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Archive for October, 2009

I take reading very seriously as should be quite obvious by this time.  I’m a speed reader.  I can inhale books very quickly and as a result I go through a large volume of them each month.  A few months ago I was curious as to how much money I was saving by getting my books through the library here in Gwinnett County and due to their handy calculator I discovered I was saving upwards of $1200 monthly.  That’s a lot of cash.

I read a large amount of books, but I buy very few of them.  My criteria for buying a book I’ll write about later.

Sitting next to me on top of a bookshelf I have 4 piles of books.  Each pile contains between 6-12 books.  Each of those books was carefully picked out by me through various means.  I intend to share those with you because I have finally found a system that works quite well.

– The Book Cover
– The List
– The Recommendations
– The Advertisements
– The Author

I plan to write a few notes to cover this system so as not to bore you by putting it all on you at once.  Today I want to talk about the first two.

1. The Book Cover.  If a cover looks interesting, chances are – I’ll request the book.  Title matters, but not as much as you’d think.  I need to be intrigued enough to take a second look to actually see the title.

One example of an interesting cover is  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  It’s a neat, compact book, no flashy pictures, no babes erupting from lowered necklines, no hunks.  Just a clean red with a symbol that caught my eye.  Another cover that caught my eye was a recent read of mine named The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson by Frances Brent.  The size of the book, the cover (an older picture of a gentleman playing the cello) prompted me to take a second look at the book and decide to request it, especially upon reading the name.

Not all books I read have interesting covers though. Pasadena by David Ebershoff (my current read) has a dull cover and… as I’ve found is pretty typical, a dull style to match.  It’s a shame really, because the story had so much potential.

The biggest method of shopping around for books to read when it comes to book covers is something I did today.  Today I walked through Barnes and Noble with my camera phone in hand, and I snapped pictures of books I thought looked interesting.  No one seemed to mind though.

2. The List.  I get in trouble with The List.  These are found in various places but the lists that get me in the most trouble are through my library.  My library has a tab named “New and Featured Titles!” and after clicking that tab you are taken to a marvelous wonderland of about 34 lists.  My favorite lists are “Uncommon Reads: Literary and Debut Authors” “New adult historical fiction” and “New adult fantasy”.  But there are lists for every type of reader out there – from cookbooks to non-fiction to scientific minds.  Through these lists I found wonderful gems of books such as A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka and The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim.

Lists can also be found on blogs.  I have quite a few “online” friends that keep a list of their reading material, and I often find myself browsing through those lists and making notes of what interests me.  My thanks to you folks.  You make my life so much more interesting just by doing such a simple thing.

Thanks for reading my rambling here.  I have so much fun doing this, and I hope I can provide some of you with some ideas as well! Feel free to share places you research and get ideas for reading books from as well. I’m always looking for more input.

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