Friday, March 18, 2011

4 Totally Superficial Signs I'll Like a Book

1. Maps Inside the Front Cover

Example: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

I started reading this book earlier this week before bed. Mr. Anna asked how it was going and I said, "Great, do you know why? There's a map in the front cover. A map! This is going to be so good!"

To me, maps are a sign that the author has CLEARLY created an entire world in her imagination. Maps scream: "This book has an entire, well-thought-out world inside its pages, just waiting for you to discover it. C'mon in!"

2. Footnotes

Example: Stay by Deb Caletti and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Everyone loves being a part of the secret. And footnotes are like a cheeky little aside, a secret look into what the character is REALLY thinking. Granted, when a book is told in first-person you probably already know what the character is thinking, but footnotes make it seem more special to me. Like a funny insight the narrator is whispering just to me.

3. Family Trees

Example: ???

Okay so I don't have an example, but I have seen this in books. And it should happen more often! Yeah, you could argue that adding in a family tree is a sign that the editors thought readers couldn't make sense of a complicated set of characters on their own.

But I spent an inordinate amount of time as a child creating soap opera-esque family trees out of JCPenney catalogs, so this family-building really appeals to me. Kinda like the maps.

Did anyone else do this as a kid? This beats a coloring book any day:

Well, there's a typo in there. But I'd seriously do that for hours on end and then draw out the family trees for these people. Such a creative, odd child...

4. Swirly Fonts & Foresty Vibes on Covers

Example: Entwined by Heather Dixon

You know how they say not to judge a book by its cover? Whatevs. My girl Capillya even made a blog out of it. So, you know, booyah.

What are YOUR superficial signs that you're going to love a book? Please share in the comments!

Anna Reads young adult book blog


  1. I love maps in books! Maybe because it allows me to picture the world better in my head. Also, I don't know why but maps give an old world feel to the setting.

    Footnotes are fun as well. Have you read the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud? Lots of footnotes in that series.

  2. Totally hear you on the maps! Not only are they usually really great artistically, they're actually helpful for me to follow along with as the story progresses, especially if there are a lot of place names. That goes for family trees as well - if there are loads of characters popping up in various relations to each other, a family tree makes it *way* easier to keep track of who is whose cousin/aunt/half-sister's-husband's-nephew etc.

    And I love swirly fonts on covers too :D

  3. I don't really know. I used to think a gorgeous cover meant that the artist was really inspired by their brief - "This book sounds so awesome, I have just GOT to make a beautiful cover for the author!" But then I read Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate. And my faith in being able to predict whether books are good or not was really, really shaken.

  4. YES Hahaha I used to do the family trees out of magazine people too! Hell, I still go through magazines to find people that will be perfect for the characters I write.

    ALSO I love maps TOO. If you love-love maps though, read every book by Tamora Pierce. Starting with the Alanna series, then Daine, then Keladry. I also really, really like her Circle of Magic series (start with Sandry's book). Like LOVE. They are SO FREAKING GOOD. In fact, if you haven't ready any by the time we go to BEA, I'll bring them to you.

  5. I have to agree with you! I love all of those things, well Idk about the footnotes because I haven't read a book with them yet. I love being able to review back to a map or family tree if I'm slightly confused about some info in the book! Great post!

  6. More books should have family trees! So often even when I know there isn't one, I'll flip around the book looking for one.

  7. I totally judge a book by it's cover. I have to, sorry. However - I have been pleasantly surprised before! I'm all about family trees. I like visual explanations of how people connect. Especially when you're reading those paranormal books where so & so's great great grandfather knew so & so's great great aunt. Yeah - I need visuals to understand that!

  8. The footnotes in An Abundance of Katherines are so incredibly amazing! I heart them hardcore. I agree with the signs you have above. I also love books with multiple narrators. I love seeing a story from many points of view.

  9. I never even thought about this before! But I totally agree with these! I'm going to have to start paying more attention.

  10. You know, I never though of it before, but I do love when a book has a map! Like you said, it usually means the world has been really thought out. They are even more fun to look at after you read the book.

  11. I like you superficial signs! And, yes, I used to use the JCPenney and Sears catalog for such things (we didn't have cable). I totally judge a book by its cover. I love a captivating cover with a little mystery. I enjoy maps too (although on my nook they aren't as enjoyable). After finishing a book I will often go over the 'extras' (maps, family tree) and spend a little more time on them...great post!

  12. I loved the footnotes in 'Stay' ... they were so interesting and clever.

    Maps do = awesomeness, don't they? Sometimes they mean a book that's a little bit dry for my taste, but most of the time? So awesome.

  13. OOOhhh. I don't know about those family trees. I hate having to "work" to remember the characters - but sometimes it's worth it, and if there ARE a lot of characters, I want the tree!

  14. I am totally with you on the maps. They're so neat! I trace the maps with my finger making short stories up in my head after I've finished the book.

    Good covers-- I totally judge books by their covers if I'm purchasing something online. If I'm in a bookstore, I'm less inclined so because the covers aren't the first things I see (it goes book spine, summary on back, then book cover).

    I'm also smitten if there are puzzles in the books. There were puzzles in the footers of The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno. It was a decoder type puzzle. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and I wish more books included stuff like that.

  15. There's a family tree in The Kid Table! I think that's the last time I remember reading a book with a family tree in it. I do love these kinds of illustrated nuances - I think they tend to add a certain dimension of personality to a book.

    And according to your attraction to swirly fonts and foresty vibes on covers, I bet you're a pretty HAPPY GAL with all of those books covers here as of late. ;)

  16. YES! Maps in the front of a book are my weakness. I have so many fantasy books on my shelves that I haven't read *just* because there is an amazing map within.

  17. there's a family tree in one of the books of the blue bloods series. (think: twilight meets gossip girl) I love them! :)

  18. ha! I absolutely love it when books have maps in them. It fascinates me to no end.

    And the footnotes in Stay were awesome!

  19. I completely agree with all of these! I just finished Stay and loved the footnotes - they were my favorite part. I have a weakness for books with glossaries or vocab lists (nerd alert)

    And please showcase more of these redonkulous JCPenney catalog cutouts. I need more!

  20. I definitely agree with the maps one! Although I have to say, i haven't read too many YA books with footnotes. Good thing An Abundance of Katherines is on my TBR pile.

  21. ANY mention of time travel...has me at hello.

  22. I love books with unusual names... like Katniss, Cassia, Jace and Clary, Sookie Stackhouse etc


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