Q&A with M.L. Hamilton discussion

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What do you look for when you pick up a book? What makes you want to read it?

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message 1: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I want escape. I want a few hours to go to a different place and experience things very unlike my life.


message 2: by P.A. (new)

P.A. (phdragonlady) | 6 comments I look for a books that tweek my imagination. The possibility that the events in the book could really happen or may have happened. It gives me hope that there just might be something out there that could totally change my life.


message 3: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I've done the same thing. Almost a camaraderie with the novel. If the character survived this or achieved that, I can get through what is happening in my life or better yet, make my life different.

Along the same line, I have to relate to the characters. If I don't feel a kinship, I have a hard time finishing a book. Do you feel the same?


message 4: by P.A. (new)

P.A. (phdragonlady) | 6 comments Definitely have to relate to the characters.


message 5: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
Who are some of your favorite characters?


message 6: by Tanya (new)

Tanya (tanemax) | 1 comments I have been more drawn recently to the paranormal. I love anything with steamy matches and strong women too.


message 7: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I went through a paranormal phase. I love a good match between two characters, a romance to dream about. I have to admit that I like a match that may not work out. I'm a sucker for a tragic love story.


message 8: by R.A. (new)

R.A. Danger (metahmah) | 1 comments After seen that it’s the type I like (looking to see what category it is in, the cover, the title), then I read the summary. So you can say, for me, the most important of the book without me opening it is the summary. That’s the eye catcher for me.
Inside the book the first ¼ of the book has to keep my attention. The characters I look for, have to be believable 3D type characters with depth. Plus I look for a story that has uniqueness to it. Some new element or getting a job done a little differently.


message 9: by M.L. (last edited Jan 03, 2011 01:14PM) (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I read the summaries too and lately, I've been looking for a unique element in the summary before I even open up the book.

The summaries are the hardest part of writing a book. It's hard to capture the essence of your novel in a few words of impact.


message 10: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
Me too. I love a snarky character, male or female. One of my favorite characters was in Elizabeth Haydon's books. Achmed was so wickedly sarcastic.


message 11: by P.A. (new)

P.A. (phdragonlady) | 6 comments Has anyone read The Belgariad series by David Eddings? The entire series is 16 books long. I've read through the series several times because everything about all of the books is awesome. There are not a bunch of main characters but there are enough that everyone can identify with several of them. I first read the series 18 years ago and the characters are so memorable I find myself thinking about them and what they would do to solve a problem.


message 12: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I really got into the Belgariad years ago, but after about four I felt like they were repetitive and abandoned them.


message 13: by P.A. (new)

P.A. (phdragonlady) | 6 comments The story does slow down for a while but it picks back up and gets more interesting. When his wife started helping him with the story it becomes refreshed. Book 10 is the first one that Leigh started putting her name on the cover as being a co-author.


message 14: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
Hm, might be worth another look then.


message 15: by P.A. (new)

P.A. (phdragonlady) | 6 comments A couple more that he wrote that might interest you are 'High Hunt' and 'The Losers'. Even though I couldn't identify with the characters in The Losers it sure made me open my eyes and look at the people around me.


message 16: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
Are these fantasies? Or contemporary fiction?


message 17: by P.A. (new)

P.A. (phdragonlady) | 6 comments Contemporary fiction published in 1992. Another very good fantasy book is Pigs Don't Fly by Mary Brown.


message 18: by Kara (new)

Kara (sterlink) M.L. wrote: "I want escape. I want a few hours to go to a different place and experience things very unlike my life."

Agreed, very much.

1) The cover often draws me in - which can be a real shame. (I don't know the exact process, but there are some great artistic authors with really bad cover art on their books. Lol, actually, that could be a thread in itself!)

2) Then I'll glance at the summary to get an idea of the plot - but a lot of summaries can suck too. I like refreshing or original fantasy...

The kicker for me is writing style and interest.
3) I'll turn to the first page and start reading. If it doesn't "grab" me, then I move on. Some great first pages are:
The Way of Shadows, by Brent Weeks &
A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin


message 19: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I do the same thing. I am always drawn by covers and too often disappointed in the writing.


message 20: by Carol (new)

Carol (mystwolfie) | 2 comments Like many others the cover is the first to grab my attention. And often find myself greatly disappointed. I have found many with covers more captivating then the story itself. At the same time, I have read a few with horrible covers and wonder why more thought was not put in its making. I make it a point now to always read the summary. If they can not even faintly spark my interest with it I tend to move on.


message 21: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I agree, Carol, but I skim through the first few pages too because sometimes I worry the author isn't the one to write the summary on the back and I don't want to miss a great book because some over zealous editor or publisher decided he or she could write the back cover better.


message 22: by Carol (new)

Carol (mystwolfie) | 2 comments Perhaps, I need to give that a try.


message 23: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jenniferjune23) For me it's anything that looks or sounds interesting. I like fantasy, mystery, and YA books a lot. The cover does draw my attention, but sometimes I'll find myself looking at the book next to it. I read the summary and see if I'll be interested and if it looks like a fun easy to read book. I don't like books that are slow reading and that have too much detail.


