Thursday, May 13, 2010

Influence

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This week's Booking Through Thursday question asks:
Are your book choices influenced by friends and family? Do their recommendations carry weight for you? Or do you choose your books solely by what you want to read?
My close personal friends, Messrs. Booker, Pulitzer, and Black, influence my book choices more than anyone.

Being a compulsive "list" reader, it is hard for me to change course and move into uncharted literary waters. There are so many books already on my TBR shelf that won some prize or made it onto a "Must Read" list that it is hard to get my attention for anything else.

There are a couple of exceptions. My parents and sister pass on books that they finished that they think I would like and I usually take those. And a couple of my girlfriends give me books that I always read. In fact, I had a dream last night about reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because my friend gave it to me and I'm seeing her next week.

And I will always read a book written by a friend. That's a hard and fast rule for me. It has been a little strange since I started this blog, because now I usually review the books as well as read them. I promise an honest review, so I have been lucky that I have talented friends who write good books. But the day could come when I will be in an awkward spot. If that happens, I'll skip the review.

Here is a partial list of very good books by friends that I've read recently:

Water the Bamboo by Greg Bell (reviewed here)



A Small Fortune by Audrey Braun (reviewed here)



The Age of Reagan (Vol. II): The Conservative Counterrevolution, 1980 - 1989 by Steven Hayward (reviewed here)




Lost in Translation and The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones (reviewedhere and here)



The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen's Guide by Sally Pipes (reviewed here)



Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites by Mitchell Stevens (which was really fascinating and engaging and I live with guilt because I forgot to review it but I will one of these days)



6 comments :

J.G. said...

Lists for me, too. And now I'm influenced by my bookish blog-friends as well. My non-virtual friends tend to be chosen for other attributes, so our reading tastes are not the same. Funny how that works.

bibliophiliac said...

My mother and I pass books back and forth, and I have some friends who are great readers whose recommendations I take. Mostly I take my suggestions from reviews, articles, and interviews in magazines like Poets and Writers. And then books lead to books -- the more you read, the more you want to read!

Rose City Reader said...

J.G. -- It is funny how I will take a book recommendation from you, say, but not my co-worker. :) Then, my co-workers don't write helpful reviews or read the same prize-winners I do.

bibliophiliac -- You are so right! Every book I read either gives me ideas for new books or makes me want to read that authors other books or gives me some other suggestion!

Clover said...

I guess I missed your Water the Bamboo review the first time around - my dad recently mentioned it. I think he said it's written by a UofO grad? He was going to send me a copy, but he didn't! (but he's just moved back to Eugene, which makes me happy. That way, if I ever decide to visit him in the States again, I can go back 'home'!)

SocrMom78 said...

I like lists, simply because if I end up hating the books I read, I don't have to worry about anyone I know feeling bad if I didn't enjoy their favorite book. I come from a family of avid readers, and none of us have the same taste in books, so there isn't a lot of book-passing that goes on.

Sun Singer said...

My friends and family came to an agreement with me years ago. They don't try to get me to read the books they like, and I don't even tell them the titles of the books I like.

I avoid lists like the plague because they are the plague. Instead, I look for kindred souls who are reading what I love to read: dark books about troubled men seeking troubled women in exotic settings like Batavia, IA and Two Egg, FL.

Of course, I've found a fair number of worthy reads on your blog which, I guess, is why I'm here, forever searching.

Malcolm

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