The Book Courtship Tag

Love is a many-splendoured thing…

I was tagged by the lovely Jessie at Dwell in Possibility for…

So here goes…

(NB If I’ve reviewed a book, clicking in the cover will take you to the full review.)

Phase 1: Initial Attraction (A book you bought because of the cover)

I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book purely because of its cover, but sometimes I’ll look out for a certain edition because I love the design. In my youth, I gradually acquired a huge collection of Agatha Christie’s books with the Tom Adams covers – I still think they’re fabulous, because they actually relate to clues in the stories but without giving anything away…

And I’m currently looking to acquire all the Vintage Classics editions of Toni Morrison’s books – I love these simple, subtle covers…

Phase 2: First Impressions (A book you got because of the summary)

Ah, now this is more like me. I love a good blurb! The most recent one I’ve acquired purely on the basis of the blurb is this one, which I’ll be reading soon as it’s due for release on 3rd May…

The Blurb says: The Shape of the Ruins is a masterly story of conspiracy, political obsession, and literary investigation. When a man is arrested at a museum for attempting to steal the bullet-ridden suit of a murdered Colombian politician, few notice. But soon this thwarted theft takes on greater meaning as it becomes a thread in a widening web of popular fixations with conspiracy theories, assassinations, and historical secrets; and it haunts those who feel that only they know the real truth behind these killings.

This novel explores the darkest moments of a country’s past and brings to life the ways in which past violence shapes our present lives. A compulsive read, beautiful and profound, eerily relevant to our times and deeply personal, The Shape of the Ruins is a tour-de-force story by a master at uncovering the incisive wounds of our memories.

Phase 3: Sweet Talk (A book with great writing)

So many choices! I’m going to go for Andrew Motion, a past Poet Laureate, whose descriptions of nature enable me to see the beauty he sees…

I woke in the air – swept up by the angels of heaven all beating their wings together and singing. Then not singing but whispering. Whistling. Cooing. Gurgling. Crooning. Because they were not angels any more, they were pigeons, the same as last night, and now leaving with their mess drizzling beneath them in a continual white rain, first with laborious flusterings and squabblings, then twisting and looping and swaying and swerving until they had formed a gigantic letter S which held its shape . . . and held its shape . . . before it slackened and became a smoke-cloud blowing towards the horizon.

Phase 4: First Date (A first book of a series which made you want to pursue the rest of the series)

Again so many! So I’m going with a recent one…

I loved this first book in Mukherjee’s historical crime series set in the last days of the Raj. The tricky second book turned out to be nearly as good and I’m now eagerly awaiting the third in the series, due out this June…

Phase 5: Late Night Phone Calls (A book that kept you up all night long)

This doesn’t happen to me as often now as it did when I was young, but I tend to find Sharon Bolton’s standalones pretty unputdownable, and her last one was no exception…

Phase 6: Always On My Mind (A book you couldn’t stop thinking about)

Again, there are several – books that I’ve loved for the prose, or books that have become touchstones for great truths, or books that have in some way re-shaped my view of the world. This one is all three – a book I hope I will never stop thinking about…

They sang of bosses and masters and misses; of mules and dogs and the shamelessness of life. They sang lovingly of graveyards and sisters long gone. Of pork in the woods; meal in the pan; fish on the line; cane, rain and rocking chairs.

And they beat. The women for having known them and no more, no more; the children for having been them but never again. They killed a boss so often and so completely they had to bring him back to life to pulp him one more time. Tasting hot mealcake among pine trees, they beat it away. Singing love songs to Mr Death, they smashed his head. More than the rest, they killed the flirt who folks called Life for leading them on. Making them think the next sunrise would be worth it; that another stroke of time would do it at last.

Phase 7: Getting Physical (A book you love the feel of)

Gotta be hardbacks with cloth covers and good quality, smooth pages. The most recent one that has given me nearly as much pleasure for the tactile experience while reading as for the fab insides is…

Phase 8: Meeting the Parents (A book you would recommend to your friends and family)

In her later years, following successful cataract surgery, my mother came back to books with a vengeance after decades of being unable to enjoy reading. Along with my siblings, I enthusiastically shared many of my favourites with her. After I recommended the first one to her, we read the early CJ Sansom books more or less together – one more reason for me to love that series…

Phase 9: Thinking About the Future (A book or series that you know you’ll re-read many times in the future)

(Well, come on – you knew Darcy would appear somewhere, didn’t you?)

Phase 10: Share the Love (Here’s who I’m tagging)

I don’t usually tag people because I never know who’s already done a tag or who enjoys doing them, plus I find it hard to pick which of my lovely bloggy friends to tag. So I’m tagging everyone who would like to do it – I’d love to read your answers!

* * * * *

Thanks for tagging me, Jessie! 😀

54 thoughts on “The Book Courtship Tag

  1. This is fun! Those Christie covers are great, I’m going to look out for them on my charity shop perusals when I’m back buying books again.

    If you hadn’t managed to squeeze Darcy into a bookish attraction post I’d be deeply worried 😀

    • I love those Tom Adams covers. And I’m not alone – he actually appears at book conferences to talk about them from time to time, I believe, because so many people collected them. Unfortunately my copies are all tatty now – re-read too often.

      Haha – he shoves his way in no matter what I do! 😉

  2. What a great tag, FictionFan! And I like your answers, too. I’ve always thought those Tom Adams covers were fabulous. And I have to say I’m surprised at the mention of Sansom’s work. I know you’re a fan, and with good reason: it’s a fine series. Oh, and no, I have to say I’m not in the least surprised at all to see Mr. Darcy make an appearance. You have a gift for making room for him on your posts…

    • It’s a good tag, isn’t it? Fun questions and a bit different from the others. I love the Tom Adams covers nearly as much as I love the books themselves. My copies are pretty tatty now, but I’ve never felt like replacing them. I keep meaning to re-read Sansom too – why do I never have enough time??? Hahaha – I knew you’d all be upset if Darcy didn’t appear… 😉

  3. Brilliant!

    I’ve reread Agatha Christie’s books as well as Jane Austen’s, J.R.R. Tolkien’s, C.S. Lewis’s, Juliet Marillier’s, and many others. So I guess that makes me a bigamist.

