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Finding Stuff to Read: September 28, 2008

September 28, 2008

One of the things WordPress does is automatically generate a list of blog posts out there that might possibly be related to one you posted. Friday’s post generated a link to Nerd World: A Blog About Geek Culture, on Time.com. I did a little poking around (because I’m a curious soul) and found this very interesting post on buying used or new online.

My sister G. wonders where I find out about the books I read. One source is book reviews, primarily the New York Times’s and Boston.com’s. I also use online sites, such as The Romance Reader, The Mystery Reader, All About Romance and Dear Author.

Another source is the blogosphere. I started reading Meljean Brooks’s Guardian series because of a thoughtful and lucid post in her blog about avoiding plagiarism. I liked how she wrote, and I liked how she presented her arguments, and that made me buy the first book, Demon Angel.

The thing is, all those sources do is pique my curiosity. I might borrow a book based solely on a review, but I would never buy without investigating further. The first thing I do is look for the author’s website, hoping to find an excerpt. How something is written is very important to me — if a writer’s style is not to my taste, then there’s no point in going further. If I don’t like how something is written, I’m not going to read it. (Well, if it’s research, I might mine it for information, but I wouldn’t call that reading.)

If there’s no excerpt on the author’s website, I’ll go to Amazon.com to see if there’s an excerpt there. If there isn’t one there either… well, the odds that I’ll buy the book get longer. I don’t buy without an experimental read, and without an excerpt, I’ll have to remember the book the next time I’m at the bookstore. Which is unlikely.

Most of the time, a good review will send me to the library’s website, to find out if the book is available yet. Sometimes it isn’t listed at all; sometimes it’s listed as something on order. If it’s there, I request it, and then I wait (and, sometimes, wait and wait — I’ve been waiting literally months for The Naked Quaker : True Crimes and Controversies From the Courts of Colonial New England by Diane Rapaport, a book I got curious about based on a review on Boston.com).

And every now and again, a friend’s recommendation will make me try something.

So, in a nutshell, I find stuff to read all kinds of ways.

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