- How do you decide to read a book by an author you haven't read before?
I have a mountainous list of authors I 'should read' which I carry in my head all the time, so when I'm coming up to the end of a book I mentally leaf through it and pick out the book which most appeals to me at the time. Often I find a particular author or book has already risen to the top of the pile by a chain of associations, or because a friend has recently spoken highly of it. Sometimes it's the cover! My favourite bookshop has a fantastic selection of fiction in its dingy basement and I have rarely been disappointed by something I've picked up on a whim there. My friend Anna taught me to choose books by publisher, and I've spent many a happy afternoon leafing through old dark green Virago tomes looking for treasure in her company, and I am really excited at the possibility of reading more and more books from Persephone. At the moment I am trying to read my way through the unread books that I already own, and next on my list is 'Sleeping Fires' by George Gissing. It fulfils almost all of the above criteria: I bought it at Henry Pordes with Anna after listening to friends rave about 'The Odd Women' they were studying for the 'London in Literature' course, and it has a beautiful cover.
- What sort of recommendations count most highly in making that decision?
Suggestions by friends! No question. When my friend Paul lent me a copy of 'Jacob's Room' when I was seventeen he changed my reading landscape forever, and I am inexpressibly grateful to Steph for stopping openmouthed in front of Waterstone's when I commented that I'd never read any Philip Pullman, and turning me round and marching me inside to buy the whole 'Amber Spyglass' trilogy at once.
Thursday, 23 March 2006
Booking through Thursday: New Authors
Booking Through Thursday's questions for this week were suggested by Christine.