Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Needle In a Haystack

I tend to skip around a lot in my reading. Anything that catches my eye is likely to end up on my list, regardless of topic. So I've been thinking about just what it is that's likely to catch my eye. The book To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting does it just right.

Firstly, it's pretty. Just look at it: it's interesting, it's a bit creepy, and it's completly appropriate for the topic of the book. Once the cover has seduced me into picking up the book, I take a look at the back cover. The description sounds interesting, and as a bonus, it has a nice quote from an author who I've read and enjoyed (in this case, Jenny Uglow, author of )The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World).

So now I open the book and take a look at the table of contents: The Dragon and the Tartar Lamb, The Mastadon and the Taxonomy of Memory, This Curious Old Gentleman, Why Boiling People is Wrong, Three Flying Du...wait, what? Why Boiling People is Wrong? You've got me; I'm in. I've just got to know the answer to that question, so onto my reading list it goes.

How about you? What catches your eye when browsing for books? How do you find something new? What makes you pick up a book from an author you've never heard of or on a subject you normally wouldn't be interested in?