Five Reasons Why | Wyatt’s World

Recently Digital Book World  reported on why people buy books. In this blog post, Andrew Rhomberg, founder of Jellybooks, lists eight. Rhomberg’s findings might not be earth-shattering, but each would make a fine hook for a display or a lead-in for a suggestion. Here are five of his eight precepts, matched to an appropriate title.

  • Entertain Me Now: Margaret the First by Danielle summerbeforethewar.jpg31416Dutton (Catapult).
    This category captures the desire to read something that delights. Reimagining the life of a 17th-century English duchess who wrote poetry, sf, and philosophy, this buzzy piece of literary historical fiction should suit. Margaret Cavendish was a figure of scandal, but also of admiration, and the first woman to become a member of London’s Royal Society.
  • Entertain Me in the Future: Modern Lovers by Emma Straub (Riverhead).
    This reason fulfills the need to have a book waiting in the wings. In libraries that means titles to put on hold. Due out at the end of May, Straub’s witty take on aging college friends transitioning as their own kids head off to college should do the trick.
  • Impulse: Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi (Ecco: HarperCollins).
    Impulse considers buying in context (such as for a vacation or because of an author visit). With the end of Bravo TV’s Top Chef upon us, now would be the apt time to read host Lakshmi’s bent on her life in food and the people who shaped that life.
  • Makes Me Look Smart: Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson (Norton).
    Evidently some people purchase books not to read but to display so others can understand how smart they are. This title, about one of the largest volcanic explosions in recorded history, would make a solid choice for anyone who also plans to read their entire display collection.
  • Need for a Gift: The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson (Random).
    Books are given as gifts for three purposes: the odds the reader will enjoy it, the giver thinks the recipient should read it, and what the gift says about the giver. All three bases are covered with best-selling author Simonson’s sophomore novel, set in an English coastal town before the start of World War I. It says great things about the taste of the reader offering the gift and is likely to please just about everyone who reads it.


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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at