View Full Version : Do you read and follow the literary guides in newspapers?

Mr. Fix
09-18-2007, 12:27 AM
This is not meant to slam any particular Authors or their works. I am interested in your opinion about the literary guides that you may find in most local newspapers (Mine - Bellingham Herald/Seattle Times/Seattle Post Intellegencer.)

My question is this;

Do you read and follow these literary guides in your local/chosen newspapers?

As an aspiring author I like to review these articles to see the success of other authors. I find myself, however, increasingly disinterested by the selection of authors they chose to review. And as much as I would love to be on the NYTimes best sellers list I have never really paid any attention to that rag. So some of you out there may have a 'broader' opinion of these newspapers literary guides than me. But I am interested in how you follow them. I want to support the other authors out there who are creating interesting and worthwhile books, but I just don't seem to care about most of the authors/books i've seen reviewed.

I realize this may be due to the fact that there are so many books being published that I may be simply overwhelmed and not interested in the subject matter. I have noticed more often though that I do not agree with the political slant of the newspapers that I barely read. Because of this 'slant' by the newspapers I find myself therefore disinterested by their selction of books to review. (I tend to find fault not only in their slant in their articles, but also in their weak reporting of said articles - I.E. 'lack of good information.')

I usually find the best review on books I read from the sales people of my local book store (Shameless plug to 'Village Books' in Fairhaven/Bellingham WA.) I find their information credible and entertaining even though we may differ in our political views.

So, how about you? Do you read and follow guides about new authors/books? Or do you even care what else is being published out there?

Any information on good literary review guide welcome.

Silver King
09-18-2007, 12:42 AM
This is an interesting topic worthy of the Roundtable forum, so we'll move it there and see what folks have to say.

09-18-2007, 12:50 AM
I take note of the book title and author but seldom rely on a reviewer's opinion. I go online and check out reader comments once the book is on the market. I don't care whether or not I agree with readers, I'm more interested in learning what keeps them reading.

09-18-2007, 12:59 AM
The problem I have with the Newspaper Literary guide -- and this may be a local problem specific to me -- is that it's so tiny. And it's usually. Written in very short. Sentences. That are useless. To me. Two Stars.

I mean, I'd get a better literary review by reading the blurbs on the book jacket, you know?

Usually, if it's a book and it has a summary, or a cover, or whatever that looks interesting, then I'll mark down the title and look it up on the internet when I get home.

Mr. Fix
09-18-2007, 03:10 AM
I, too, tend to focus most of my research into books based on what someone tells me - then viewing internet sites for reviews. I have to admit that most of my books purchases as of late were due to me simply pulling a book off of the display table in my local book store. So I would give that to the "Advice from a sales person" type of purchase.

09-18-2007, 03:28 AM
My question is this;

Do you read and follow these literary guides in your local/chosen newspapers?

What is a literary guide?

So I guess that answers your question.

09-18-2007, 03:54 AM
I'm pretty picky about what I read and the books they usually choose to review seem to be the type of books that are supposed to appeal to everyone. But I do find reading reviews interesting after I've read the book myself, just to see if they confirm my own thoughts and feelings about it.

09-18-2007, 03:56 AM
If you mean the book suppliment or book review pages, I flip through. Mainly I just get annoyed by the precious attitudes of the editors and writers.

09-18-2007, 04:48 AM
I generally avoid them. Most seem to focus on either local interest, which rarely interests me, or literary fiction. I like genre fiction, especially SF and Fantasy, and on the rare occasions I see them reviewed in the local paper I find the reviews to be next to worthless because they're reviewed in the context of literary fiction.

09-19-2007, 06:55 PM
I never read them and don't care what they say. I'll look at the bestseller list every so often to see if there's something I missed, but the book opinions I care about are my wife and my father. We all have very similar tastes and, between the three of us, I have a reading backlog of about 50 books (and I'm on the way to the library this afternoon for another half-dozen -- damn my weakness!)

Mr. Fix
09-26-2007, 03:01 AM
To the unwashed... A 'literary guide' or 'book review' is an article I have found in most newspapers. It is an 'opinion' type of page (like 'letters to the editor') but done on books as a review - like the movie reviews.

I have found that in most cases (as confirmed by the few post so far) I just don't find the books reviewed to be very interesting. I see now this is due mostly to the 'local interest' picks of these reviews.

So, to define the question a little more...

How do you find the next book you want to read? Do you use the literary guides offered in local papers, perview the internet for subjects your interested in, or just go by the 'word-of-mouth' from a preferred source?

Back to the studio audience...:e2poke:

09-26-2007, 03:42 AM
I use the Amazon searchmania feature. It often produces lists of similar authors in genres I like.

Since I don't read anything literary, this is the best way to find books I enjoy.

09-26-2007, 03:57 AM
Do a google on the genre you're interested in and add the word 'forum'.

Then read what other readers are saying about the books you like. If/when you see something interesting, check it out on Amazon. Read the excerpt, if it has one, and check out the reviews there. If you like it - click and order.

Repeat as necessary.

Mud Dauber
09-26-2007, 06:45 AM
How do you find the next book you want to read? Do you use the literary guides offered in local papers, perview the internet for subjects your interested in, or just go by the 'word-of-mouth' from a preferred source?
All of the above.

Between my friends and other AWers, I gather many good recommendations. But I've also discovered a lot of novels on Amazon, with the "Readers who bought this also liked this" feature. And when seeking out age-appropriate kids' books, I am an amazon reviewer junkie. I like to know what I'm getting into ahead of time, before I pick a book for my kids. Parents are pretty cool about mentioning Important Things Parents Ought to Know in their review. One time a mom reviewer of a Judy Blume book wrote, "good, except for the Santa outing".:eek: I'm so glad I caught that, cuz I'm just not ready to give up that little secret to my kids yet.

I luuuved the Books section in the Sunday Chicago Tribune. Unfortunately they moved it to a different day, and I only get the paper on Sundays, so that was the end of that.:cry:

Another avenue I've gotten some really good recommendations is from my Border's Monthly Books update, or whatever they call the members' email. I enjoy the information they send and always browse through all the recommended authors for that month. Plus, my non-internet friends (yes, I have a few) are all impressed with me when I say, "I've heard of this new author..."

Maybe someday it will be one of you guys.:D:snoopy:

09-26-2007, 12:02 PM
"New York Times Bestseller." It seems every book I pull off the shelf claims it's one, and a lot of them I have found pretty boring and/or badly written IMO, so I have stopped using that as a criterion. I really like to browse in bookstores. I like to feel a book in my hand, and I run into things I otherwise wouldn't know about. Back in the day when research was done in the library, I spent hours in university libraries making astonishing discoveries. You have to know what you want to go to Amazon, and it's just not the same, way too hard to browse. I look at the LA Times Book Review section but rarely read the reviews. Most of the books are not my choices.

Ava Jarvis
09-26-2007, 10:34 PM
I'm one of the Amazon customers who is glued to their personal recommendations page, and will often spend a spare hour of the week clicking "not interested", a particular star rating if I've seen/read/heard it, and maybe view more information if it is truly interesting. I usually just browse the "coming soon" and "newly arrived" parts of the recommendation page.

Then I read reviews (these days there are reviews for pre-order books as well, through the "vine") and the excerpt if any.

I long since stopped paying attention to the book guides in the papers.

09-26-2007, 10:36 PM
I skim the Book Review in the LA Times once in a while...and I've found it helpful for choosing a book to read.