Guest Post: Brenda from the Daily May. You know you're reading a good book when...


Daily Mayo

Greetings! I am Brenda from Daily Mayo, and I love books. That sounds like an introduction into an addiction group- but I am addicted to books. Since you’re visiting this site, I bet you are, too.

With millions of books to read, it can be a challenge to know which books are worth your time and which books you should leave on the shelf. Today, I reveal my secret tips for identifying good books before you read them.

With these tips, you can skip the bad books and move on to the good without wasting your time.

So, without further ado, you know you’re holding a good book when…

The Back Cover Draws You In

Of course, it is the publisher’s job to make any book sound like it has an interesting story, but a book that is good has you hooked just by reading the back cover. A good book will make you itch to read the story and you will do almost anything to get home and start reading the book as soon as possible.

The Cover Appeals to You

It almost never fails; if I choose to read a book based mostly on the cover, I am almost always happy. I don’t know what kind of witchcraft publishers use to create covers that appeal to certain fans of certain kinds of books, but for the most part they are a master at it. This tip doesn’t always apply to Indie books, as those often have simple covers that are hiding great books (or terrible books).

The Pages are Worn, Have Food on Them, or Are Dog-Eared

This tip is for used books, but it is true nearly 100 percent of the time. Worn pages mean the book has been read many times (a broken spine can also signify a good book), and if there is food on the book, it means that the previous reader found it so interesting that they had to read it while eating. Dog-eared pages can occur for two reasons: a) the person couldn’t find a bookmark, or b) the person wanted to go back and read that page or passage over again. Usually, if a book has more dog-eared pages, it is better than a book with just a couple. Highlighted passages also can signify a good book.

The First Paragraph Excites You

This is similar to the book description pull, but it can be even more indicative of an amazing book. One book that did this really well was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I felt compelled to keep reading even though I knew nothing about the book or universe. A good book can do that to you.

The Chapter Headings Interest You

If the book has chapter titles, that is a simple way to tell if the book is worth reading. If the chapter headings spark your interest, you will probably enjoy the entire book. Just be wary; some chapter titles contain spoilers, so if you don’t want to find out the plot ahead of time, you may not want to use this trick.

How do you know if a book you pick up is worth reading?

Brenda blogs about books, writing, and book-related goodies at Daily Mayo. She is on a quest to read every worthwhile book in the universe. In addition to reading, Brenda also enjoys sharing her love of books with her two daughters and collecting semi-rare old books. Follow Brenda on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Bloglovin, or Instagram (or on everything. She doesn’t mind stalkers).  


  1. Never thought about the dog-eared, worn book in that way. Yes, you are right! A nice cover always draws me in as well. Also, I think with books, a lot is done with recommendations from friends / internet. (that's where the book bloggers come in I suppose :)

  2. This is exactly how I feel when I know I'm reading a good book!! I loge secondhand books, there is nothing sadder to me than a book in a secondhand shop that has clearly been untouched. x

  3. That is a great tip with the used books! I tend to look at used books that are well-worn but never really thought about dog-ears and highlighting (even though I totally highlight in nonfiction books, so why didn't that occur to me?)


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