First, I want to say—congratulations to all the talented writers who participated in the Round Robin “Her Fatal Valentine!” (dum, dum, dum… that title really needs a sound effect.)
A Round Robin is a kind of improvisation games for writers. Like most improv—when it works, it’s like magic! And when it doesn’t, it’s still darn funny. If you haven’t read it, you are in for a treat. Skip on down the blog to February 4th. I’ll wait…
Don’t you love a good book recommendation?
There have been dire whispers about Barnes & Noble in the news again. In my local shopping center, what used to be the Borders has just re-opened as a (shudder) Sports Authority.
There are still several independent bookstores near me, thank goodness. But I’ve been thinking about how I used to find books in the old days. (Loitering in the Borders for hours.) Versus how I find things today, partly because I read a quote recently that said, “how we discover books is broken.”
I’m not sure if it’s broken—but it’s definitely gone old school.
Word of mouth seems to be the way I find new books. Recommendations from friends. Book sellers I trust.
Groups with similar tastes can be helpful, unless they get very big. Goodreads was recently profiled in the NYT—let the marketing begin! That place is going to get even crazier in the next few months. Shelfari seems to be under the radar for now but I fear the coming boom. Smaller communities seem to be a more reliable source for me.
I first heard about “50 Shades” on one of my favorite author’s Facebook pages, back when it was still available online for free. She regularly asks her facebook fans to post “what are you reading?” A hundred people may respond. I’ll skim the answers for books I don’t recognize.
Another trick I have is to cast a wide net. I’m sure you’ve seen the best-of-lists that come of at the end of the year. Or the lists of award winners for mysteries, fiction, romance, science fiction. But I rarely grab the winners first. I search for all the nominees/also rans/next outs. Many of my favorite books are the ones that didn’t win—because they were a little too quirky, or the author too new to generate enough votes.
Now that I can’t sit in the Borders for hours, I need help. I need new ways to find books. (And don’t say: “Amazon Recommended for You.” Geez. Where do they come up with some of those? )
I’ve shared a couple of my favorite tricks. How do you all find new books to read?