message 24: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I can live through some slower parts as long as I'm hooked on the characters. If I don't have a connection to the characters, I can't keep any interest in the book.


message 25: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jenniferjune23) Yeah, I agree. I like to get to know characters.


message 26: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen (kathbrat) | 1 comments I like to look at the cover and summary, but then also I will flip through and look at some of the pages throughout the book. Depending on how a few paragraphs are written tells me a lot whether it's a read that will grab me throughout.


message 27: by Tasha (last edited Feb 07, 2011 07:43PM) (new)

Tasha | 5 comments I haven't read through any past posts, except maybe the past few, but when I'm looking for a book, I don't bother with it unless the summary catches my interest, and if the summary catches my interest then I will read the first page or two and if that catches my interest I will buy it or check it out from the library or whatever. Or if my friend Taylor (she has an account on here) recommends it, it's most likely a good book.

I do have to like the characters though. I've found a couple books where the main characters have gotten on my nerves and it took away from the quality of the book. One thing that annoys me to the point of not finishing a book is whiny characters, especially female ones.


message 28: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
Ah, now you come to the reason why I couldn't finish the Twilight series. I got the impression Bella was whiny and I couldn't get past it. However, I give Stephenie Meyer credit for getting teenage girls to read. Bravo to that.


message 29: by Tasha (new)

Tasha | 5 comments I had a love-hate relationship with that series. I read it long before it became popular and it was alright. Many things were ridiculous in it, but I had to give her props for being creative. My English teacher from last year went though all the books and, being an english teacher and OCD, she corrected all the grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors through the book. Apparently there were quite a few


message 30: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
That is hysterical. As an English teacher myself, I would be tempted to do that as well.


message 31: by Kara (new)

Kara (sterlink) Natasha wrote: "One thing that annoys me to the point of not finishing a book is whiny characters, especially female ones. ..."

Oh, I'm having some trouble there currently. On the last book of Maria V. Snyder's Glass Series, Spy Glass, but Opal has been awful mopey lately. I'm giving her some distance at the moment.


message 32: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
Kara wrote: "Natasha wrote: "One thing that annoys me to the point of not finishing a book is whiny characters, especially female ones. ..."

Oh, I'm having some trouble there currently. On the last book of [a..."


Ha! Isn't it funny how fictional characters can feel alive though, even when they're mopey?


message 33: by Tasha (new)

Tasha | 5 comments M.L. wrote: "Ha! Isn't it funny how fictional characters can feel alive though, even when they're mopey?"

I love it when characters seem real. I think the authors who create them write them very well if that happens. But, I've read a few books where the characters talk...wrong...they say things, or say things in ways, that I don't think a real person would say (them).


message 34: by Kara (last edited Feb 23, 2011 01:57AM) (new)

Kara (sterlink) M.L. wrote: "Ha! Isn't it funny how fictional characters can feel alive though, even when they're mopey? ..."

You got a point there. Opal DOES feel very much like a real character. In fact, she probably reminds me of myself, where one of my older sisters would have already told me to snap out of it and stop being such a mopey baby.

BTW, I've only read the first couple pages. lol
It's just, she had this poor woe-is-me drama going on in the last book. I was hoping we were over it now. Now that I've had a break, I AM actually looking forward to finishing the series.


message 35: by Ken (new)

Ken (overlord_ken) The first thing that I look at is the publisher if it is one that I know and trust I will give a look to the author's name then the cover art all before reading the summary on the back and then lastly I like to read chapter on there in the store to see if it is a book I can get behind.


REMEMBER UKRAINE NOW ReadingReindeer (readingreindeerproximacentauri) | 2 comments Blurbs, titles, cover art-and if none of that, I'll try the free excerpt for Kindle-I do that often, especially if it's a book I can't buy at the moment-I put it on Wish List, then download the free excerpt.


message 37: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 5 comments I have the way I used to discover books and the way I discover books now (which means now that I own an e-reader). I used to get books from garage sales, thrift stores and used book stores. Most books I picked up had a catchy title, or at least a title that grabbed my attention. After the title, it would be the blurb, or asking the person I was getting it from if it were any good. The answer didn't matter, I wanted to see their reaction to the book. I almost always purchased a book if the owner of the book had an emotional response, even if that response was anger or outrage.

Now I read books because friends have told me about them or it comes up in my goodreads feed (a friend comments on a friend's book review and I have to investigate). Another way I stumble across books is on my Kindle. I always rate a book when I'm finished and then I will look at the 'you may also be interested in,' or 'similar titles or,' or 'people who have purchased this book also purchased...' section. Believe it or not, I've found some wonderful titles that way. I also like to look at the goodreads give aways. I can sift through those for a good hour, just reading description after description.

I used to read the very last page of paper books to see if I liked the wrap up. If the last page doesn't flow well I have found that the entire book will not flow well. Now that I have an e-reader, I go by negative reviews. That's right, if someone is emotional enough to write a scathing review, I almost have to read the book. Why did they hate it? Am I going to hate it? Wow! It must be a very powerful story! I know, that sounds weird, but I've found some great books using that method.


message 38: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Hamilton | 37 comments Mod
I think ebooks have really changed the way we read. I used to buy books based on covers. Now the covers really don't matter that much to me.

