I’ve got three sources, these days, for new reading material. One is a sales list, weekly deals on e-books. While it is offered as a daily, weekly or monthly, the weekly serves me best. A couple of those “books” have been stinkers. Bought the novel, usually less than three bucks, with 99 cents being an attractive price. Still, as noted, a couple of those weren’t that good, and two, I can think of, I didn’t even bother to finish reading.
“Life’s too short for bad…”
But the list itself isn’t always bad, just a matter of being a little more judicious with the shopping which leads to the second source, the (digital) library stacks.
The two digital libraries I favor are both local. Half-dozen years back, BexarBiblioTech.org made a big splash as the first major metropolitan “library” with no books. First impression from what I recall? Looked like an Apple storefront. I still am less fond of the book-reader interface, but as a resource for back-catalog and current best-sellers? Great place.
Just at the start of the pandemic, I also started with the local digital version of the public library, and either branch, Bexar Bibliotech or SAPL? Either one is my current favorite. Cruising through their lists, best sellers and recommendation, and then when I wanted to read everything in a certain author’s catalog? That was easily available, and the added benefit of not having to see any people in the process.
The other advantage? The local library is the closest polling place.
The downtown branch of the library is equally an architectural masterpiece, as well as a place to find books.
The other source? Much as I hate to admit, Amazon’s software-driven decision machine, “If you like this, then look at this” algorithm. Annoying, and what I did, when I’m too sleepy to make good decisions, but I’ve finished reading one book, and I don’t have anything else at the “read me next” stack?
I flip through the Amazon Prime reading suggestions. Free to borrow, apparently no time limit, and the only obnoxious part, inadvertently borrow one “bodice-ripper” romance, and that opens a floodgate of recommendations that I’m clearly not interested in, but clog the pipes anyway.
Still, it’s been a solid source. Some of the novels have brought me great joy. Like the library, the price is right — included with Prime.
What started me thinking about the three current sources? I tend to read The New Yorker magazine, and the first articles I look at? Book reviews, the shorts, the long piece, but the “briefly noted,” that always catches my attention. So far? None of the novels from that source have been worth my time, or, none that are based on reviews I read there. But the reviews are well-worded, artfully constructed, and have a delightful sauciness to them.
I’ve been known to flip to the book reviews before even walking back in the house.
The term is “Critically Acclaimed,” and that’s what I’ve found with those referrals from my treasured New Yorker magazine.
I love reading the reviews, even if I haven’t found the books to be that engaging — for me.
That’s the three main sources for reading material, these days.
- e-mail sales list
- Libraries — Public Libraries
- Amazon’s algorithm
- The New Yorker
I might change and shift, never can tell.
Previously? One. Two.