Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to Find a Good Book to Read

Generic I know. But I have had many people come up to me regarding my book reviews and ask me, “How do you select your books?” I also have people come up to me to “review” my review or say that the book that was reviewed “wouldn’t interest me at all” or “I send all of your book reviews to my sister. She loves them!” I appreciate all of your comments. I do take them in to consideration. But, back to how do I select the books I want to read. Well, I know my tastes but that happens to be splattered among the genres. About the only books I don’t like are fantasy, science fiction, and heavy historically detailed tomes. Usually I begin with getting emails from numerous web sites. I know. Will I get hacked etc.? Well, the ones I use are well documented sites. I use primarily  four different types of sites. One is from book sellers, the other from book reviewers, the third from “collection sites” and the fourth from the authors/publishing houses. For example, I get two emails from Amazon.com. I now have two Kindles (one for me and one for my hubby). I got tired of lugging books all over Timbuktu. So, you can tell Amazon to send you emails only for certain genres. For me, it’s murder/ mystery, award winners, and what’s new on Kindle. You can do the same for Barnes and Nobles and many other book sellers.Kindle Paperwhite e-reader: quick tour  Read more...

The book reviewers: There’s www.bookreporter.com. You can get book reviews, feature articles, and author interviews. I signed up for their weekly updates on what’s new for sale for that week. For simply reviews, well, there are enormous resources (including this book reviewer and my blog). Some that I use: For the mass market, I get monthly emails from USA Today on what’s new in books and what’s on the best seller list. There’s always the old standby of the New York Times book reviews. I can give my opinion as well as they can give theirs, right? I used to read their book reviews but where as the USA Today book reviews are for the masses, the NYT reviews are for the glittering literati, the View from the Good Squad and Freedom points in fact. Two books I disliked but won rave reviews from the NYT. I tend to prefer the Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal. It not only has book reviews but movies, contemporary fashion, trends, real estate etc. Their book selections are a broad range. And they do a selection based on genre called “Five Best”, the five best romance novels, the five best war novels, spy novels, nonfiction based on authors’ personal lives etc. There is also www.bookmarksmagazine.com.  HomeThey have a quarterly magazine you can buy at Barnes and Nobles. But they have a site that gives terrific book reviews based on genre. www.wordandfilm is a fun site. It marries movie treatments made from books so you can see what book is being made into a movie. Another I use a great deal is www.readinggroupguides.com. They just posted a list of the best top ten books from the last ten years for book clubs. Either go to their site or go to my blog http://satisfyingmycuriousity.blogspot.com for the list. You can find reading guides for 1000’s of books that your book club may want to discuss.

Then there are the “collection” sites. These basically ask you to post your books into a library or go to their site to select books you’ve read and then rate them and then they come back with recommendations for you to read based on your “taste” in books. www.librarything.com and www.goodreads.com both do this. Library Thing asks you to input all of your books in your library using the ISBN number on the back of the book. If you’ve got the time…It was so cold last winter, I did it. 2050 books I had. So, I joined www.paperbackswap.com to swap books online. You post a book, someone wants it, you send it to them at your expense, and then you get a credit for a future book. I have over 200 credits (and I have two Kindles…). You can give the credits to other family members, friends, they have programs for the military etc. It is a great site. Goodreads: Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion

And last but not least author and publisher websites. I subscribe to several but the one I like the best is Nelson Demille’s (Gold Coast, The Lion’s Gate, Plum Island etc). If you have not read any Nelson Demille, you’re missing out on some great fun, mystery and action. His emails are hysterical. 

And I must not forget my book club. We are a very diverse group. We’ve been together 7-8 years. Members come and go but we still have a core membership of about 10. Most of them live in mid-town so we meet once a month on a Friday at the Ritz Carlton (la de da) in the, get this, their library (read bar). They know us so well they give us a special table and they get great tips. We meet twice a year with our spouses in attendance and, yes, we make them read a book, although it does tend to be an anthology. Sometimes these gatherings get rather raucous. At the end of the year, we send in book selections for all of us to vote on and then once the list is approved, leaders for the discussions volunteer.

So, from the simple question of how I select books…there you have it…

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