Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A day late and a dollar short

I hate having to work for a living — most of the time. By work, I mean doing things for money that I don’t really want to do. Currently, I’m doing graphic design for my daily bread and butter. Don’t get me wrong. I really appreciate having the work, especially considering the current economic climate.

You see, working keeps me from what I really want to do (and also don’t consider “work”): writing.

The daily grind also keeps me from one of my other pleasures, and that’s reading. Time was, I used to read 3-4 books a week. Now if I’m not doing the design thing, I either spend those spare moments writing or practising. Spending precious time reading makes me feel incredibly guilty. I know I should be practising or writing. It really is a vicious circle.

All of the above is a circuitous route to admitting that I have a very “select” pool of books from which to make my recommendations for seasonal buying. To top it off, four of the books that I would have told you to run out and buy have already been mentioned by my Type M confreres.

So here’s what I’m going to suggest: why don’t you go to a local bookstore? If at all possible, make it an independent, but if all you have left in your area is one of the gigunda chain stores, so be it. Go there.

Head over to the mystery section and buy a book by an author you have yet to read, hopefully someone you've never even heard of. You are allowed to read the flaps or back cover, but be aware that most of what you find there will be marketing BS — and quite often wildly inaccurate, since the person who wrote it probably hasn’t read the whole book.

I’d like to further suggest that you be adventurous and read outside the sort of book you normally would. It is also acceptable to ask for recommendations from staff at the store — as long as they appear to know what they’re telling you. (If they mention Dan Brown’s latest, they're just recommending what they know is selling big.)

It is also acceptable, if you’re “stretching” your reading to peruse a few pages to see if you like the author’s writing style.

Under NO circumstances should you order online. That it strictly against the rules!

Happy reading.


Jill Edmondson said...

Love it! Yeah, try something and someone new! It's amazing what gems you may stumble upon.

Double YAHHH! for the plug re: independent bookstores! Support these retailers, please!

I, too, have limited reading time (would rather be writing but too often end up working at my 'real job' - argh!!). However, in the last while, I have gone all over the map in whatever reading I've had time for (very little crime fiction these days, I'm sorry to say).

It's been a treat reading Bellow, Updike, Hitchens, Woolf, De Lillo, and Richler. All new to me and all very different than my usual.

I've learned lots from these (not sure exactly what, but I know the broadened literary horizons will influnce my own writing - one way or another).

Cheers, Jill

Rick Blechta said...

Type M readers!

Jill will be our guest blogger on Sunday, December 20th. Be sure to stop by to check it out.


Vicki Delany said...

This happened to me at one of my recent booksignings: There was a woman carrying a couple of paperbacks of bestselling American authors. I said, “I see you like mysteries, may I introduce you to mine?”
She said (having not even picked one up), “I wouldn’t like those. I only read authors I like.”
And I said something like, “That’s too bad for you.” I was not going to bother being polite.

Rick Blechta said...

Maybe Type M should pool our resources of stupid things that have been said to us when we're doing book signings. Then we could add what we WOULD have liked to say in response, but didn't because we're too polite and well-mannered.

Donis Casey said...

See my blog post of Dec 20, '08, Rick

sanjeet said...

for the plug re: independent bookstores! Support these retailers, please!

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