Book Crack: What Draws You To The Books You Choose


Recently a friend of mine asked me for good book suggestions for her to recommend to her book club.  I rattled off a few I had really enjoyed recently including Silent Sister and The Midwife’s Confession, both by Diane Chamberlain.  Later, my friend sent me a message saying they were going with Silent Sister, but she was curious about the author writing both of the books about suicide and if that was her niche.  I hadn’t really thought about that when I suggested the books and as I replied I thought about my current books I had going.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand is a book about a teenager committing suicide.  All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (listening to currently in my car), is about two teens who develop a friendship over their suicide attempt.  I did not pick up on this theme until my friend pointed it out to me and I did not want to tell her what had just dawned on me, “apparently I am drawn to books about suicide.”


As I processed that thought, curious as to why these books may catch my attention I think I have some ideas:

1.  A suicide – or untimely death of any reason, can make for good (I know the word “good” sounds terrible here) book footage.  There are many ways you go with this… a false suicide (person actually still lives as it is a coverup), a murder disguised as suicide and then who did it, a true suicide where those left behind have much to sort out.

2.  Puzzle solving.  I like puzzles and things I have to figure out.  A death synopsis opens that up for me.

3.  Emotions.  I do not search for book after book that will rip me up, however a book that can bring out any kind of strong emotion – fear, sorrow, love, hate… is usually a well written book.

4.  Creepy curious desire of the unknown.  In a suicidal book there is much to interpret.  You are opening yourself up to a loss for all those involved.


Of course, my book reading does not consist of death alone (thank goodness!).  I am also drawn to well developed dystopian reads, books centered around women’s friendships, food memoirs, and I hate to admit it… books about school shootings.  Of course, we read all the time out of our “book crack” genres, and enjoy many other topics as well – but there are those certain topics that draw us back again and again to our dealer.  I mean… book dealer.  I mean book seller.

Book Journey, Harry Potter, Darth Vadar
Don’t be judgey…. the heart wants what the heart wants.


So I am curious.  What is it that draws us to the books that we read a little about or hear a little about and suddenly we MUST HAVE THAT BOOK!  It has happened to us all so don’t deny it. 🙂  When a book appeals to us to the point that we order it right away, what happened?  I am willing to bet it is not because we had nothing else to read.


What topics in books are like book crack to you?  Which books can you not resist?

18 thoughts on “Book Crack: What Draws You To The Books You Choose

  1. I love to read stories that evoke a number of emotions in me. Book crack to me is paranormal stories of intrigue. I can’t get enough of them, a strong well written character will draw me and never let me go.

  2. Thanks for your post, very interesting. I had to laugh at myself though because I didn’t “get” the word “crack”. I thought, mmmmm, book crack, what does that mean, and my mind brought forward Leonard Cohen’s words, there’s a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. But then I “got it”. That said, I liked my interpretation of a double meaning.

  3. I can’t resist a good cover. I do judge a book by it’s cover. I love a good monster story in picture books. I love a good detective story and I am really loving all of the dystopian novels coming out.

  4. A good topic to discuss. I like mysteries, all kinds. I draw the line of a lot sex and violence. I find it hard to handle books that suspenseful I like cold cases, cats and dogs some historical books. I don’t care for romances I find too many bedroom scenes. I don’t mind so called Christian stories unless they are to much preaching. I prefer no sex or violence why I like cozy mysteries. Food and craft stories are not favorites. I will read a good novel but it seems my taste is in minority.
    Some of my favorite authors ebooks are now cost as paperback. I am not reading them until they come down in price.

  5. hm. I am sure there are lots of things that call to me. I read a lot of fantasy so I do enjoy alternate worlds and the whole sort of make-believe… I will definitely be drawn to a book with a strong female character. Those are probably the books that end up on my wish list, or in my shopping cart, the fastest. I just don’t think there are enough of them out there.

  6. For me, I think it is books where I can imagine myself being in and loving the setting or where I’d like to be able to do what the characters do. That might be why I read so many of those knitting club books. I’ll probably never be able to knit or crochet because of my shaky hands. I learned the basics as a child, but now that I have the time and inclination to really try knitting, I can’t!

  7. This is a tough one for me, actually, ’cause there’s not just one genre or whatever. Typically, when I HAVE to get a book, it’s either been talked up in a way that I know I’ll love it, or it’s by an author I love and am anticipating the next book, or something like Harry Potter which is self-explanatory. I just know I want to be moved to feel or think something or both, whether it’s laugh, cry, anger, fear, whatever. I know I want a bit of a rollercoaster ride with some dips, turns and twists, not the relative dullness of a merry-go-round. Most of all I want to be in the character’s head and the world the author’s created. Though I’m partial to fantasy, I’m not stuck there at all. Sometimes I can’t wait for a book because a friend wrote it. Typically it’s because I already love an author and/or illustrators prior work 🙂

  8. Mysteries, mysteries, crime novels, mysteries, psychological thrillers, mysteries, mysteries…do you see a trend? I do read other things occasionally. I like books with a school setting, like a private school or university or boarding school. I sometimes like books that include the supernatural – witches are a special favorite – Hogwarts anyone? I like epistolary novels, books that are written in letter form or now texts or emails. And I am a cover junkie – love a good cover – I love a good setting of any kind that becomes almost like a character, making me learn more about another part of the world. I’ll stop now. Did I mention mysteries? 😉

  9. historical fiction or even historical mysteries, with great background study. What attracts me is also not the plot, but the writing. For instance, the last 2 books by Rachel Joyce, also Patrick Modiano, the latest Nobel Prize in Literature. Nothing really happens. I read that type of book for the beauty of the style, just as I read Proust

  10. I am addicted to psychological thrillers…I also love almost anything with suspense, especially if the suspense deals with long-buried secrets. I love layers of secrets, the longer they are buried, the better. LOL

  11. Hm Interesting. I’m a romance junkie so those are my main ones but in those BDSM reads or the Fake Mates theme would be my crack. I love the fake mates. It can just bring so much fire and humor to the table since usually they’ve got an enemies to lovers thing happening at the same time.

  12. Time travel, being inside someone else’s mind/body (a la Freaky Friday), repetitive existence like Groundhog Day, or something kind of like time travel where the main character wakes after years of being asleep. I just picked up a book from the library, partly because the author wrote a stunning book last year and I’m hoping for more of the same (last year’s read was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North), but also because of the description. It’s called Touch, and it’s described as a story about the main character who can switch bodies with someone by touching them. That was all I had to read of the description to know that I wanted to read it right away.

  13. Sheila, this is a great idea for a post. For me, if the writing is not good, I can’t read it. I once rushed from a movie theater to a book store after seeing a Nicholas Sparks movie. But I had to stand in line to pay, and by the time it was my turn, I just returned the book to the shelf. My book crack is women who walk away from their lives–like Anne Tyler’s Ladder of Years. Also books about relationships.

  14. I’m drawn to mysteries and characters that are realistic and easy to relate to, even if they live in a dystopian or historical world. I’m all about character-driven stories.

    I just read a great food memoir – Relish by Lucy Knisley. Have you read that one yet? I haven’t read many food memoirs but this one was good. I may need to read others.

  15. Such an interesting question! I don’t think there’s any specific topic or subject that makes me want to read a book, but I’m very drawn by any kind of Cinderella/underdog situation. And books about books or bookstores are always very appealing.

  16. I don’t think you have read this one, but I know you would like The Suicide Collectors by David Oppegaard. I read it the first time in 2009, before I started blogging, and finally reread it this year, so I could do a review for it. It’s one I know you would like because it deals with suicides and is a dystopian book. It’s also by a Minnesota author.

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