9 Things in Books that Make Me Run Towards Them with Open Arms aka What Compels Me to Read Certain Books

So, to the surprise of many, I actually, you know, LIKE books.

I’m getting more and more critical of the books I read, and you’ll see me handing out more 3-star ratings than 5-star (I HAVEN’T READ ANY 5-STAR BOOKS THIS YEAR YET HELP).

But?? All is not completely lost yet???? There are still MANY things in books that I absolutely love to read, and so today, I decided to talk about them! Aka me screaming about my favorite things and then demanding recommendations.

(Also! All the book covers link to the book’s page on Goodreads!!)

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1. magic!

I’m a fantasy-lover at heart, and I love magic*, whether it be in fantasy or magical realism. It’s just so fun and exciting to read about and… magical. (I obviously have great vocabulary.)

Honestly?? I love anything that involves something-that-doesn’t-exist-in-the-real-world because, I mean. The real world? Boring. And also very messy. And actually quite depressing to think about. (Unless we’re thinking about MANGOES.)


I literally have so many favorite magical books but okay

When the Moon Was Ours  A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)  Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

All of Anna-Marie’s books contain magic (SHE IS MY FAVORITE MAGICAL REALISM AUTHOR GO READ HER BOOKS RIGHT NOW) but that’s my favorite. And ADSOM literally has “magic” in its title?? And Strange the Dreamer, while I had some issues with it, has SUPER. COOL. MAGICAL. POWERS.

*I typed the “ma” and my fingers immediately went to the “n”. Have I tricked my fingers into typing “mangoes”??? Yes.

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2. diversity (esp. queer or POC rep)

As y’all know, I’m a HUGE advocate for diversity & representation of marginalized people in books, especially as a person part of a variety of minorities!

And I mean, I won’t pick up a book SOLELY because it’s diverse (unless it directly represents me), but it still gets a boost in my TBR because I looooove diverse books and think them to be extremely important.

Oh and?? If you mention “queer” or “gay” relating to anything in a book, I will be there faster than you can include “pirates” or “space” or “witches” (which are three things that are absolutely gay. don’t fight me on this).


Starfish  The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1)  I Believe in a Thing Called Love

These are all books I mostly picked up for the Asian rep, and guess what!! I didn’t like any of them except for Starfish!!

And I KNOOOW I keep screaming about Starfish, but how can I not?? It is literally THE best representation of myself as an Asian that I’ve ever read. The absolute best.

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3. morally ambiguous characters


I mean like ?? Six of Crows probably fueled this extreme love, but STILL. I love characters that you don’t know are good or bad, who do things that are morally questionable, seem kind-hearted one moment and then CRUEL the next fjsflsfslf THEY’RE SO INTERESTING.


Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)  This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)  The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

Okay so like literally everyone from Six of Crows is questionable, Kate Harker from This Savage Song definitely is, and then Adelina Amouteru is more like a villain but still???

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4. darkness

I rarely read thrillers or horror, because I’m a wimp and get terrified of a tiny creak in my house at night. So you’d think that I would STAY AWAY from “darkness” in books (such as a voice in your head telling you to kill people)*, but actually, no. I LOVE IT.

I can’t describe what about darkness compels me so much?? It’s so creepy but for some reason I find it so FUN to read and write. Something in me’s a little twisted, I know.

But like COME ON. Something in your head ordering you to kill people?? Trying to resist that something??? But then finally giving in because you just can’t fight anymore??? FJDLSFKJDS I LOVE IT.


Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)  A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)  The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

Our Dark Duet and A Conjuring of Light are by the queen, Victoria Schwab not the first books of the series, but they’re the darkest of the series and it’s BEAUTIFUL**. And with the whole “voices” thing: Adelina’s story is so so dark.

*This is literally what my old WIP was about. DO YOU SEE WHY I SCARE MYSELF.
**May, this is not how you describe these kind of things.

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5. pretty covers

Would it even have been ME if I didn’t include this on my list??

Y’all I can’t help but FALL IN LOVE WITH BOOK…’S COVERS. Some of them are prettier than I’ll ever be and I envy them so much (and then there are the ugly ones but we don’t talk about them).

And I honestly don’t buy a lot of books based on cover because I barely buy any (read: I’m broke) so I make sure that there is a very high chance of me liking the book before buying. But at the library?? I check out the books I came for, other random new releases, and then the ones with PRETTY COVERS.


An Enchantment of Ravens  The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)

Despite both of these books’ gorgeous covers, I actually HATED these books. Because I love reminding myself of all the books I’ve been disappointed by!!!

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6. squads

Again, Six of Crows probably had something to do with my love for squads in books, but something makes me SO HAPPY to read about a group of close friends. Like they can do all sorts of crazy things together??? Such as stealing a prisoner from the world’s most secure prison and trying not to kill each other. Doesn’t that sound like so much FUN.

(This is not talking about Six of Crows at all, I don’t know what you’re talking about.)


Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)  The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)  The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

I would’ve included Six of Crows but I mean…

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7. cinnamon roll characters

I’m someone who HAS to connect to characters otherwise I will not like the book. I will probably hate it. So when I hear that a book has brilliant characters, I HAVE TO READ IT.

