Hi guys, for my reader interview today I have privilege of introducing Caz Pollard, an awesome BookTuber with a huge variety of reading interests. Her channel is brilliant too, I highly recommend her April Fools Book Tag video!
What makes a book cover catch your eye? Have you got a favourite?
I don’t really have one ‘thing’ that catches my eye on book covers, but I do love nice typography – this may be because I generally don’t look at covers when browsing books. Most of my ‘in real life’ book browsing happens in charity and second hand shops, so it’s more the spines that can catch my eye. I’ve never picked up a book *just* because of the cover / spine though, it has to sound like something I would genuinely be interested in. I can tell you that I don’t like girl in dress dramatically looking over her shoulder, but who does?
A few I will mention are The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (these just work great as a set), Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (remember when I said I love a nice bit of typography?) and The Taste Of Cashews by Will Hartzell-Baird (which just does a great job of bringing the story to life in a picture)
When you’re reading a blurb, what would make you want to try that book? What would put you off?
This is a hard question, because I look for completely different things in for example fantasy, and in contemporary, but a punchy, to the point synopsis with a little about the world and/or the characters that doesn’t give too much away is a good start.
I’ve read a blurb before that mentions a road trip, and 150 pages into the book there hadn’t been one yet, so I’m not a fan of too much information leakage. A character death, a certain set of circumstances, an important ‘are they / aren’t they’ being revealed as one or the other on the back of the book are all no-no’s. Also World War anything. I literally get to ‘World W..’ in a synopsis and I’m like ‘nope’ and put it down.
What makes you love a character? Who are your favourites from the books you’ve read and why?
I mean come on guys, we all know sarcasm is the number one rule for ‘awesome characters that I love and will defend to the death’!
But yeah, I think just a character that actually has a personality is a good start. There are too many main protagonists that just blend together in a big ’16-year-old-brunette-short-not-like-other-girls-girl’ blob, so whenever someone actually feels like a real, well rounded, multifaceted person they stay with you. Basically pick any character, main or side, in The Raven Cycle and that’s what makes a good character.
Characters > plot. I recently read The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, and for some reason it just didn’t captivate me like it did every other person in the world, but the fact that I was introduced to Nikolai made it all worth while! I like characters that are a bit angry, a bit angsty, a bit socially awkward and a bit broody (actually broody though, not ‘cool broody’) In the All For The Game trilogy by Nora Sakavic basically every character is a complete mess, and that’s why I love it so much!
What keeps a plot engaging, and makes you want to stick with a book/series until the end? Tell us about your favourite books!
If we’re talking high fantasy, distopian, urban fantasy, sci-fi etc then the over all arc – where are the characters going / what are they running from, and what happens between point A and point B has to be engaging and exciting. Being able to actually picture the surroundings due to great world building, showing growth in characters, having plot twists that are not obvious a mile away and having some cool shizz happen makes for a good story.
Lets take the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas for example – the first book, ACOTAR, is pretty much painting by numbers romance, with enough engaging shenanigans and twists to keep you involved, the second, ACOMAF is absolutely stunning, the characters, the world building, the fight scenes, the grey morals – perfect. Then the conclusion, ACOWAR completely stumbles to an end. Rehashed love scenes, lack of peril, obvious outcomes.
If we are talking contemporary, which I would probably go as far as to say is my favourite type of book, then I like it dark. If I’m not crying at the end of a book, did I even read a book? I like reading about dark subjects – basically think of anything that has the potential to have Trigger Warnings and that’s my jam.
These types of stories are very character driven, how do people deal with issues? Why do some people do one thing, and others act the complete opposite? How is life affected? This probably stems from my interest in psychology and true crime (and from starting out my reading career with Jacqueline ‘every-home-is-a-broken-home Wilson!) But let’s not forget the number one rule for character faves! Dark humour is the best humour!
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera is a book that destroyed me, for a third of the book I was crying. Abuse, suicide, violence, internalized hate, memory loss and the affect on family and friends – five stars!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about reading?
Yes, reading should be enjoyed.
I remember a few months ago I was browsing the books in a charity shop, and I over heard a woman telling her teenage son that he had to choose ‘harder’ books, ‘adult’ books, books that he won’t actually enjoy, but will push him as a reader. And while it is important to learn and get a better understanding of vocabulary and structure, it was so hard to not turn around and say ‘No! If you want to read a book, read it!’. Being forced to read books we have no interest in is probably one of the biggest reasons why a lot of people don’t read for fun.
So if I, a 26 year old woman, want to read about Percy Jackson, which is aimed at 12 year olds, you can bet your ass I’m going on that journey!
Thanks so much for sharing your take on reading, Caz!
If you’d like to find out more about Caz and her BookTube channel, Catsandcamera, check out these links-