What are you Reading?

A book is a serious investment for everyone involved with it. For sure, “everyone involved,” includes the person(s) who wrote it, and the person(s) who chose to read it. If the book is published conventionally, “everyone involved,” also includes an agent (optional) and a publisher.

The author, if he or she is worth a damn, has made a serious investment of time. Time, which he or she could have spent watching TV, sleeping, working in a convenience store, running a fortune 500 company, or plotting to overthrow Wal-Mart.

Let’s forget the author, the agent, and the publisher, and for a few minutes, focus on the reader.

I’ve loved books ever since I saw my first one. In fact, it was my love of books that prompted me to learn to read. I read every book I could get my hands on and soon exhausted my available supply so I had to expand my sources. That’s not easy when you are six years old, but I managed for a while by adding libraries as a source. However, it doesn’t take forever to exhaust a library – especially if they are more concerned with things other than their book inventory. The Huntsville Public Library is a perfect example. It resides in a beautiful building with all the reference technology one could ask for, however, their book inventory is pitiful, so pitiful that if they were a bookstore they would have gone out of business way before Borders did. However, I digress.

As soon as I started generating spendable income, age 14 or so, I began buying books. There I was, age fourteen, with money in my jeans, and a desire to purchase books in my heart. The problem was, I had no notion of which book I should buy. I found an solution to my dilemma, and I still employ it. I asked a simple question of everyone I saw reading a book – “What are you reading?”

I was pretty shy at age 14, so that was all I asked. If the reader wanted to expand their answer, I was more than willing to listen and note their response. Then, based on what I determined their level of involvement with the book, I decided whether or not I would invest my money in the book.

That’s still the most dependable technique I have to determine whether or not I’m going to buy a book. However, I’ve included more people than just the ones I see reading a book. I’ve added a couple of reliable sources that I’ve never met, who review books for the public. One is Jessie Kornbluth, who publishes TheHeadButler. Jessie writes the best book reviews I’ve read. If you love books, I unconditionally recommend that you check him out.

The other is Bob Edwards, who doesn’t do reviews per se, but rather he interviews a lot of writers on his radio show. Hearing a writer discuss his or her book is a pretty reliable way to make a book buying decision.

However, the best way for me, is the original way that I devised, ask everyone that I see reading a book, “What are your reading?” I’m not as shy as I used to be, so now I also ask, “Do you like it?” And usually, “Would you recommend it to a friend?”

I’ll bet you are reading a book now, maybe even two or three of them. Take a minute and tell me, and everyone else who finds this blog post, what you are reading, and whether you are enjoying it, and whether or not you’d recommend it to a friend.

Thanks for your time, now go back to your reading.

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5 Responses to What are you Reading?

  1. I’ve just finished reading ‘The hundred-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared’ by Jonas Jonasson An odd title and not a particularly attractive cover either. As light entertainment it’s top-notch. The lead character has spent his long life unwittingly influencing major movers and shakers in the world.
    Would I recommend it? Yes – give it a go (unless you are a historian).

  2. Elaine Jeremiah

    Hi. I’m reading ‘No Name’ by Wilkie Collins. It’s a classic Victorian thriller about what happens to two young women who are sisters when their parents die leaving them illegitimate and penniless. It’s a really fantastic, exciting read. I highly recommend it!

  3. Claude Nougat

    Bert, what a good way to go about it! Yes, I’ve always asked friends – and a Goodreads friend told me last year that she’d read this marvelous book called The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Then she complained that she couldn’t convince her local book club to read it because it dealt with an old man taking a walk across England to reach an old friend he hadn’t seen for years and who was dying from cancer. He told her on the phone, I’m coming to you, I’m going to do it the hard way, walking for weeks because it will take me a long time and, please, you wait for me! A lovely idea…

    That got me thinking. How old was this guy? 60! Not old at all in my book! How can people react so negatively to age and aging? It has to be addressed positively and brushed under the rug! So I put that book on my To Read list and proceeded to create a Goodreads Group (as you know I’m sure) to discuss Boomer lit. There had to be people out there like my friend who liked so much The Unlikely Pilgrimage! Of course she joined the Group immediately and then more and more people came and even I was amazed (we’re 240 today, 4 months later, with 70 boomer books on our Group’s bookshelf).

    So now that the dust around boomer lit has settled a little (I mean I’m ably helped by others, both on the Goodreads Group site and on our related Facebook Page but of course articles continue to pour in – and interviews too, like the one today on Venture Galleries…) I finally got around to reading the Unlikely Pilgrimage – what a joy! So beautifully written, so sensitive, so sad, yes, but also so uplifting! And extraordinary book, the perfect example of boomer lit, I highly recommend it!
    Claude Nougat recently posted…Discover Boomer lit in an Easy Fun Way every FridayMy Profile

  4. Julia Robb

    I just finished Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, which I am writing about for my Thursday VG column (it was some experience) and I’ve lately read three books by the great Ray Bradbury. I loved “Dandelion Wine,” about a little boy living in 1928 (or 29) Illinois, and finding out what life is really about. Highly recommended. “The Cruel Sea,” by Nicolas Monsarrat, is a terrific novel about war in the Atlantic Ocean during World War Two. I just chanced on all of these by hearing something, or reading something, or even remembering the titles from earlier years.

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