I've been sick the past two days with a version of the flu. Today I am home again because my daughter's babysitter and family caught the same bug and so I am spending the afternoon with Holly-Anne at home. If only this gave me time to read! Unfortunately I was so sick I couldn't read - Buffy tv watching and lots of sleep was all I could manage - so I haven't magically read anything, and missed Short Story Monday again. The good news is.......I went book buying today! I had to pick up the two books I had on order, and found 3 more.......
1. The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper #2 in The Dark is Rising Series
2. The Dead Hour - Denise MIna
3. The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter
4.Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
5. The Various Haunts of Men - Susan Hill
My excuse for picking up the extra books are - If I like the Dead Hour, I can give copies to my mother and other people through the year. Inkheart I wanted to read before the movie opens soon. The Dark is Rising, because I enjoyed book 1 and now I want to read the series this year! It will be fantastic if I can finally get the whole series read. For the books I'd ordered, I really want to read The Various Haunts of Men, which is book one in the Simon Serrailler series - again, if I like it, can get copies for other people. And the Bloody Chamber, which I have been meaning to read for at least 10 years, and thought was out of print and couldn't find a used copy anywhere. One of my favourite movies, A Company of Wolves, is based on a short story in The Bloody Chamber. And I had to put back two other books to get later, and promise myself I would come back for the Book Thief, and book two of Paul Park's Roumania series which is getting raves in the fantasy world, and promise myself that I would ration myself to buying a book a week! Obviously has not worked this month already. But I feel better!
I guess I shouldn't worry about running out of books to read!
My copy of Locus magazine arrived yesterday with the year 2007 in review, so of course I have been making a list of books from there to get next. Even the reviewers in Locus were saying that they didn't have enough time last year to read all the books that were published, in the science fiction and fantasy fields. So they had to choose what to read and review. I thought this was an interesting point they made, because it seems to me to be true of publishing in general now - there are so many books being published in a year, that it is impossible to read them all. So how do you choose, then? How do I choose? Do I read only reviews? Other people's lists of what it is good? Word of mouth? What is your selection criteria, Gentle Reader? How do you choose what books to read in a given year? My criteria has always been varied - I like a good story, and try to read as much as I can, in a given year. I check out newspaper reviews, magazine reviews, Book Magazine, Locus, Guardian Unlimited Books online regularly, Book Slut has good mystery and young adult fiction reviews online, and then the rest is by chance, by going into bookstores, and now blogs. Entertainment Weekly and Stephen King's column sometimes have interesting books to look out for. And always, there is everyone's Notable Book List of the year, plus award winners etc.
I can't say I am willing to read anything, and that is part of my problem. If so many books are being published in fantasy, and mystery, the genres I read most in, how can I read other areas too? How do I choose my books? Favourite authors, word of mouth, gifts, plus the areas mentioned above. And always, I want something good, something beautiful, meaningful, interesting, deep, thoughtful, moving, original. Exciting.
One of the things I have found, that I mentioned in an earlier blog, is that these book blogs help me find books I otherwise would overlook - books that were published years ago, books in other genres that I don't often read in, books that are good but have been overlooked in a time when so many books are being published. So I am most grateful to you, other book bloggers, for writing about what we all love so much - books.
And despite critical reviewers writing about book bloggers and our lack of credentials and/or books spoiling reviews, I can't help think that book blogs are more useful and fun than a disservice to the publishing industry. I got my sister to read Persuasion because of one of the blogs I wrote about the movie and how the book is better than any version made yet! So my hope is that our book blogs do just that - allow us to talk about books, and help each other find wonderful books to read. The best of our blogs allow us a peek into one another's lives as we live around our reading. Many of us have children, work, husbands, and we build reading in and around how we live. Or build our lives around our reading, I'm not sure which comes first!
Youngest child has just come home, my life calls - the last story in The Door in the Hedge will have to wait til after dinner, I'm afraid.... Happy reading, and happy finding new books to read this year!