    • Hahahaha! Yes, indeed! I’ve always been fickle myself – my heart belongs to Darcy, but I don’t see why that should stop me dancing with other books… 😉

  4. I’ve not read Beloved, but it definitely sounds like I need to remedy that. Lovely prose, great truths, and reshaped thinking — what could be a better nudge than a recommendation like that from you, FF?? I’m also intrigued by the Christie covers. Many of her books that I’ve read have been checked out from the library, and the covers don’t exactly lend themselves to grabbing attention. Interesting tag challenge, too!

    • Beloved really blew me away, Debbie – one of my all time favourite books for sure! And it’s one I think about often – so many books are enjoyable but forgettable, but only a few take up permanent residence in my mind. The old Tom Adams covers were great and really set a standard – I think they’re partly why I get so fed up with the generic girl in a red coat type of cover. Adams showed what can be done by an artist who actually takes the time to read the books!

  5. I have to admit, I do love a good-looking book. But only once that I can remember did I buy a book solely based on its cover (without even reading what it was about!). I must have been coming down with something that day.
    I love these categories. I think it would take me forever to choose a book for each one, though – I have fallen in love with a book too many times! 😉

    • Haha – but did you end up enjoying the book?? I love good covers too, but they’d never be the deciding factor. They might make me stop long enough to read the blurb though. Actually that’s what happened with Ken Kalfus – I loved the cover of Equilateral, which made me read the blurb, which made me read the book – and now he’s one of my top favourite authors!

      I enjoyed this tag – the categories were a bit different from the usual ones. Go on – I’d love to read your choices! 😀

      • Actually – haha – it was a total letdown. Just not my thing. Maybe that’s why I’ve never done it since? I didn’t even mind giving it away, despite the beautiful cover.

        • Hahaha – how disappointing! Well, I guess that proves it’s true we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Those old proverb-writers knew a thing or two, eh? 😉

    • I enjoyed this one – the questions were a bit different from the usual. Yes, I love to do a tag when I have an empty slot and can’t think of anything to fill it. And I love the excuse to go back and “promote” some of the books I’ve loved in the past. Haha – it wouldn’t be an FF tag without a Darcy! 😉

  6. Will try to respond with some titles when I gets home and can stare at my shelves. I had the opposite reaction to those Christie covers – I hate them, thinking they are ugly and too macabre – I didn’t even want to touch them when I was a kid. However I have been trying to buy up the art deco type covers (from the 90s??)

    • Ooh, no! They are macabre, but that’s what I like about them! That one of the china doll for By the Pricking of my Thumb gives me delicious shivers down my spine! I love the art deco ones too, though, and I’m very fond of the ones they use for the audiobooks on Audible though I have no idea who the artist is for them. But they also take something from the story – what a difference it makes when the cover artist actually reads the book! My Tom Adams ones are tatty now, but I still can’t bring myself to replace them. It’s a fun tag this one, if you get the time to do it – I enjoyed thinking which books to use. Hope you’re enjoying Cornwall!

  7. Brilliant although I was getting worried that Darcy wasn’t going to make an appearance, but I found him… I agree you can’t beat a beautiful cloth-bound hardback with super smooth pages. I’m tempted to join in but will have to consider my answers!

  8. Great questions and answers – I’m very tempted to do this one too. I still haven’t read anything by Toni Morrison, but Beloved is slowly working its way up the TBR!

    • Oh, do! I’d love to read your answers! I thought this was a fun one – the questions are just a little different from a lot of the tags, meaning I found I was highlighting different books than usual. Beloved blew me away – it’s my mission to make everyone read it! I still haven’t read any of her other books though… this year for sure!

    • Aren’t they? And the whole series is just as good – I used to buy myself one every pay day in my first job. Fortunately we were paid fortnightly back then or it would have taken forever… 😉

  9. Yay, so glad you enjoyed the tag! Those Tom Adams’ covers are amazing; what a great collection to own! I haven’t read nearly enough of Toni Morrison’s work, and Beloved is high on my TBR list. And Pride and Prejudice will always be a book (and miniseries) that I return to again and again.

    • Thanks for tagging me – I really enjoyed this one! 😀 The Tom Adams covers are great, aren’t they? And the whole series is just as good. My copies are sadly tatty now after many re-reads and house moves, but I still don’t want to replace them. Beloved is the only Morrison I’ve read so far and it blew me away. This year I’m determined to read at least a couple of her other books. And Darcy… ah, Darcy! *swoons*

        • I wish they would! I don’t even think that publisher, Fontana, exists any more, but they must have become part of one of the big publishing houses. I might start a campaign! Oh, that’s one of the ones on my list, so it’s great to hear it’s so good. Yes, I imagine every one of her books will be heart-breaking – Beloved certainly ripped me to shreds… 😀

  10. This is a fun tag! I quite often think of books in terms of lovers or romances, actually, so I thought this was very apt. I love those Christie covers! All of my Christies are inherited from Mumsie and she has very dull taste when it comes to the covers! I will have to keep my eye out for these 🙂

  11. I might create my own version of this post today. My husband is out of town, meaning we don’t have to play several rounds of WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? I DON’T KNOW, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? I can just do it! 😅

    • They’re great covers, aren’t they? I wish the Christie estate or whoever owns the rights to them would reissue them. Haha – always room for Darcy here… 😀

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