I’m betting I have friends who could write this list for me. These are topics, themes, and settings that make me immediately interested in a book.

Make your mental guesses before you scroll down…

Victorian England

Gaslit cobblestone streets, magnificent clothes, early forensics, invention, exploration. It is such a rich setting to tell many different kinds of stories.



The idea of madness and a place devoted to studying it is mesmerizing and terrifying. From nonfiction about Charcot to wild fiction set in Bedlam, I will always gravitate to this topic.



Like Mulder, I want to believe in ghosts. Regardless of whether they exist or not, I am fascinated by the folklore aspect of them. Why do we tell ghost stories? What do they say about us?



Not the fantasy epic kind so much, but the vintage stage magic done by the likes of Houdini or Alfred Borden in The Prestige.

Fin-de-sicle Paris

Kind of like Victorian England, there is an odd energy and spirit about it. The art of Toulouse Lautrec set against the backdrop of feats of engineering and the flâneur culture.


Archaeology and quest

Is there a lost vault? A cryptic map? A series of clues that lead to a treasure or the answer to a mystery? Then I want to be there for the adventure.


Early photography and film

People experimenting with images on film – still or moving – makes for great characters, and often interesting plots. From Daguerre to silent film, it’s all fascinating.


Doppelgangers or time slips

I can’t keep up with a technical sci-fi story but if it is something where just one element is out of place, making the whole thing tremble, I love it.


Gothic anything

Is there a house in disrepair? A disinherited daughter with a vengeance? A family secret? I want to peer in through those cracked, cobwebbed windows.


What makes you read? 

16 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Me Want To Read A Book”

    1. Oh, I love non-fiction too! I just picked up an Agatha Christie memoir about her days on archaeology expedition.

  1. What a fascinating list! I don’t think I’ve read any since I graduated from college, but the Victorian period was my favorite to read about while I was a student for all of the reasons you mentioned.

  2. I agree with so many of these! Victorian England is a favorite of mine, as well as “gothic” novels. I really enjoy books about magic that are set in our world.

  3. Ooh, so many categories I could have added to my own list! I do love anything Victorian England, and I need to read more fin-de-siecle Paris! I have some Zola on my soon-to-read list, I think that’s about the right time. Also love time slips and time travel, as long as there isn’t too much sci-fi technospeak. I just read To Say Nothing and the Dog and there’s a lot of technobabble, but the Victorian parts are great. And I love Victorian sensation novels, which often have asylums and Gothic elements.

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