Beginning a new book is like beginning a new relationship. From the looks of its cover you know you will probably like the contents. At the very least, you know you’re attracted to its exterior. Or you might be intrigued about the story based on what you’ve heard about it from other people in your life, but you ultimately may not be ready to take it out in public with you until you’re a few chapters in.
The experience of beginning a new book also feels extremely personal to me. (Am I totally crazy?) I like having a little nook and some private time where I can get to know the book and how I feel about it before the world knows we’re a “couple.”
Because I have these weird thoughts, and because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I’ve decided to take some of the tried-and-true tips for new relationships I’ve heard over the years and apply them to beginning new book relationships!
Tips for New (Book) Relationships
Be Honest & Up Front about Deal Breakers –
In a real relationship this could take the form of one person wanting children and the other one not, not valuing family relationships in the same way, or needing too much (or too little) alone time – but with books there’s a whole different category of deal-breakers. Some of mine are:
- Poor grammar
- Non-descript prose (I hate when an author tells me instead of shows me)
- Over use of certain sentences or words
- Love triangles (with few exceptions)
- Tired tropes
You probably have your own set of deal-breakers and, whatever those might be, you’ve got to be true to yourself and DNF (do not finish) the book if it ticks off too many of those boxes. Life’s too short for bad books and not-right-for-you relationships!
Know What You’re Looking For –
There are a few relationship genres: LTRs (long term relationships), one night stands, and friend zones just to name a few. Books can fall into similar categories and it’s important to pick a book that matches what you’re looking for!
If you’re at a place in your life where all you can handle is the occasional fling, this is probably not the time to commit to reading “Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin. That season of life is much better suited to something light and fluffy that you can read in a weekend, feel happy, and then move on from. (See: “Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins.)
Ensuring that you choose your books (and your relationships!) by knowing what you want from the start will mean fewer feelings getting hurt and more happiness all around.
Don’t Bring the Past into the Present –
In any relationship it is important to start fresh each time. Allowing past relationships or feelings to creep into a new relationship can be toxic. So too, is it with beginning new books. In the past you may have loved an author that, upon opening their newest book you realize isn’t thrilling you. Or maybe you’ve been burned by an author one too many times that you simply can’t bring yourself to read anything else they put out (cough, Danielle Vega, cough).
This is a new book, though, and this new book deserves its own chance to thrill or disappoint you. Identify and address those past feelings with yourself and then allow yourself to move on. You and your new book will have a much better chance when you do.
*Caution: Do not apply this advice to the same, bad-for-you relationships or books over and over again. To some extent, some people and authors are best left in the past and never given a second chance!
Don’t Neglect Your Friends (or Yourself!) –
So often when I begin a new book I am tempted to sit down and devour the whole thing in one sitting. For some books it is impossible not to! However, whenever possible, make sure you give yourself time to be away from your new book. As with people relationships; it’s important to make sure you spend time with your friends, family, and by yourself too! Your book will understand. In fact, you’ll probably appreciate its story even more for having spent a little time apart.
Have Fun! –
The most important thing is to remember to have fun! If reading a book isn’t doing it for you set it down and move on. Unlike with real life relationships, setting a book down doesn’t mean you can’t ever pick it up again! (Sometimes with real relationships you get lucky enough to come back around to someone, but mostly that happens in the movies.)
Whenever you begin a new book you do so because you’re looking for something: a fun read, a chance to learn something new, an escape from reality. All of these things are fantastic and if the book you’re reading doesn’t give you what you need, or if you stop having fun, set it down and DNF!
I hope these tips made you laugh or maybe gave you some validation to DNF a book you might be reading. Either way, thank you for reading this silly post and I wish you nothing but happiness in your next book relationship. Happy Valentine’s / Galentine’s Day! 💖