And with my favorite books, I’ll fall in love with the characters! And proceed to call them my children and imagining they exist in real life and pretending to talk to them,,, but that’s not the point.


Tbh any characters that are cinnamon rolls are just cinnamon rolls to me. There is no formula. I JUST LOVE CHARACTERS.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)  The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)  The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)  Wild Beauty

  • the tough-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside guy (Matthias from Six of Crows*, Ronan from The Raven Cycle)
  • strong, whether it be emotionally or physically, girls (Inej & Nina from Six of Crows, Annabeth from Percy Jackson)
  • cute nerds (Simon from Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Hermione from Harry Potter)
  • soft boys (Wylan from Six of Crows, Fel from Wild Beauty)

*I was going to put Kaz with Matthias but I realized that Kaz is not soft… anywhere.

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8. social issues

So I know I said I like to read things that AREN’T relating to the real world, because the real world has so many problems and I’d just like to escape them all, you know. But like??? I really love books about social issues??

The contemporaries I end up enjoying the most are actually NOT the fluffy dramatic “oh my god how do I get them to like me” contemporaries. (They’re annoying.) They’re the ones that are heavy and gritty, because for some reason, I like the contemporaries that HIT ME HARD.

Some issues that I love reading about (because I’m insanely passionate about them) include:

  • racism
  • beauty standards (especially concerning the societal standard that “white is pretty”)
  • police brutality
  • rape or sexual assault/harassment/abuse (and other issues relating to rape culture)
  • feminism !!!


The Hate U Give  The Nowhere Girls  Girl Made of Stars

THUG talks about racism & police brutality, The Nowhere Girls talks about rape culture and feminism (TWO IN ONE WHOOP), and Girl Made of Stars* talks about rape culture!


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9. close relationships

I mentioned this a little briefly in Point #6 (squads), but I absolutely when friends or family members are super close?? Like when it’s a group of friends, they can be all like “I want to kill you but I also want to kill you”. Or they can find a family in EACH OTHER AWWW.

(I’m such a sap.)

And I think close family relationships are really important because you don’t really see them in books, and it’s also really SWEET to see brothers and sisters and parents bonding!!!


Wild Beauty  The Weight of Feathers  To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

So literally all of Anna-Marie’s books have really close family relationships??? (AND I LOVE IT.) But TATBILB also has a great sister-father relationship as well!

shall we chat

what are some things that make YOU pick up books?? do you get scared easily by horror? who are some of your “cinnamon rolls”? are you a fantasy or contemporary lover?? (or both? neither?) and give me some recommendations based on these things, i need more!!!

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67 thoughts on “9 Things in Books that Make Me Run Towards Them with Open Arms aka What Compels Me to Read Certain Books


    literally the only thing you have to say to get me to read a book is “it’s gay”. seriously, i have low standards. bUT GOOD REP MAKES ME SO SOFT AND HAPPY AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH even though there are hardly any books with indian rep but it’s ok :’) i’ll stick to reading bad indian ya for my rep needs :’) (remind me to tell you more about how SICKENING this one author is ok)


    ok so i need to read anna-marie’s books

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YOU’RE GOOD

      lmaooOOOOOOO literally same tho?? like any reference to anything gay or queer or sapphic and I am THERE. and aahhh I’m sorry there aren’t a lot of books with Indian rep!! same with Southeast/East Asian unfortunately :( but I do the best with what I’ve got!


      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved this post, because I’ve got a few things in books that make my heart happy ♥
    You included a lot of my favorite things in books on your list like MAGIC, morally ambiguous characters (they are my absolute favorites – especially Adelina, i love her), squads, cinnamon roll characters and of course diverse books. And close relationships … so basically the entire list :D

    Liked by 1 person

  3. oh my god why would you make so many of the examples books you hated…….like relatable but also oh my god

    i actually just started when the moon was ours on a whim!!! wow!!!! i feel so connected to you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everyone is gay in space. Sorry Straights ya gotta stay down here on Earth you ruined it so let all of us live a happy gay life in space 🤷🏻‍♀️ Also your right pirates and witches?? gay

    Anyway I agree with all of these and now you’re making me want to read all the examples you listed that I haven’t read yet and you liked. Starfish was up on Netgalley again even though it’s already been published I have no idea why because I’m a noob but I requested it because I’m broke and I got accepted so YAY I CAN FINALLY READ IT
    Anyway I agree with all of these and now you’re making me want to read all the examples you listed that I haven’t read yet and you liked. Starfish was up on Netgalley again even though it’s already been published I have no idea why because I’m a noob but I requested it because I’m broke and I got accepted so YAY I CAN FINALLY READ IT


  5. I so agree with all of these. I’m currently trying to write a sci-fi/fantasy/action-packed comedic romantic drama that deals with social issues [feminism, beauty standards, environmentalism, civil rights, LBGTQ+ rights and lots more. I’m currently focusing on the Chuck fanfiction I’ve been working on because I’m positive that the heartless spy, Alexandra Forrest had a tragic romance background, and now I feel so sorry for her with all her heartbreak [too much?]


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