I had decided at the beginning of the year I’d put all my posts about books I’ve read in a memories category. That lasted until the end of January. I had to go back today and look up a few post. In that case, I guess it’s good that I haven’t read too much this year…
I’ve been lately interested in why people choose to read the books they do. Is it word-of-mouth? Reading reviews? ‘Cause it’s on the chats? Great cover art? What is it?
I rarely suggest books to other people. I don’t figure that people around me really want recommendations from me. And I rarely heed any recommendation that’s given to me. All in all, I suppose it’s because I don’t have many close friends. No one knows me well enough to say, “Katherine, you’d love this book” and I know no one well enough for me to say, “This book would be perfect for you.” And I’m picky. And the only person I’d recommend a book to, Eric, is picky too.
So how *do* I pick my books…
The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons, original posts here and here. As I said in my first post about this book, I read mention of it in The Internet Review of Science Fiction, Steve Wedel’s Horror’s Hearth and Home. Looking at the article, there’s very few books cited that I haven’t read. I like a good gothic haunted house, what can I say?
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach, original post here. The times when I will pay attention to recommendations is when I’m boning-up on a subject (or even an entire genre). Like I said, most likely someone in HWA mentioned this book (as well as Iserson’s Death to Dust which I’m reading now) for ‘dead body’ reference.
An Innocent, A Broad by Ann Leary, original post here. A “Dear Reader” selection. I read the first chapter or so by email, liked it, checked it out from the library. Does “Dear Reader” kind of count as word of mouth? Or would I do as well picking any random first chapter read?
The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances by Peter S. Beagle, original post here. He’s Peter S. Beagle. I’ll read anything by him. The Rhinoceros… I found like new at Bookman’s. I didn’t realize it was a slightly rare find. Why Peter S. Beagle? When I was a kid, The Last Unicorn (the animated movie) enchanted me. It was scary and funny, with some slightly lit-geek overtones. Even at a young age I was a lit-geek, I guess. I gradually came to realized that there was a book behind the movie and an author behind the book.
Dune by Frank Herbert, original post here. My mother read all the Dune books. I tried reading Dune in 8th grade. I got to page 100 before becoming completely confused. I watched the 80s movie. That didn’t help. In college I watch the movie again and got a little more out of it. I stole my mom’s copy of Dune and vowed to read it one day. (That was probably ten years ago. I’ll bring her book back when we visit.) Eric recommended Dune to me. That was probably a good six or seven year ago. I finally read it, and my adult brain gets it. It was good, very good.
Ring by Koji Suzuki, original post here. Movies will make me interested in books (and in certain subjects), but only if the book came first. That’s the case with this one. The movie was very disturbing to me, so I wanted to see what the book was like.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Yes, I’m padding my reading list with kid’s books… There are a few kid’s books that people refer to lovingly that I have not read. (There’s a few others on my list including Lloyd Alexander.) In the case of Willy Wonka, I haven’t even seen the original movie. And after reading Charlie I probably won’t see the new movie. I liked the book. It’s charming and I love that the language is bright and not simple.
My Name Escapes Me by Alec Guinness. Impulse read. I don’t know how to explain these books. I was at Bookman’s, wandered into the screen trade section, looking for some William Goldman (another author that I came to through the movies…) and there was Mr. Guinness’s slim “diary of a retiring actor.” I like diaries and collections of letters. I’m a snoop and I like seeing into people’s lives. The title of the book intrigued me and was indicative of the humor with which Alec Guinness wrote. I’ll be shelving it next to Helene Hanff’s Underfoot in Show Business.
So, there I am. Eight books *cough* in six months.