore. (I miss that bookstore, it was great).  I saw the title A Good Year by Peter Mayle.  At the time, I had not read anything by Mayle but I was attracted to the book cover – A  man standing in a vineyard hoisting a wine glass.

Since I was a world class Francophile at the time, the setting being in France and featuring wine had me hooked.  I have now read many novels by Peter Mayle.

This is how I discovered another of my favorite authors – Edward Rutherfurd.  If it’s set in Ireland, I’m on it.  When I gazed upon one of the Dublin saga books I knew I wanted to give this author a try.  Magic words – Ireland, France and Wine.

Katherine listed 10 of her magic words that attract her to books.  If asked to quickly name what attracts me to books, I think this list is fairly accurate.

  1. A setting in Ireland.  Just about any time frame will do, as long as I am reading about Ireland.
  2. England or Scotland – same thing.  If the setting is there I  usually enjoy it.
  3. Books such as the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  or The Land Girl as they are set in the WW II era.  I like the focus on regular, everyday common people and reading about how they adapted, challenges they took on.
  4.  Police Procedurals, especially those set in the British Isles.



5. Ex Pat literature – a title or blurb about Americans settling in a foreign country and starting a new life. It’s a common dream for us, to pack up and move to another culture.

6. Books set in Australia or New Zealand. I have read all 12 books in The Australian series by William Stuart Long and many more Aussie themed books.

7. Food and Wine.  So you’d think some cozy mysteries would fit in for me but they are too…..tame.  Books where there are meals shared, food described in pubs or dinner parties.  If there is a glass of wine on the cover I usually pick it up to read the book jacket and see if the story interest me.

8. Apocalyptic literature. Anything from Justin Cronin’s The Passage to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to Nevil Shute’s On the Beach.  Books like that.

Thanks to Katherine for that thought provoking post today.   I hope there will be more topics in her Ramblings from the Stacks theme.

Please share what attracts you to a book, especially if the author is unknown to you.

Happy reading!




6 thoughts on “Magic Words in Book Blurbs

  1. Very interesting, Tina. I think that I am more drawn to the art covers than words. I will really have to think on that…….I know there was a time that I picked up any fiction (and non fiction) work that had “monarch” or “queen” in the title because I was obsessed with the Tudors, Stewarts, and the French monarchy before the revolution. Really great post and I will check out the link.


  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and it inspired you! I’m trying to do the Ramblings on the 3rd Monday of the month. So far I’ve done 3 but we’ll see how it goes! We have a lot of similar magic words. I can’t resist an Ireland setting and a British police procedural automatically goes on my TBR. I think the only place we don’t line up (other than olives) is the Apocalyptic literature. I’ve just never quite got into that.


  3. Tina — You suggested that I read what both you and Katherine had to say about “magic words” that convince you to read (or at least consider reading) a book.

    You both list certain places and eras that you like to read about — in a similar way, I like historical fiction. I am not very particular about the location or time frame but want it very well researched! I especially like to read novels or memoirs about unusual places but prefer that the author really have roots and experiences in those places, such as “Americanah” which I read recently. Or the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrente. Or Margaret Atwood’s early and middle life books situated in Toronto. Or Murakami’s novels in Japan.

    Interesting question… thanks! … mae

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mae, I’m so glad you weighed in on this question. I liked that post by Katherine and it got me thinking about what inspires me to pick up a book, just to check it out. I also like historical fiction and it sweeps me to another place. I haven’t read Atwood in ages, must rectify that.


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