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 Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
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.
Recollections of My Nonexistence
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.
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.
Discovering a wonderful book is a lot like falling in love. The longer you spend together, the more deeply you fall. The better you get to know each other, the stronger you feel about where it’s leading. You go through a lot together: good times and bad times, hard times and happy times.
But before all of that, there’s a spark. There’s that undeniable something that attracts you in the first place: his hair, her smile, their laugh—its cover, its title, the smell of its pages…
Here are just a few of the things that draw me in when I’m browsing bookshelves. More often than not, it feels like love.
Featured Image: @lena_otvo/Twenty20