Armchair Book Expo: What Do Readers Want?

Armchair Book Expo is an online book conference that takes place this year from May 31st-June 4th. Every day bloggers take part in different discussion posts, twitter chats, and even an Instagram challenge. Today we have a choice of topics between What Do Readers Want? & Let’s Collaborate & Listen. I’ve elected to take part in the former.

What Do Readers Want?: What makes or breaks a book? How do we rate the books, or determine if it is good literature or a good story? What do we want from an author event? How does diversity representation fit into all of this?

My own wants when it comes to books have been very fluid since joining the book blogging community. What I may have liked a couple of years ago, may not satisfy me today. I think it’s safe to say that my standards have risen. I expect more from books in terms of characterization, world-building, and diversity. I personally like character-driven novels and feel that I’m more likely to forgive a lack of good world-building if I find the characters truly engaging.

How a book makes me feel is also a factor in how I consume books and rate them. Do I read with my head or my heart? I think it’s a little of both. When I read a book, I think about characterization, storylines, the writing, and world-building. But any book that doesn’t make me feel something, won’t end up as a five-star for me. I want authors to move me with their stories, I want to agonize over what happens next, I want to feel emotionally invested in the characters.

There’s a huge arbitrary component to answering a question like this and for every reader, their expectations for a book are different. What may ruin a book for me could be dismissed by another reader and vice versa. What makes or breaks a book really depends on the reader: what they expect to get from a book, how they interpret what’s on the page, their tolerance for certain shortcomings, as well as other factors.

What the most important factor for you when you pick up a book? Do you read with your head or your heart? Is one more important than the other? Let’s discuss in the comments and leave a link to your own Armchair Book Expo post in the comments!

30 thoughts on “Armchair Book Expo: What Do Readers Want?

  1. It’s funny how the more you read, the higher your expectations rise. I try to stay away from books I loved years ago after being disappointed with a reread. Tastes change so guess it’s better to move forward instead of looking back. I think that I read more with my heart, but my head does jump in every now and again if something is illogical or there’s obvious errors. Darn head! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alicia. So much fun to be paired up with you for the comment challenge!

    To react to your discussion post; I love a good Fantasy novel with a totally new world, new people and a very thrilling plot! I also love books like Me Before You and thrillers from writers like Karin Slaughter.

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  3. Every book definitely needs to make me feel the feels for me to enjoy it. It’s hard to like a book you have no emotional investment in. I try to judge a book with both my heart and my head, but my heart always seems to win the battle of which will have more influence. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Since I’m mostly a mood reader, I read with greatly with my heart. I have to be feeling it. But that doesn’t mean my head won’t ruin the book for me. If I can’t wrap my mind around the universe or there are too many technical problems, I won’t be able to get into the story. I read largely to escape life for a while so if I can’t lose myself in the story then I’ll probably not rate it at the top. You can read more about what I want and ways I collaborate

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  5. I just pick up what sounds good. But when making purchases, I sometimes only go by the cover which so far has only benefited me. Fingers crossed I never get burned by a gorgeous cover. Thank you for sharing. Happy ABEA!
    Gabriella M Reads
    My Armchair BEA post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, Alicia! This = AGREE! “How a book makes me feel is also a factor in how I consume books and rate them.”

    Loving the characters or connecting to them is always a must. It’s the characters that keep us reading, or it is for me. 🙂

    You sum everything up wonderfully in that last paragraph! We all like something different and what bothers me as a reader, you may find perfectly fine. So true. And thank goodness there are so many authors with varied styles who invite us into worlds that enchant. 🙂

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland, Alicia. Always great to chat with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that different genres can appeal to us at different times in our lives. I always find it interesting when you read a book you haven’t picked up in years and find out it’s no longer the kind of book that speaks to you. Kind of sad in a way, but people don’t stay the same, you know?


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