Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Voracious Readers Wanted

First, let me just say this: with certain markets, just the personalized rejection makes me pretty happy. Don't get me wrong, I think I'm good at this, and I'm trying to get better, and I really want to break into the Big Ones. But just the idea that certain folks thought, if only for a minute or two, that my story was funny or interesting or worth considering throwing money at, well, that makes me happy. Oh, and also the part where they ask me to send them more stuff. Heh heh heh. Be careful what you wish for.

I'm supposed to interview a voracious reader for Adult Pop Lit, and I think there are more than a few who stop by here from time to time, so I thought I'd post the questions here. Anyone who cares to respond, please do so in the comments. And thanks.

The questions:

1. How do you decide what to read next?
2. Do you exhaust the entire works of certain authors, or do you skip around?
3. How are much are you influenced by best-seller status, by reviews, by
conversations with friends, etc.?
4. Do you select materials by browsing, or do you search for known items?
5. If you browse in libraries, how do you go about it? Do you ever ask librarians for help?
6. How do you select books in bookstores? Do you ever ask bookstore
clerks?
7. Do you order books on the Internet?
8. What frustrations do you encounter in selecting what to read next?

8 Comments:

Blogger David Moles said...

Can I do the interview in persona as myself at the age of 12?

'Cause I don't read as much as I used to.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Why not? We'll call it an "Irrational Interview."

1:54 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

David at the age of 12:

1. By whether I have enough money for a new book and an ice cream cone, or only enough for a used book and an ice cream cone. Or if I only have enough for an ice cream cone, in which case it's time for the bookbag with the false bottom.

2. It looks like I skip around, but really that's just 'cause I read so fast.

3. I read Dune because Matt Isom insisted that Thufir Hawat was cooler than Dane Marsh from Hunters of the Red Moon. It's true. But Duncan Idaho's cooler than both of them.

4. Mostly I'm just stuck with whatever Crown Books has on hand.

5. Well, the science fiction section's only so big, so there's not much point in asking for help.

6. I try not to attract the attention of bookstore clerks -- makes it harder to shoplift.

7. The what?

8. My favorite authors don't write fast enough.

2:49 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

[N.B.: David at the age of 32 thinks Thufir Hawat is cooler than Duncan Idaho. So's Gurney Halleck.]

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Mr. Moles, I don’t read as much as I used to. So I probably don’t qualify as a voracious reader, but:

1. Whatever catches my attention when I’m ready for something new.
2. I went through a phase when I was young of author exhausting, but now I skip around.
3. I am somewhat influenced by all those things, especially during those brief times I’m looking for something new.
4. Either, depending on circumstances.
5. I used to often browse my local library, but not much anymore. Never asked for help.
6. Almost never.
7. Occasionally.
8. The sheer volume of good and/or interesting stuff available. Sadly, apathy sometimes results from the knowledge that I’ll never read everything I’d like to.

--HeyTrey

4:41 PM  
Blogger AndyHat said...

1. I read whatever catches my eye from whatever stack the cat most recently knocked over.

2. I skip around; I get bored if I read too much of the same author without a break.

3. Best-seller status is a negative influence (I'll admit it; I'm a snob). And I have no real-life friends who read anywhere near as much as me to provide recommendations. So I depend heavily on reviews and blogs to find new books. There are also selected authors (e.g. Cory Doctorow, Charles Strauss, and Alastair Reynolds) and selected publishers (e.g. Prime Books, Night Shade Books, Small Beer Press, and Wheatland Press) whose entire catalogs are on my automatic buy list. I occassionally check what amazon has to recommend, too.

4. I browse to look for titles that have come out that I've forgotten about, but I rarely purchase a book without having encountered a recommendation somewhere. But generally I have a list with me when I go to the bookstore. I keep a huge wishlist at amazon, and have several files where I keep lists of books I want from other sources.

5. I don't use the library much.

6. See #4. I'll add that I mostly only use real-world bookstores for magazines, mass market paperbacks, and the occasional other book that isn't discounted online.

