The question I proposed for this week was: What is an unusual way in which you have found books or authors?
I think all of us know fellow writers and read their books, and their friends have friends who write, and so we read their books, also. Facebook has a wealth of authors and it is a great way to get to know very many. I hesitate to use the term ‘networking’, because it often connotes using other people for your own advancement, but really, I do love the ‘network’ of connections between writers.
I got into writers’ circles and back to writing in earnest by visiting blogs, looking for interviews of authors I had met. More and more blogs have opened up my world and many give away books on a regular basis. But that is not an unusual way to find books.
I have not browsed in a bookstore in years. I just don’t get around much anymore, mostly due to family obligations…and the fact that those have lead to shallow pockets.
I used to peruse all of the books in thrift shops, as well. Time and energy are now at a premium, but I had found many good books and great authors, often those whose names I had heard but whose works I had never read. I picked up a few and ended up reading everything I could get my hands on from the writers, whose reputations were often well-earned.
Anthologies are a great way to stumble across hitherto unknown authors, ones you never would have known of by any other process. Pick up one containing a story by a favorite author and you never know what other great writers you will find. On the other hand, I found that just because someone can write a short story doesn’t mean that their novels are as good. One favorite novelist has been part of several anthologies, and her works were always the best short-stories in the bunch…except once. One story by another writer just jumped out at me. I hustled to read her novels and was sorely disappointed; she should switch to short stories exclusively.
Relatives put me onto some wonderful writers. Books, series and authors that have become part of my life are ones I never would have read except that I read them with and for my niece and my grandson. From vampires to gentle wizarding worlds, ghosts girls to ancient gods in modern times and many, many mysteries with humor, I have thoroughly enjoyed a number of series which I would never in a million years have found on my own.
One son put me onto books which were part of his required reading in college. One was on the history of diseases. Really, it is fascinating, seeing how the world was different and how politics played into the control and the spread. No way would I have picked that one up, in fact, he had to insist that I start it. He was right; I was hooked right away.
I used to watch “Book TV”, a CNN channel, on weekends. It is filled with fascinating non-fiction books through book readings, roundtables and interviews. The topics ran mostly for adults, but there were some middle school books. Most were serious, many were amusing and nearly all were interesting.
I cut the cable, but used to be able to access many of the Book TV programs online, but now you must have a cable subscription to view the podcasts. It is a shame. I’d go to my local library and see many of titles on the New Book shelves. I approached the buyer and asked her if she watched Book TV. She was surprised and said yes, but I told her I could tell by the shelves.
Those shelves are where I find books and authors, too.
I also find books on my local library’s racks of books for sale. When the old library moved to their new digs, (which was the old hospital, now cut down), they sold an enormous amount of books and we picked up quite a number. We went back several times and one author’s book and its sequel were not moving. I broke down and bought them up after the third or fourth visit. I love the first book, hated most of the second. I have not thought to look the author up for more. In fact, I am not sure I still have the books. Pity.
And although I previously mentioned this, I often get involved in our local library’s events. Once I read a book I never would have chosen, but a requirement was that I needed to read an author with the same name as mine as part of an Adult Summer Reading Program. I did a review of the book by Rachel Joyce here a few years ago. Great story, well done. I also learned to “can” as a challenge, read a biography of someone I never would have read about,( but came to appreciate), and found out about women in war, (WWII and Vietnam, which are topics that are so heart-breaking, it will have to wait to be discussed.)
A few St. Valentine’s days ago I agreed to join in and go on “A Blind Date with a Book” at the library. I picked one up wrapped in brown paper, (with hearts!) I groaned when I read the title, which sounded like a ‘true confession’-type novel, but I went with it out of honor. Was I surprised! The author is now my favorite current ‘true-novel’ author .I read all of the works she had previously published. I may have done a review of Liane Moriarty’s work here, as well.
You never know what treasures you will find.
Have you ever done a library challenge?