Michelle, I also tend to grab books that people react strongly toward. How funny that we'd both do that.


message 39: by Jie Hao (new)

Jie Hao | 1 comments 1. Cover. It must catch my attention at once since I don't always have the freedom and time to slowly look every book.

2. Character. He/she must relate or connect to me or my interests.

3. The beginning of the story have to be interest so I could continue. I do not have enough time now since I also work on my own book. So often if the book is not my type even though I had already read half of the book, I would put it down and read another one.


I know that I should I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, ;p but life does not allow me to do EVERYTHING I want and that totally sucks~~ X(


message 40: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 5 comments I hope a lot of people do that ML considering ;-)

I find it odd that I hardly ever wander the book section at the grocery store or Sam's Club any more. I used to do that quite a lot. I was the type of person that could stay in the bargain section of B&N and Borders for hours upon hours, but since Borders went out, I haven't even entered an actual book store.


message 41: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (rhine1221) | 2 comments The cover usually draws me first, then what's written on the back. I hated the cover of Eat Pray Love so I never read it. When I started seeing the movie ads I realized I had passed up a great book. The cover art is very important!


message 42: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (rhine1221) | 2 comments Michelle wrote: "I hope a lot of people do that ML considering ;-)

I find it odd that I hardly ever wander the book section at the grocery store or Sam's Club any more. I used to do that quite a lot. I was the t..."


I have not been into a book store since Borders in Brunswick closed. I use Amazon now because the closest book store is 40 minutes away.


message 43: by Emster (new)

Emster (Deadlynightshade13) | 1 comments Knowledge and a new world. I pick up a book that seems like it will take me to another place and broaden my intellect in the process. Doesn't matter if it is a children's story, contemporary novel, or even a book of poems.


message 44: by Lacey (new)

Lacey (laceyl) | 1 comments The first thing I look for in a book is the cover. If the cover catches my eye then I will read the summary. Usually at that point I've decided whether or not I want to read the book. Then I'll look at the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are good then I'll definitely read it, but I love reading the 1 star reviews. Usually to see if the criticism is actually relavent to the story. I do enjoy reading the bad reviews, some of the reviewers have good points but some of the remarks are so random and generalized that I can easily discount them and I'll still pick up the book and read it.

I do look for books that are hero based. I pick them because I can usually relate to them. Who hasn't thought to themselves that gee what if tomorrow I woke up and had something special that made an impact on the world that no one else could do. I guess that just relates back to my teenage years where I felt so out of touch with high school and my classmates.


message 45: by Emily (new)

Emily (jonieleah) | 1 comments The Cover if it catches my eye it gets a second or third look. Same thing with the title. If there is a dragon, thief, or assassin mentioned or shown I have to know more. I don't judge a book by it's cover but it will get me interested in it. Which is the point of covers. What I don't like about them is when they don't relate to the story. Like if the character on the cover isn't how they describe them in the book.

Also if there's something out of the ordinary about the book, like uneven pages or colored pages. Something that makes it unique.

If I read the summary it's only the first sentence or two. I dislike summaries immensly. They're either horrible or they give away parts of the story. I like to figure things out about the story by myself, and too many times has something in the summary left me waiting for something that doesn't even happen til the last third of the book.

I will look at reviews. But usually only 1 star ratings. If the things they say about a book are things that aren't going to bother me I'll read the book. Also if any of my friends have read the book I will try reading it.


message 46: by Ahouse4biswas (new)

Ahouse4biswas | 2 comments I look at the cover. But mostly I sit down with the book and try to get through the first chapter. If my interest is held (pace, syntax, charaters,emotional involvement with the story) and usually this can happen within the first couple pages then I'm hooked.


message 47: by Jasmin (new)

Jasmin (jasmindark) | 2 comments At first I look at the cover picture to get an idea of the type of book then I read the summary and if it seems like a good story then I'll read it and i try to at least get through half of it before i judge it. And mostly I look at how the characters are presented and the overall feeling the book gives off by how its written.


message 48: by Laura (new)

Laura Carson (laurarcarson) I always said the cover until about a year ago when I got more into PNR & UF. Now I've learned to past the covers (since a lot in the PNR or romance section tend to be tacky, and have read so many that have horrible covers but were amazing books). Now I really look for books in my genre of choice and read the summary on the back. If it doesn't catch my interest I move on. My TBR list is way too long as it is to pick up a book that doesn't stand out to me.


message 49: by Monique (new)

Monique (bebeblues) | 2 comments I look for something that will be interesting. Sometimes I just look at the cover if it's nice or not and then read the description. I tend to stay away from romances, chick-lit and teen lit, sometimes I read it but I rarely find anything good.


message 50: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 8 comments M.L. wrote: "Ah, now you come to the reason why I couldn't finish the Twilight series. I got the impression Bella was whiny and I couldn't get past it. However, I give Stephenie Meyer credit for getting teenage..."

Having worked in a book store during the Twilight series releases there were a lot of adult women buying it. The reason being was Edward said we'll wait for marriage before having sex. That was so hot and different from always having the girl say no.


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