Do you feel more inclined to read a stand-alone novel or a book series when picking your next read?
Cyn: Definitely a mix of both! Sometimes I just don’t want the characters to gone yet and it’s nice to see them on more adventures. Also understandably, some storylines definitely need a few books to really tell the whole story. I find I enjoy “series” in romance novels, but that because they’re usually standalones, but with characters we’ve seen before, and now they get their own stories and that makes me happy. If I want a “quicker” read, I’d definitely go with a standalone, so I’m not left either spending waaay more time than I anticipated reading the rest of the series, or sitting in frustration, waiting for the next book to be published.
Do you have any insight as to why certain books are chosen for book-clubs, and others are passed over? What specific attributes do you look for in a novel when deciding to use it for a group-read?
Kim: From what I’ve seen when people come into my workplace (I’m a part-timer at B&N), is that a lot of book clubs these days focus on straight fiction. Nothing too far into the misc genre fields (i.e. sci-fi, romance, or mystery). But that could just be the sort of book clubs near me.
How important is the cover? When it comes down to it, how often do you chose a book to read/review based on the cover art?
Kim: After growing up hearing “don’t judge a book by it’s cover!” everywhere, it’s hard to admit that I most definitely judge books that way. I love beautifully designed covers. A lot of covers all look the same these days, which has lead to some disinterest in most of them. But that’s when I also throw in judgements based on the author, reviews, and personal recommendations help. With books/ authors I don’t know, a good cover goes a long way in getting me to be open to reading the book.
Cyn: The saying is “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”, but the reality is while I might not “judge” a book by it’s cover, I sure as heck pick up a book because of its cover. Especially when I’m browsing in a bookstore. There’s so many books, so where do you start? So having a gorgeous or interesting cover will definitely give that slight advantage that I’d pick up and read the back.
Endings: tied up neatly, or a more realistic ambiguous open-ended conclusion?
Kim: There are times when I like the endings to be tied up neatly. But mostly I prefer the open-ended conclusion. It allows for more freedom in the “what-might-be”. However, I also think it depends on the book. Not every book will follow the same format, and one ending might work better in a certain way.
Cyn: I’m a total romantic at heart, so all I ever want is happily ever after, all nicely tied up haha. That being sad, when well done, I’m all for a more realistic ambiguous open-ended conclusion. Sometimes that makes more sense for a book and it works. On the other hand, I read books because anything can happen, even totally unrealistic happy endings, so I think I prefer them 🙂
Do you feel a YA novel must have some kind of love-interest plot-line (or subplot) to engage readers?
Kim: A lot of books I choose to read have love-interest plot-line or subplots. I don’t think they’re necessary 100% but they are nice. But sometimes when I get the books without them, I tend to remember them more. Especially if it’s a female protagonist, I find it kind of empowering that the author was able to make a heroine without also relying on romantic entanglements.
Kristen-Paige Madonia’s debut novel, Fingerprints of You, was published August 2012 by Simon & Schuster and recent fiction can be found in Upstreet, New Orleans Review, American Fiction: Best Previously Unpublished Stories by Emerging Writers, and Sycamore Review. She was awarded a 2011 Sewanee Writers’ Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship and has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony. She currently lives in Charlottesville, VA where she is at work on her second novel.
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