Attention Authors: How Books Move Up to the Top of to-be-Read Mile-High Piles

Obviously, as might be noted by my sparse blogging, I haven’t yet gotten back to reading. That’s due to not being able to help myself. I couldn’t put my memoir of my writing journey down. I’ve got to get this 'work' just right!!!

At any rate, it hasn’t stopped me from buying EVEN MORE books! I, however, did take a little break to get my reading list just right. With now over 60 books on my to-be-read mile-high pile, I diligently went through each…that being opening the book to examine the first page…so that when I do get back to reading, I know just what books to open first.

Out of 60 books, 20 moved to the top of the pile. Here’s how and why…

Small books containing few pages are a given. Nothing spells this is gonna be a one-track relaxing read like opening books with fewer than 100 pages. On my list are two: The Piano Lesson by August Wilson and Nikki Giovanni’s Blues: For all the Changes.

Another way books bogart its way to the top is when accidents like this happen. One book fell off my bookshelf. Seriously! This actually happened, just recently. Bombeck’s ‘At Wit’s End’ memoir somehow fell off the shelf, landed right at my foot, I looked down, and all be doggonit if I didn’t open the book, couldn’t close it, and ended up reading the whole darn thing.

Piggybacking off the slick way books can catch a reader’s eye, it may go a long way to remind authors about them first pages. This just happened too. I was going through my mile-high out of control pile, organizing books in the order I planned to read them when Salome Thomas-El’s memoir, ‘I Choose to Stay’ first page grabbed me right away. For that matter, so did Melissa Ohden’s memoir ‘You Carried Me’. I don’t know either author from you name the guy’s photo on the wall, but their opening pages won me over straightaway. And oh, I might as well go on and admit this too; J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter (…and the Sorcerer’s Stone) kind of got my attention too.

Books written by or about celebs (I personally want to know more about), or popular novels I should have read ages ago is another way to stay on top. My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King, Crazy Rich by Jerry Oppenheimer, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Pain Don’t Hurt by Mark “Fightshark” Miller, In My Shoes by Tamara Mellon, Lolita by Nabokov, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and the Autobiography of Ghandi… those books I really look forward to reading.

Something else to note; something publishers and agents already know, but to authors everywhere, unless you are already notable or famous, you must have done or be doing something notable to build audience that will put your book on top of to-read stacks. For instance, getting over one divorce is common if say, you are not Mother Teresa. Getting over 75 divorces, well you can imagine how many might blurt “what the F---“ and then put your book at the top of a to-read stack. The ideal of course, is to be doing or have done something productively positive, though as well might be imagined, this doesn’t have to be the case. Beyond this, your opening is gonna have to kill-it to move to the top of to-read stacks. Readers can thereafter only hope the rest of the story follows suit.


  1. Thanks for some great recommendations! Anything by Bombeck is needed! Didn't realize so in my single days... humor now is everything! I still occasionally shuffle my pile around. Depends upon my mood when I get to the next.

    Oh, too, by the way, I've still gotta share my thoughts on TEWWG by Hurston! Among others... I just keep reading!!

    1. Bombeck definitely comes with the sarcastic, albeit truly relaxing edge. And yes Tonya!! Inquiring minds want to know what you thought of Hurston's book!


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