QUICK CONTEST CLARIFICATION: it seems from the comments of multiple people that there is some confusion as to the rules. I am looking for a "worst first line" that is your original work, that has been created purely for this contest. I'm not asking you to find something you already wrote that perhaps you once thought was good, but now realize is bad. No research needed, just a little bad inspiration.
Also, a few people have said they don't have time, and if you don't want to make time for it, that's totally cool, I'm sure y'all have many better things to do. But, if you want to play along, I swear it will take next to no time at all. I told my husband I was running this contest, and he immediately said, "After they unstapled his penis from the board, he realized his day was only going to get worse." Dude, I don't want to read that book, do you? That's a bad first sentence. (Caveat: if someone like David Sedaris was the author, I would keep reading the book, because I'd expect some good funny. But if I had the slightest inkling that it was going to be one of those horror/torture-porn books, I'd drop it like it was covered in roaches.)
My point here is that bad first sentences need not be long and creatively awful. They can also be short and gross, or boring. "Jill started clipping her toenails" is not an auspicious start. You get the idea. Click the link over there on the right and give it a go.
Now, onto TODAY'S TOPIC.
What makes you pick up a book to read? Do you do your own research? Do you rely on the recommendations of friends and family with similar tastes? Are you swayed by the display racks in stores? Do you trust the automatically generated recommendations of places like Amazon.com, or are you loyal to the staff recommendations wall at your local indie store? Do you always buy the same authors?
I have one local indie store in particular that has some good tables to browse where I am often surprised by a new set of offerings that I don't see at other stores. I regularly check out the IndieNext list. I've started going to more author readings in my area, and I always buy the book so that I can get a signature and have a chance to talk with the author afterwards. I subscribe to the Barnes & Noble "Meet the Writers" podcasts (there's an audio and a video) and will sometimes buy a book based on those author interviews. My husband is mostly a non-fiction reader, so if he recommends a novel for me, I know it's going to be good. And I'll take friend recommendations into consideration as well, although for some reason I still haven't been willing to dive into Middlesex, even though six different people have told me I'd like it...
My most recent purchase? The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, because in his B&N interview, the Knopf Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Sonny Mehta described the title character thusly:
I believe Larsen said in an interview that he'd often wondered what Pippi Longstocking was going to be when she grew up, and I think that is what Lisbeth is in this novel.Yeah, now I have to read it.
How about you? What's the most recent book you picked up, and why?