Monday, May 26, 2008

Books the Bloggers Mention...Constantly

I've realized lately how much my reading has been influenced by book blogs over the past year or so. I still love to read reviews in various old school media, and I still get book recommendations from NPR, and friends, and my book group. But I've noticed that there are some books and authors I just wouldn't have heard about if it weren't for book bloggers. Occasionally my interest is piqued by a single review, but more often there are clusters of bloggers who mention certain books, and I always love when I find those. It's like secretly discovering the zeitgeist. I feel that bloggers' love for certain books is so passionate, it is more motivating than any other type of review, and I find myself mooching or buying or borrowing those books almost immediately.

It reminds me that blogging is so particularly well-suited to the recommendation of books, movies, music, restaurants...for me, what makes it work so well is the intimate nature of blogging combined with its ability to spread things like a virus!

This is a partial list of books on my wish list, all of which I discovered via my lovely blogging friends. I might have come across them otherwise, but without the clusters of recommendations and comments on these, I don't know if I would feel the urgency to read them that I now feel.

How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff
Goldberg: Variations, by Gabriel Josipovici
The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov
Neil Gaiman (anything by this author--they've all been mentioned. People love this guy and I haven't read anything of his yet, I'm ashamed to admit)
Hearts and Minds, by Rosy Thornton
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths), by Margaret Atwood
Matrimony: A Novel, by Joshua Henkin
The Book Thief (Readers Circle), by Marcus Zusak

There's a much longer list of books recommended by bloggers that I have already read (and enjoyed, of course!). I think I'll keep a list of the books I've found through blogging alone, as an addition to my regular reading journal.

What books or authors have you found solely through blog recommendations?

25 comments:

Sam Houston said...

I've had much the same experience when it comes to finding books via blogs that I may have otherwise missed. My problem is that I can never remember just which blogger tipped me off in order to give them proper credit when I write a review.

I've particularly enjoyed the exposure to so many international authors...bloggers are really strong that way.

stefanie said...

Definitely some must reads on that list. I found Josipovici solely via blogs. And what a great find he was too!

Gentle Reader said...

sam--I always have trouble remembering which blogger tipped me off, too! I always feel so terrible when I can't give credit, and I often go back and try to find the original review, but rarely do! So much for my research skills. And I agree about the international authors, there are so many new ones I'm finding through book blogs.

Gentle Reader said...

stefanie--I remember reading about Josipovici on Litlove's blog, and yours, so thank you! I'm really looking forward to reading him :)

Tara said...

I agree 100% with everything you've said here. I could go on and on about books I've learned about from bloggers, but the first ones that come to mind are The Book Thief, A Fine Balance, and anything by Barbara Vine. I jot down titles down in a special notebook, along with the name of the person who mentioned it. It helps keep track of things.

Gentle Reader said...

tara--I think I have to start keeping a section in my notebook about where I hear of all these great new books and authors! I forgot to mention that Penelope Lively is another writer I learned about on book blogs...I'll have to check into Barbara Vine, and A Fine Balance. Thanks for the tips!

Jeane said...

I've been keeping a list of all the books I read about on blogs that i want to get my hands on. So far I haven't actually read any of them, since I'm trying to pare down the TBR mountain in my bedroom first. But there are tons and tons of great-looking titles there I never would have heard of were it not for the book blogs.

Gentle Reader said...

jeane--lol, my wish list is getting to be longer than my TBR stacks are tall--but I can't keep up with either one. As my mom would say, my eyes are bigger than my stomach!

litlove said...

I have to say my entire knowledge of American literature came about when I started blogging. It's not a huge amount of knowledge but it contains some fabulous writers, like Richard Powers, Elizabeth Hardwick, Joan Acocella, Jane Smiley, Sue Miller, Richard Russo and Philip Roth. I don't really know how to thank my blogging friends enough for the treasures they've given me!

Dorothy W. said...

I've gotten so many book recommendations from blogs that I can't really keep them straight anymore! I've discovered a lot of women writers in particular, such as Rosamund Lehmann, Elizabeth Taylor, and Barbara Pym. I've gained such an overwhelming sense of how many great books there are out there -- I knew it before, of course, but reading blogs really brings it home.

Iliana said...

Ah great post. For me it's not so much one book but genres - if it wasn't for book bloggers I don't think I would have ventured into YA and Fantasy. Now I'm even getting into graphic novels!

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--and I feel the same way about British authors. I had a narrow knowledge that has been widened by all my British blogging friends!

dorothy--same here, I can't keep them straight any more, either! Blogging has really expanded my reading :)

iliana--I've branched out into new genres, too. Fantasy, and I've tried a few graphic novels, too. We have that in common :)

Fay Sheco said...

Random Jottings tipped her readers concerning Donna Leon's character-intensive mysteries set in Venice. I've read four of them now. Wonderful books by an American writer I had never heard of, although she sells well here, as well as in Europe.

Gentle Reader said...

fay--and now you've passed that along to me, so I can check out Donna Leon--I love how this works! Thanks :)

Mihir and Stephanie said...

This is the biggest reason--if not the only reason--I look at blogs. I'm constantly looking to unearth a title I never would have read otherwise. I caved in and read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Bloggers LOVE this book. Unfortunately, I wasn't so impressed.

Charley said...

I discovered I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak through blogging, and it is now one of my favorite books.

Mrs S said...

My amazon wish list is full of books recommended by fellow book bloggers - I add about 5 books a week to it at least - I have no idea how I'll ever be able to buy / read them all!

I'm currently reading The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale which was raved about by bloggers - and it is living up to the hype!

Gentle Reader said...

mihir and stephanie--oh, too bad you got a recommendation for a book you didn't like! I've had really good luck with bloggers' recommendations...so far. I've had the best luck with bloggers whose taste I recognize as similar to my own, however :)

charley--I have his book The Book Thief on my list, but I might have to add I Am the Messenger...thanks!

mrs. s.--sounds like your wish list is as long as mine is! I'll have to check out The Goose Girl, too--another one for that ever-growing list...

Booklogged said...

Gentle Reader, let me add my recommendation of both The Book Thief and The Messenger. I loved them.

I have a simple little spreadsheet that I keep track of book recommendations from bloggers. It's really out of control - so many wonderful sounding books listed. And then there are all the books on my shelves that I need to read. Whew!

Gentle Reader said...

booklogged--Zusak is getting so many great mentions on blogs, I'm definitely going to have to read him! And a spreadsheet is a good idea, too :)

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

My mom and my fellow book club members all asked me where I come up with half of the titles I read. From bloggers! I have been reading so many wonderful books and discovered new authors if it wasn't for blogs tipping me off. I've never had so much to read!

Bybee said...

Actually, when so many bloggers recommend a book, it makes me not want to read it...isn't that terrible? I deserve to be whopped upside the head with a Harold Robbins paperback!

Gentle Reader said...

natasha--isn't that great? I feel the same way--more recommendations from bloggers than I know what to do with!

bybee--lol! I wonder why you feel that way? Maybe you feel that bloggers are hitting you over the head with overly enthusiastic recommendations :)

John Mutford said...

I was introduced to Gaiman via blogs, too. Also Picoult. And while both have been added to my TBR pile (I've only read a short story by Gaiman so far and nothing by Picoult), the one book that I first heard of through blogs that I can't wait to read is Maus.

Gentle Reader said...

john--I really enjoyed Maus, though it's not an easy subject--would love to hear what you think! I think I'm the only other person in North America who hasn't read Picoult, by the way!