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So Many Books! How Do You Choose Your Summer Reads?

by Dana Mentink

It summer! Best summer treat ever? Extra time to read, read, read! So many books, so little time. How in the world am I to winnow down the possibilities? I’ve got a few personal guidelines that help me determine what I pick up off the bookshelf or download my Kindle. Over the years my rules have changed, but here are the three I’m operating under now.

#1: The Mayan Calendar Rule

I know it’s a hot topic right now, this apocalyptic, the world is about to be wiped out at any moment type thing, but I’m just not that into it. If the back cover copy is about a germ that’s going to end the world, or a zombie rampage that will bring down civilization as we know it, I’m going to pass. I guess if I want to entertain my pessimism about the future of the world I can thumb through a newspaper or watch CNN. That’s plenty harrowing for me.

#2 The Leg in the Freezer Rule

The last book I read featuring an over the top serial killer was Silence of the Lambs and I slept with the lights on for weeks after that. I enjoy a good roller coaster plot and murder and mayhem aren’t going to turn me off, but there’s a threshold to my tolerance. If a serial killer is “leaving his grisly calling card” in the form of organs strewn across the country and such, I’m going to leave that book for another reader. It seems the trend today in TV and books is to push the envelope…the gorier the better. Er, no thanks for this reader.

#3 The Cleavage on the Cover Rule

I write romantic suspense so love and sexual tension/attraction are okay by me, but generally if there are naked people in unnatural positions on the cover of a book, it’s a sign to me that I’m not the target market for that novel. Just personal taste, not a reflection of the quality of writing.

So do you have any book selection rules? Any genres or topics you shy away from? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Dana Mentink 3Dana Mentink got her start writing cozy mysteries for Barbour Books. Currently, she writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense where her books have earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, a Holt Medallion Merit Award and a Carol Award. She’s also thrilled to be writing for Harlequin’s Heartwarming line and Moody’s River North. Visit her at danamentink.com.

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3 Responses to So Many Books! How Do You Choose Your Summer Reads?

  1. I think your rules work pretty good for me as well. :-) Great post.

  2. I have a stack always waiting. My wife has her’s. We both have our own genre to read. She reads more general contemporary fiction, but leans to Christian authors. She too does not feel comfortable with too much sex and violence. She has her line of authors.

    I like good fiction too, preferably historical. But I also am a history major and love bio and autobio novels. Sex and violence is a turnoff. I prefer books I can feel comfortable recommending to friends and family.

    As a writer myself I try to read other authors with similar tastes and styles like my own. John Grisham and Anne Rice are high on my list.

    Point of fact, because of my writing commitments, my wife out reads me 3:1! She is a better responder to the question.

  3. I like your rules, Dana. Sometimes I will read the sample chapter from Amazon before deciding if the book is worth my time and money. I’ve found this is helpful for me.

    Amber Schamel
    Bringing HIStory to Life
    http://www.AmberSchamel.com

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