Thursday, May 13, 2010

BTT: Influence

It's Thursday, and Laura at Booking Through Thursday, has posed another question for us.

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 book selection is definitely influenced by friends and family as well as people I've run into online who blog about books and post online reviews. These particularly affect the aquisition phase of the process. I'll buy books or swap for them based on my wishlist. Books get added to the wishlist for many reasons—not the least of which are recommendations from people whose opinions I trust.

One reason why I enjoy my participation in the swaps and virtual book boxes at BookObsessed is because the interactions involve discussions on why certain books were selected for the swap. These become implicit recommendations. Whichever book I wind up winning in the swap goes into my TBR, but I also often wind up putting any number of the offered books onto my wishlist for a future acquisition.

For the execution phase, I'm much more likely to select which book I will read next based on what mood I happen to be in. Heck, since I often am reading more than one book at a time, my mood will often influence which of the books I'll pick up at any given time.

Take, for example, my recent road trip from Dallas to Las Vegas. Whenever we load up for a road trip, I put a small cardboard box into the back of the car and fill it with about a dozen books. That gives me plenty of books to choose from when I'm reading as we travel. On this trip, the box contained Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon, three books in Madalyn Alt's Bewitching Mysteries series (Hex Marks the Spot, No Rest for the Wiccan, and Where There's a Witch) , King's Son, Magic's Son by Josepha Sherman, Blue Diablo and Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre, July's People by Nadine Gordimer, The Road Home by Rose Tremain, and Daughter of Elysium by Joan Slonczewski. I'm pretty sure there were even more books in the box, but I sent the box home with my hubby and can't look and see exactly what was there. While my hubby was driving, I finished reading two books that I had started before I left home and then started pulling books from the box to read.

First up was Lord John and the Private Matter. Diana Gabaldon is the author of the Outlander saga and this book is the first in a spin-off series. In the introduction, she notes, “Dear Readers—I think it's only fair to warn you that I wrote this book by accident. I thought I was writing a short story about Lord John Grey—one of my favorite characters from the OUTLANDER novels. As it was, though ... Lord John had other ideas.” And, reading her acknowledgments, she thanks her literary agents, “who, when I told them I had finished the second Lord John short story, inquired how long it was. Upon being told, they looked at each other, then at me, and said as one, ‘You do realize that that's the length most normal books are?’” This is so telling when you realize that the Lord John novel is 320 pages long as compared to her then most recent Outlander novel which weighed in at 992 pages.

Then, I plunged into Madelyn Alt's Bewitching Mysteries. I started reading this series a couple of years ago and had accumulated books 3-5 in the series but had not found time to read them. Having offered the 4th and 5th books in the Cozy Mystery Swap last month at BookObsessed, I wanted to get these read as soon as possible and shipped off to LoriPed. I carried book #5, Where There's a Witch, onto the plane from Las Vegas to Dallas and finished it shortly after take-off. Fortunately, my backpack contained the next book which I intended to read, King's Son, Magic's Son by Josepha Sherman.

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