7. Almost daily.

8. Lack of time. I look at my piles of unread books, and I want to read them ALL right now. But I can only pick one.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous jdbl said...

1. I have a stack of unread books, and I paw through them until one strikes me as "The Thing To Read". Often I read things I'm really excited about right after I get them, and stack the things that I'm less excited about but still really want to read. But sometimes I'll save a book back because I think I'm really going to like it and I'm savoring the experience of having the reading of it before me. I did that with _Kavalier and Clay_, and when I finally read it I enjoyed it just as much as I thought I would. On the one hand I felt like I should have read it sooner, but on the other hand I was sort of sad that I didn't have it to look forward to any more.

2. If I find an author late, so that I've got a large backlist to go through and I really like them, I will exhaust their catalogue, but that doesn't happen very often. I tend to read in thematic clusters, either because I'm doing research for something (because reading is time taken away from writing to a certain extent and thus guilt-provoking, at least half of my reading is writing research) or because I've gotten obsessed (which frequently leads to writing something having to do with said topic, and thus eventually becomes research). Examples of some recent obsessions: the Patrick O'Brien books, sailing and piracy, which eventually led to me starting my current space pirate novel; mountaineering and arctic exploration (which hasn't led to anything as of yet except in the most thematic sense, but probably will eventually).

3. I'm very influenced by the comments of like-minded and intelligent friends/family, not so much by best-seller status or reviews. The exception to that last being if I hear about a book because of a review or a best-seller list and something about the book sparks my curiosity. Regardless of whether the reviews are good or not, sometimes I'll hear about something and just have the thought, "Huh. Wonder what that's like." And then I usually end up reading it eventually. Sometimes years later.

4. I tend to search for known items, either because I'm looking for something specific because I'm doing research, or because I've been given a recommendation. If I browse in a bookstore, I'll end up buying books I can't afford and don't really "need". If I browse in the library, I end up with stacks of books to read that I don't really "need" and I end up reading too much and not writing enough. Books are very much like crack to me and I have to carefully moderate my intake or they take over my life.

5. I tend to start looking for something specific and then get distracted. I don't generally ask for help because I tend to know my way around, but I don't hesitate to ask if I have trouble finding something.

6. Ditto.

7. Yes, frequently.

8. Availability of titles in my tiny Ontario town, particularly the lack of selection in the libraries here. Having just moved from a huge metropolitan area (LA), I'm used to getting nearly anything I want from my library without having to resort to so much as inter-library loan. Even Toronto is just too small to have those kind of resources, and I have frequently been forced to purchase things via the internet that I would have just gotten for free from the LA Public Library. I can't even get more obscure new releases through inter-library loan, because the other libraries won't loan books that are newer than one year. This pisses me right off, especially since with research the freshness of the material sometimes matters (like with my recent forays into String Theory, for example - I want the latest information and theories, which are already outdated enough just from publishing/writing lags). Information is a right, goddammit. I shouldn't have to fork out $25 every time I need to know about something. That's why libraries were invented, for fuck's sake! ::sigh::

9:30 PM  
Blogger Miss E said...

1. How do you decide what to read next?
I have two entire bookcases of books waiting to be read. I also tend to binge on particular authors, and get the rest of my recommendations from friends.
2. Do you exhaust the entire works of certain authors, or do you skip around?
Both.
3. How are much are you influenced by best-seller status, by reviews, by conversations with friends, etc.?
Convos with friends determine most of my reading. Bestseller lists don't do much for me.
4. Do you select materials by browsing, or do you search for known items?
I mainly search. Browsing results in me bringing home way too many books.
5. If you browse in libraries, how do you go about it? Do you ever ask librarians for help?
I only ask for help if I can't find it on my own. I generally browse the electronic catalog, then just wander.
6. How do you select books in bookstores? Do you ever ask bookstore clerks?
Generally the same as above.
7. Do you order books on the Internet?
Amazon is my friend/enemy.
8. What frustrations do you encounter in selecting what to read next?
Never enough time to read all of what I want, so I'm then torn between the reading I should be doing (academic, professional) and the reading I want to be doing (academic, personal).

7:15 PM  

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