• 1. Long, quirky, rhythmic titles

    There’s something pretty magical about a mouthful of a title that rolls deliciously around in your mouth for a few seconds as you read it out. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Say those out loud and just try not to fall in love.

  • The cover of the book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

    The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
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    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
    Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgApple BooksAmazon
     
  • The cover of the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

     
  • 2. Not too long, not too short

    I love a book that I can devour over the course of one weekend. When I see that ideal book with its cool 200, 250 pages—promising that if I dive straight in on Friday night, it will wrap itself up perfectly by Sunday evening—I’m a goner. I have to have it.

  • The cover of the book The Friend

    The Friend

    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
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    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
    Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgApple BooksAmazon
     
  • The cover of the book Recollections of My Nonexistence

    Recollections of My Nonexistence

    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
    Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgApple BooksAmazon
    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
    Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgApple BooksAmazon
     
  • 3. Block colors and big letters

    I don’t tend to fall for covers with photographs: flowers, houses, or (shudder) the movie version. Instead, it’s the big block colors that catch my eye. I love a backdrop splashed with big, messy capital letters. They’re fun, they’re contemporary, they don’t give too much away—and they’re oh so pretty.

  • The cover of the book The Travelers

    The Travelers

    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
    Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgApple BooksAmazon
    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
    Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgApple BooksAmazon
     
  • The cover of the book Gun Love

    Gun Love

    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
    Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgApple BooksAmazon
    Buy From Penguin Random House
    Also Available From
    Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgApple BooksAmazon
     
  • 4. A secondhand book with a dedication

    The most romantic sign of all is the handwritten dedication. There’s nothing more swoon-worthy than that poetic inscription on the front page, dated from decades ago: a gift from someone you’ll never meet to somebody else who mattered to them, which has somehow wound up in this bookshop and fallen into your hands. Did anybody else just get chills? Someone, somewhere, once thought that this book was enough to express their feelings for some special person. Well, that’s good enough for me.