What Makes You Read a Book? What Catches Your Eye? Try My “3-Paragraph Test!”



European cover. 

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty picky when it comes to reading. Especially when I’m looking for fiction to read. Too many books and so little time—isn’t that how the saying goes? So you can imagine when it comes to novels. I mean, lots of time goes into reading one. Novels are a commitment. And I love commitment. I do. But not to just any Tom, Dick, or Harry.

So about five or so years ago, I decided I needed to be realistic about not being able to read EVERY published novel on the planet before I die. So I came up with my “3 Paragraph Test”—I’d use the first few paragraphs to test a book’s opening (the most important part) to see if its prose style, voice, etc. are up to my standards for that commitment.

I’ll even go a page or so…or, if I want to be fair and I can’t glean enough from the first few paragraphs, then I’ll go a whole first chapter, if it’s short.

So, I wanted to start sharing with you books that had beginnings I really like!—Ones that pulled me in and made me want to keep reading. Let me know what you think!


“It’s better to kill people at the end of their psychology. They have nothing left to offer themselves or the world.

Not that I should have been killing anyone just then. Having fed less than twenty hours ago I should have wakened slaked and mellow, indifferent to blood for at least a week. Instead I’d woken in a state of—-not to put too fine a point on it—complete fucking pandemonium. Voices in the head (repeating, God only knew why, ‘He lied in every word…He lied in every word’…), earthquake in the heart, Sartrean nausea in the soul—and thirst as I hadn’t felt in centuries. Not the domesticated version, to be fobbed off with a half-dozen pouches from the fridge. No. This was The Lash, old school, non-negotiable, the red


US cover.

chorus that deafened the capillaries with its single moronic imperative: GET LIVING BLOOD NOW, OR DIE.”

Glenn Duncan, By Blood We Live, 2014

One response to “What Makes You Read a Book? What Catches Your Eye? Try My “3-Paragraph Test!”

  1. Pingback: Novel Firsts—Why I Chooss the Books I Read… | The Sanguine Woods

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.