Choosing a Novel

Choosing A Novel

Before using non-fiction sources of information, you know that you need to check for credibility and reliability . . .
1. Who is the publisher?
2. Who is the author?
3. When was the book published?

Before reading a novel, you don’t need to do as much research because you already know that you’ll be reading a story and not learning facts. Nevertheless, some novels are of better quality than others. Here are some ways you can check on the quality of a novel before you choose the book:

1. Who is the publisher?
Some publishers are like supermarkets in which one can buy both junk food and nutritious food. Other publishers are more like specialty delicatessens or produce stands selling only food of the highest quality.

2. Who is the author?
Some writers tell stories that are like desserts: marvellously tasty but not all that healthy. Other writers tell stories that are like gourmet meals: delicious and nutritious.

3. What is on the dustcover or back cover of the book?
Read what it says about a story on the cover of the book. Look for quotations from book reviewers.

4. What is on the verso of the title page?  Is there a short summary?

5. What is the font and layout of the pages?
How big is the print?  How far apart are the lines of print?  How large are the margins?

6. Consider the font and layout of the pages, do you have time to read this book?
Some excellent books require quite a bit of time to read. You may choose not to read a book simply because you do not have enough time at the present.  Would you read the book if you had more time?

7.  What does the language sound like at the beginning of the story?
Start reading at the beginning, and look for . . .
– five senses details
– figures of speech
– powerful words
– conversation
– admirable values (e.g. empathy, perseverance, kindness)

 Can you judge a book by its publisher?  
These opinions are those of Ms. Rosen.
What have you observed about the novels you read?

Specialty Publishers
(The literary quality is reliably excellent.)

Atheneum : powerful literature

Candlewick Press : beautiful picture books

Chicken House : powerful literature


Orchard Books : powerful literature

Penguin and Puffin

Square Fish Books


Superstore Publishers 
(The literary quality varies from outstanding to pedestrian.)

Alfred A. Knopf : American

Doubleday : American

HarperCollins : American

Hyperion : American; many action-packed novels

KidsCanPress : Canadian

Orca : Canadian; mostly quick reads about current events

Random House : American

Scholastic : quality varies widely

Simon Pulse : teen novels




1. Are there any companies or people who recommend the novel or the author? (Check the dustcover or back cover.)



2. Who is the author?    What is the background of the author? (Look at the inside of the back cover or the back cover itself.  Use your own general knowledge.)



3. Who is the publisher?   What is the reputation of the publisher? (Check the title page.)


4.  What information is on the verso of the title page?  Is there a short summary?  What does it say? Are there subject headings? What are they?




5. What is the size and style of the font? How big are the margins?  How much space is there between the lines?  Will your eyes be comfortable reading this book? 



5.  How long is the book?  Considering the size of the font and the number of pages in the book, do you have time to read it?



6. What connections can you make to the book so far?  Have you ever read a book on a similar topic?  Have you ever read a book by the same author?   Do you like books of this genre (mystery, humour, etc.) or will reading this book be a new adventure for you?



7. What is the quality of the language in the story?
Start reading at the beginning, and copy examples of . .
– five senses details

– powerful words


– figures of speech:


–          alliteration


–          assonance and consonance


–          similes


–          metaphors



–          repetition



–          parallel structure


– conversation

– admirable values (kindness, honesty, perseverance, hope, determination, empathy) Do you like the main character?


 [This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2014 Sophie Rosen.]

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