On Monday, Susan shared a Memorial Day reading list compliments of the American Writers Museum. It made me think about where we find new titles and authors to read. One of my favorite recent reads was straight from the top of the Mystery Writers of America list – Five Decembers by James Kestrel won the Edgar for Best Novel this year and it lived up to and beyond expectations.
So, fellow Miss Demeanors, where do you turn for a book recommendation?
There are certain people who I trust, such as you, and if you say to read Five Decembers, I probably will. I also value the Edgar Lists. Sometimes a book is just percolating around in my head. A while ago everyone was talking about November Road by Lou Berney and I just started to read it and it’s great. Then I’m often reading books that are in the genre I write in, so I’m trying to figure out what those authors are doing. But I realize I’m a big word of mouth sort of person.
I always look through my BookBub email and if something seems interesting I check it out. I come across lists from newsletters. I’m in two book clubs and I get recommendations that way. Plus, I’m always listening to the radio and podcasts and if a book comes along that sounds cool, I’ll pick it up, either if it’s a deal or from the library. I also, sometimes, still browse shelves.
I read the NYTimes book review every week. I listen to the buzz on Facebook and Twitter and watch to see what writers I read are reading. I have gotten some great recommendations for books through the Miss Demeanors blog. I follow several British and Irish newspapers and read their book reviews. I have a funny quirk. When people try to push a book on me repeatedly, I resist. Say, “You have to read this too many times” and you’ll find me saying,”Says who?” Almost every time I go to bookstore, I end up buying a book that intrigues I found while browsing.
Sharon: I love going to bookstores with you, Michele. We’ll have to do it again soon.
Tracee: I’m a total sucker for books I see on the shelf of a bookstore. I am proof that cover design sells copy.
I joined a couple of book subscription services, one through Heywood Hill Books in London and one through Charter Books in Newport, RI. Heywood Hill has you fill out a survey and their bookseller tries to match your interests. Charter Books has a signed first editions club. You receive whichever book their bookseller chooses. Other than that, I don’t have a systematic way of choosing books. I tend avoid “buzzy” books because I find they seldom live up to the hype. Sometimes a review will inspire me, sometimes I’m supporting a fellow author. I get recommendations for classic mysteries from the British Library, which is republishing many of them, and from the podcast, Shedunnit, hosted by Caroline Crampton. Library of America’s website has convinced me to order some of their re-issued classics. Shakespeare and Co, in Paris, is another website that’s spurred a few purchases, usually a special edition of a book. I also get books sent from publicists by authors who I interview on my podcast.
I read lesbian romance, lesbian mysteries, lesbian fantasy and science fiction as well as mainstream mysteries. I’m a member of several very active Facebook groups of lesbian readers and writers and I get lots of recommendations of books in all genres there. Most of the mainstream mysteries I read are written by authors I know or recommended by author friends on Facebook. Right now for example, I’ve just started reading Alex Segura’s Secret Identity which sounded interesting when Keenan interviewed Mr. Segura on Miss Demeanors.
You are right, Tracee. So many great books are published each week that it’s impossible to stay current. Like Catherine, I narrow my reading. In my case, I mostly read British crime fiction or whatever book my two book clubs have scheduled. Once in a while, when a book gets great reviews from writer friends, I’ll venture outside my interest category. One more element influences me–a great cover and a great title. Right now I’m reading (for the first time), the often-overlooked Golden Ager and member of the Detection Club, Michael Gilbert. I just finished Smallbone Deceased, which was fabulous, and now enjoying Anything For a Quiet Life.
I get mine from Twitter and Facebook. Books are pricey. Audiobooks are pricey. Kindle not so much so but I really don’t care to read on my device. So I like to wait and see what multiple people have said about a book before I make the investment. That’s how I found Mick Heron’s Slough House series. The series is obviously patterned after Tinker, Tailor, only it’s moved up to contemporary times reflecting contemporary issues and deadly funny. Just finished listening to his book #8, Bad Actors, on audible. Gerard Doyle is the funniest narrator alive. I liked it so much I listened to it a second time as soon as I hit the end.
Sharon: Funny. I just read Mick Herron’s Slough House series too. Read the whole series in under a week because it was so good (I neglected working on my own next book to do so, and you know how disciplined I am about my writing…)
Tracee: Now I’m going to have to read this!
I mostly get mine from word of mouth and honestly, from recommendations on B&N and Amazon. I also look at who advertises on my book pages, and if they look interesting, I may buy some of those. And once I find a favorite author, I read their whole backlog and then preorder each new book as it becomes available. That keeps my TBR pile pretty well filled up.
I often buy books that have been made into TV shows or movies, although I rarely watch the shows. I always figure if it was good enough to get made into a movie/series/whatever, it must be pretty good.
I recently read Mick Herron’s entire Slough House series, all eight novels plus the three novellas, because it had been made into a series for Apple TV. They left me jonesing for more, so I broke down and watched the show. It was brilliant, like the books.