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How do you choose what to read next?

November 16, 2011

And what five books would you recommend to a friend? And how did you hear about those books in the first place?

For me, this week, that list comprises some marvelous novels plus a stunning poetry collection:

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman. I read about it recently through a link to the Guardian Newspaper on Twitter and my curiosity was piqued. It’s a powerful little book with a happy little bubble of a main character who has stayed with me for months. It will haunt you, too.

Philip Kerr’s Berlin Trilogy. Thanks to Sarah Weinman on Twitter, I learned about Kerr’s collection of novels set in pre-WWII Germany. His main character, Bernie Gunther, is a private detective trying to make a living and avoid becoming compromised by the rising Nazi party. It’s a great series and there are more beyond the trilogy, too.

Strike Sparks, Selected Poems by Sharon Olds. Head Butler, a web site devoted to covering great books, music, movies etc., recommends this marvelous little collection. I’m generally not a poetry reader but Olds’ work offers vivid storytelling that drew me in immediately. So I tweeted my thanks to Head Butler.

Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga. I saw this mentioned on Twitter first, but then also in other media (and can’t remember where.) It’s all about what happens when one man refuses to sell his apartment to an unscrupulous real estate developer. What it’s really about is bravery and the courage to stand by one’s moral convictions.

Alan Furst’s novels (yup, Twitter) and once I read my first, I promptly bought the entire backlist. I’d recommend starting with Night Soldiers. (Though as my friend said to me recently, for all the books you read about war, you’re not very good at waging it. He was referring to some particularly aggressive social politics. And he was right. But then one can watch a lot of cooking shows and come away with no idea how to cook. I digress.)

Notice a theme here?

Social media has become a premier sources for book recommendations, whether through original reviews or links to other media. It’s where all the cool readers are hanging out!  Which means you, dear writer, need to hang out there, too.

As you plan your publicity outreach, make sure that the social media platforms factor into your plans. (More to come on that in later posts.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2011 4:13 pm

    Lady-of-letters

    Most Interesting post…….

    We use the Financial Times weekend section as a shopping page, mobile at the ready to download extracts to kindle app on blackberry and saved in the cloud, once bought, to read on iTouch as well (to save bbry batteries).

    So happy that you’ve started this Deeply Useful site on the interweb – tis a salon of ideas, for us.

    _tg xx

    • November 20, 2011 1:06 am

      I never think about the FT but see that I shall now have to consider it in the mix.

      Fascinated by the mixed media approach to reading.

      xo
      J

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