Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh, How I Love the Library, and Why I Buy Books

...even my limited selection library in a county with an amazingly low literacy rate. (True story: When I got my library card, the librarian started going on and on about the rules of using the library computers and internet. I said: "I don't care about the computer, I'm just here to check out books." She said: "Really?!" Sad. So sad.)

Anyway, my current reading selections are (sorry about the italics, can't seem to make 'em quit):
  • Ida B.
    • Because 1) the cover is awesome, 2) Martha Mihalick used it as an example of good voice at the conference, 3) it just looks adorable, like a puppy, but with words and apples instead.
  • The People of Sparks
    • Because the first one was so good, and the third one looks good, and I want to read the entire series.
  • Elsewhere
    • This one is entirely because I've picked it up and put it back down about 10 times in the book store. I'm finally gonna read it, darn it.
  • The Princess Diaries
    • Because Alyssa Henkin suggested I read this one for comedy and sympathy pointers in my own work.

And I've got on my Amazon Cart (to purchase as soon as I have more cash, and/or request for Christmas presents):
  • Graceling
    • Bookshelves of Doom said it was one of the best fantasies out there, and I've heard a lot of good things. Plus, the cover's cool. Plus, it just sounds neat.
  • The Emerald Tablet
    • Because PJ wrote it! And because it sounds like the exact kind of book that I'd want to read.
  • Love that Dog
    • This one was also used by Martha Mihalick as an example of voice, but it is also one that sounds like a book I'd like to treasure, so I'm investing in a purchase.
  • The Hunger Games
    • Too many people are talking about this one, I must succumb to the peer pressure. Also: I'm a bit afraid my MG fantasy is too dark, so this might be a way to evaluate the current market for that.
  • Into the Wild
    • I'm a sucker for any re-telling of fairy tales, especially ones that include Rapunzel, my personal fav (although Beauty and the Beast are up there, too).
  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
    • The movie looked cute. I'll admit it: that's the whole reason for this one.
  • JK Rowling's Tales of Beedle the Bard
    • Because JK wrote it, and I will own everything she ever writes ever.
So, that's the run down of my library bag and my Amazon cart. It's interesting, to me at least, to see which books I'll "rent" and which I'll buy. Certainly some might be bumped from the rent to the buy category (I'm looking at you, People of Sparks), but only if I love it.

I read once that a book needs to make 5 "touches" with a person before the person buys it. Looking at the list, I think that's true. With Sparks aside (I do plan on buying it, it just happened to be immediately available in the library, too), all of the books I'm buying have only one "touch": one person recommended it, or I saw it in one place. I think I'd need only one other "touch"--one more person recommending it, or one more review, to make me want the book.

Interestingly, many of the books I plan on buying are also the products of blogs. I'll be honest, I'd probably never have heard of Graceling, The Emerald Tablet, or Into the Wild without blogs, and since all these authors blog regularly (and I check their blogs regularly), I am constantly reminded of their books and my intent to buy them.

I've been inundated with advertisements for The Hunger Games, Beedle the Bard, and Nick and Norah, so it was easy for me to remember to buy them. Typically, I want to buy lots of books--I'd rather buy than check out from the library because I like owning books, and I like re-reading books. And I don't like returning them to the library. But often, I forget what books I intend to buy. I rarely go to the bookstore with an agenda. It takes consistent "touches" with me to get me to buy the book.

Also, only one book on the "buy" list is based on language alone--Love that Dog. The snippet that Martha Mihalick read during her presentation sold me--after just a few lines, I knew that the language/style/subject was a book that I'd cherish and love. So, with the exception of the rare book that just grabs me, I generally need constant reminders for me to seek out a book to purchase.


PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Beth! So blogging does help!
Reading The Hunger Games is a great way to evaluate the current level books are taken to. I've been doing this with YA lately.

Heather Zundel said...

PJ, you've read The Hunger Games? I really must be behind the times. Is it really that good that you can evaluate what level of writing YA has come to achieve? If so I am on there in a heartbeat (yours is on the list too. Such a long list. . .)

I love your list Beth! So many good books. I need to compile a list of books I am most excited for that are coming out in 2009. Perhaps we can collaborate and all post them up on the same day? PJ, you in?

(And that is the saddest thing I've ever heard, about you and your librarian experience. At my library over 60% of all checkouts are DVDs now. Sigh).

Beth - you have so many amazing posts. I love your blog.

PJ Hoover said...

I read it and loved it, Heather! It was an amazing book and kept me really hanging the whole time.

And I'm totally in on posting a list of books to read in 2009!

Beth's blog does rock!