Hand running over a row of books trying to choose.

According to ABC News, Oprah chooses her top book club picks by asking three questions. 1). Does the story move her?2). Does she think about it for days after? 3). In a work of fiction, do the characters seem real to her?

All three questions are reasonable expectations from a book. When you think about the time you invest in reading a book, you should feel something or at least get something out of it. Most of us don’t read to feel angst or bitterness, even though it does happen when an author kills off our favorite character – haha. 

Oprah’s 100th book pick

Hello Beautiful by ann Napolitano Book Cover

Before we go much further, the breaking news is that Oprah has reached a milestone of 100 book picks based on the above criteria. And the winner is Ann Napolitano’s “Hello Beautiful.”  It’s a wonderful retelling of Little Women but in a modern-day setting. 

If you are interested in learning more about Oprah’s book picks or how/why she chooses them, go to her website at OprahDaily.com.

Reading the ABC News report on Oprah’s 100th milestone pick got me thinking about how and why I chose what to read. Am I an “everyone is talking about it” chooser? Do I stick to a certain genre/theme? Does a certain author move me? Really all the above. And I do have to be careful because once I start something, I have to know how it ends no matter how poorly it is written (tv shows and movies are the same) or how upset it is making me. I, too, have expectations of a book before I recommend it to someone else, but that is different than why/how I chose a book.

What drives us to choose a book?

full book shelves- books turned every direction

We all know reading is important to our minds, souls, and even bodies. But what drives us to pick up books and explore the stories contained within them? The answer isn’t simple, nor will it be the same for everyone. 

It’s likely a combination of reasons, ranging from learning more information to entertaining ourselves to escaping the world. Did I mention it could be the book cover entices us? Authors have been trying to capture our attention for centuries, and the choices and benefits are endless. 

Reading for knowledge.

collage of different How to and business book covers

Reading gives us access to knowledge and information. Whether you’re reading a history book or a medical journal, you’re sure to gain new insights into different subjects. It’s one of my top choices when wanting to learn some new skills because I understand the depth of research put into a book compared to a blog post. We connect to the world around us and are able to experience cultures, philosophies, and issues outside of our little corner of the world. Books are a safe place to learn and grow. 

Reading not only gives us access to knowledge, but it also helps with basic literacy skills. Reading proficiency is an invaluable skill that will help throughout life in many different capacities—from understanding instructions on everyday items like cooking products or electronic devices to being able to decipher complex documents like legal forms or tax returns. Did you know the average reading level in America is 8th grade

But how do I choose from the vast array of knowledge-based books? Honestly, it depends. If it has something to do with my career, I look for well-known experts in the field, yet, I’ve been known to select because a title hits me. I do read the summaries and try to judge the quality of the information. I have been disappointed by a few purchases, but I usually buy used books, so it’s a small loss. This is an area where recommendations from others are important to me. I have a list of TBR industry-specific books recommended by salespeople, co-workers, or even from conferences.

Reading as Entertainment

Collage of diverse individuals reading for enjoyment

Reading also serves as an enjoyable form of entertainment as well as escapism. Getting pulled into an exciting story allows us to leave our daily lives behind and immerse ourselves in another world. This can be especially beneficial during difficult times—by being able to forget our troubles for a while, we can often come back stronger than ever before! 

Reading for Cultural Awareness.

Paper craft of hands with all colors and shades pointing to the earth.

Finally, reading can expose us to ideas different than our own. When most of our friends share similar opinions, it can be easy to get stuck in one way of thinking without ever considering alternative points of view. With books, however, we have access to unique perspectives that may open up entirely new lines of thought for us—which could potentially lead to incredible personal growth and insight down the line!

At the End of the Day. . .

At the end of the day, there are countless reasons why people choose to read what books they do—and these are just a few examples out of many possible explanations. So if you’ve been trying to find motivation to pick up your next book… now you know why! Take a moment and reflect on what you need from the book. How do you want to feel after this book? What do you want to take away from your time spent with the book? Formulate your own questions and answers.

Remember buying used copies of a book saves money and is good for the environment. Discover Books offers gently used book (we have new copies also) for low prices. If you sign up for our email or text, you’ll receive weekly exclusive discounts and bonuses. Discover the difference at Discover Book and help us Let The Stories Live On.