Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Me and My Books

There's a kind-of meme going around about how you choose the books you read, buy, put on the tbr list. Indextrious Reader has an entry up that links to several previous ones. It's a fun topic, so I thought that I'd chime in.

My pre-blogging and post-blogging new book hunting are pretty similar, but the key difference is challenges. Before I started blogging, I would suddenly decide that I needed to read more about a topic/genre/etc. Then, I'd go to amazon, some literary websites, professors who knew about the topic, etc. until I came up with a list of five-ten books. I'd usually try to read some of these immediately, while others are still on my tbr list. Now, I tend to do the same research based on challenges that come up, and I tend to use other blogs as an important resource. Of course, I do still research my own topics sometimes(see the entry with a huge list of non-fic). Other than deciding to bone up on certain topics, I get my tbr from book reviews, browsing the "two week collection" at my college library, and wandering through Barnes and Noble. The latter only applies at home (there's no bookstore here)-I spend hours in B&N, piling books, thinking about them, and then either putting them back or buying them. It usually takes two-four visits for me to actually decide to buy a book.

That's where I'm different from some bloggers-I don't feel a need to possess books. At least, not new books. I prefer to read books from the library, or borrow them from friends. Then, if I really like them, I'll buy a copy for myself. I'm more likely to buy an unread book if it's by an author that I really, really like or if I've seen/heard a lot of positive reviews from people who have similar taste as me. I'm also more likely to buy books that are on sale. :)

I get just as much of a high from checking lots of books out of the library as buying a lot of books. Which is good, considering that I'm a poor college student. The actual reading that I do is a combination of 'planned reading' (i.e.-books I think I should read to expand my horizons/complete a challenge) and 'craving reading,' which is when I'm just really in the mood for a certain genre or author. I've been trying to think of 'chocolate authors' (i.e.-books that are fun to read but aren't great literature), and I'm having a hard time. In high school, it was Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, and David Eddings. But now I'm not sure that I have any regular authors who I don't consider at all literary. The closest, I guess, would be my mystery writers-Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and most recently Laurie King (her Mary Russell series). But I think that all of these authors have true writing ability, as well as great plots. And John le Carre might be a chocolate author.

Well, that about sums up my reading/bookhunting habits. What about you guys?


J.S. Peyton said...

Well, when it comes to books, you and I are very different. I'm very possessive of my books. Many times I've been told by some friends that I should sell my books during those times when cash has been a bit short. But I'd probably sell my right arm - well, maybe my left since I'm right-handed - before I sold my books. Ah, but I'm nuts, I know it.

On an side note - Tag Eva! You're it! I hate to do this to you but I'm officially tagging you for the "8 Things Meme". This seems like a fun way for everyone to get to know each other better. The details are on my blog. Of couse, there's no obligations if you don't feel like it!

Melanie said...

Interesting post! I thought this was a fun question, glad you shared your "techniques". I also get a high from checking out lots of books, rather than just buying. And then I can take them back and not have to find room for them on my already jam-packed shelves! (my husband's the opposite; he loves to own books:) )

Petunia said...

I am pretty similar to you. Library finds are just as satisfying as owning a book, unless it is a really fantastic book, then I must get a copy for myself for a future reread. But in that case I'm just as happy with a used copy as a new one.

I have been meaning to post about my book acquiring habits too. Guess I'll have to sit down and do it now.