01. Blurbs making favourable comparisons. Most recent example: Carousel Court by Joe McGinniss Jr. is described as a ‘modern Revolutionary Road‘. Well that sounds tops.
02. Testimonials from favourite authors. Case-in-point – I bought Gail Godwin’s Flora because of John Irving’s cover testimonial – “A luminously written, heartbreaking book.” Excellent.
03. Discovering what favourite authors are currently reading (Twitter is great for this). Example – Charlotte Wood mentioned Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. I got it, I read it, I loved it.
04. Stories about groups of friends (the last truly great one I read was Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life).
05. Last time I did one of these lists I included the eighties. This time, it’s the nineties – I grew up in the eighties, but it was the nineties when I had my independence.
06. If a book is controversial, count me in. I read The Heavy by Dara-Lyn Weiss because of this, and likewise bought Joel Dicker’s The Truth about The Harry Quebert Affair (although what was the fuss about there…?).
07. I’m always going to read the Stella Prize shortlist (probably lots of the longlist as well).
08. I really love wonderful covers. Call me shallow, but The Mothers by Brit Bennett called my name all last year.
09. If there’s a movie I want to see but I haven’t read the book, I’ll zoom through the book. Because ‘first book, then movie’ (I most recently did this with The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins).