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Thread: How do you decide what to read?
June 21st, 2005, 09:41 AM #46
In the last four or five years, every single book in the SF&F genre that I have bought, has come via recommendations either here, Dead Cities or at the blogs I read regularly (Rob's Blog is one such blog).
June 21st, 2005, 11:57 PM #47Originally Posted by Hellsfire
A reader may decide that they don't have the time to invest in the learning curve, but that is different than saying there is nothing worthwhile there. While it is true that people who post are often motivated by great passion either for or against a book, it seems odd to routinely dismiss all the opinions of those in your larger community (readers) because they were moved by the book.
May 13th, 2007, 06:52 AM #48
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- Blog Entries
1st thing that draws me to a book is cover art.
Then I read the back, if I like it I'll open it up.
Read the first paragraph and by then I'll know whether I'm going to buy it.
If I've read a book by the same author before I tend to just open up the first paragraph and read it in the shop, go and pay for it.
My four favourite books of all time so far were picked after reading the first sentence.
May 13th, 2007, 07:22 AM #49
Step 1: Recommendation. This is either from a friend who shares similar tastes in literature, or from here.
Step 2: Reviews. I like to read official reviews, as they generally come from people who review literature quite often. 2 or 3 favourable ones that aren't from Amazon help me to decide if I'm interested in the book or not.
Step 3: Perusal. A quick flip through the book at my local Border's to get a feel for the author's style. If I'm going to buy the book online, I use Amazon's "Search Inside" feature.
Step 3: Mood guage. Since I usually have a list of several potential candidates for purchase (I don't use the library, except for coursework), I try to decide which book would suit the current mood thats befallen me.
And that's a rather more analytical version of my largely subconscious decision process.
EDIT: I've found that online forums and reviews, and Amazon's "Search Inside" feature, have been a boon to authors whose work suffer from bad cover art. Before I discovered online book reviews, my decision process was simply spending an hour or two at a bookshop. Usually, a really bad cover with an inadequate blurb would keep me away from a book. Probably why it took me so long to read Deathstalker.
And here it is.
Last edited by suupaabaka; May 13th, 2007 at 07:26 AM.
May 13th, 2007, 08:18 AM #50
Wow, I've got a pair of trousers just like that.
May 13th, 2007, 08:20 AM #51
May 13th, 2007, 03:22 PM #52
For me it's a combination of the cover and the blurb thing at the back.
Cover so i can get some sort of idea what the story may be about and the sort of style and theme it may have.
Blurb so i can see what the brief outline of it is and usually based on them i either get the book or don't.
But as has been previously said sometimes it's other factors.
June 14th, 2007, 07:54 AM #53
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
- Cairo, Egypt
Just like everyone
Probably recommendations from the guys around here, and a quick look inside the book to see if I like the writing style. The cover also helps...
As in my to-read list, I'm always unable to choose a book over another, but I generally keep the good stuff until I'm in a good mood...
Last edited by HellCold; June 14th, 2007 at 07:59 AM.
June 14th, 2007, 08:43 AM #54
my problem is deciding what to read once i've got it home on my shelf. seriously i have books sitting there that i bought 2 years ago and others that i seem to read right away. i can't seem to figure out why i read what i read when i do.
it's generally either sticking all the unread titles in a hat and drawing one out, or trusting my instincts and reading a book i think will resonate with what's going on in my life at that time.
i also try and alternate between fantasy and other genres.
i'm reading liveships now, but my eye is already scanning my shelf and looking for what to read next, and it keep going to maritime themes, so i'll probably read lord jim by joseph conrad next, and then maybe the grave tattoo by val mcdermid (also maritime theme) and then start again on a new fantasy title.
i think my brain's just wired-weird.
September 24th, 2008, 03:47 PM #55
I was lucky enough to grow up in a house with a 3,000 book liabrary. The Best part was that 60% was Scifi 35% was Fantasy and the rest Mystery. I read all the Fantasy my dad had and even his Ron L Hubbard books. My entire family are used bookstore junkies.
Ive never asked anyone what fantasy books they recommend and this is my first experience with online forums on the subject.
When I walk into a book store I look at the title and author. If either gains my interest I grab it and check out the cover, yes I judge a book by its cover If Im still interested I read the back. If all three sound/look good I buy it.
September 25th, 2008, 05:36 AM #56
When i go to the library, I used to look at covers and the text on the back from random books, but these days I try to find the books other ppl recommend. If I really can't find a good book for weeks, then I mostly buy one, though I consider it twice thanks to some bad books i bought on impuls.
September 25th, 2008, 03:49 PM #57
Consider the source . . . .
Where I live, it's over an hour's drive to the nearest bookstore, and when I go that far for other purposes, I rarely if ever have the time to stop and browse real, physical volumes. Thus, everything I buy is over the net.
As a rule, I am more interested in identifying authors to try, rather than particular books; I reckon that if I find I think the author good, I will enjoy most of what he or she writes. Naturally, there is always the risk that the first tale one samples is unrepresentatively poor, but doing some Googling will usually give one a pretty good idea how a given book relates to its author's oeuvre.
To identify authors of potential interest, I rely on recommendations on the web; the crux, of course, is to first identify recommenders that one feels one can trust. An obvious way to do that is to see how they evaluate works with which one is already familiar. Once one has a few such sources identified (I especially like--in no special order--Jeff VanderMeer's fantasy essentials list, the "Curiosities" articles at The SF Site, The Scriptorium, and the SF&F lists at The Complete Review), one can assemble a first list of possibilities.
One can then further screen that first list by reviews from any sources available, including Amazon's reader reviews. The trick here,if one may call it a "trick", is to deduce from a given reviewer's copy something about the wit, perceptiveness, and sensibilities of that reviewer. Someone who writes "This wuz the greatest book ever!" on Amazon will not receive a deal of weight in the summing up.
Note that a given reviewer may have value for us even if we do not regularly agree with him or her; the key is whether we can understand that reviewer's criteria, and--as I have put it elsewhere--perceive at what angle they may lie with respect to our own. So long as we can do that, can in effect "translate" their comments, that reviewer is helpful.
September 25th, 2008, 04:27 PM #58
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
1) If the vast majority of critics say it's good, there's a high probability I'll like it. (There are exceptions, of course; fifty pages into Cold Mountain and self-inflicted root canal was looking like a viable hobby). The reverse holds pretty true for me, too: If the vast ... say it's lousy, I'll think it's lousy, too. (And there are exceptions there, too.)
2) There are reviewers whose tastes come awfully close to mine -- I've just been dipping into Michael Dirda's reviews, and he's eclectic enough that he likes a lot of what I like, including genre fiction. Roger Ebert has long been a favorite movie reviewer, but with him it's a bit different: If he likes it, there's a high probability I will, too; if he dislikes it ... well, that's iffier.
September 26th, 2008, 10:59 AM #59
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
I read whatever the forum members in sffworld recommend. I havent read a bad book since the day I joined this forrum.
September 30th, 2008, 11:57 AM #60
I keep an old man locked in my basement. I ask him what I should read next and he answers depending on how badly he wants to eat.