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Choosing a book

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#16 Mary J

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 12:17 PM

My first choice - recommendations. I know what family and friends like so I know where to apply the grain of salt.

Next - reviews. Again only if the reviewer says something about the book that makes it intriguing to me.

Finally, browsing. That is the most fun of all! The cover, the review squibs, the book flap summaries, and as a final test, a paragraph or two in the first chapter. If I am not going to like the style, I will know pretty quickly.

Juliet - I love owning books which is why I may buy something even if I eventually decide to donate it to the library. I think the only time I go to borrow from the library nowadays is when the price is prohibitive and I am convinced I won't necessarily like the book enough to justify the outlay of cash. Lately that seems to be about $25 for trade hardbacks and $50 for rare or hard-to-find books. One of my real indulgences.

#17 Juliet


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Posted 04 August 2004 - 05:35 PM

I love owning books too! but I do this for a living and handle thousands, so if i buy something it is either out of print. rare, a sentimental favourite, or something to which I will refer again and again. I bought (and had friends and relatives buy) beautiful editions of classics for my children and they treasure them, and of course they have multiples! I give books as presents all the time, and constantly weed my own collections to make room for more.

I am, however, still surprised to hear that people don't use the library and then buy books they know they love, rather than taking a chance and buying something that is read once and then gathers dust. (Things bought in airports or trains stations are exempt: one MUST have something when travelling!!!!) Everyone is different.... :o I have my favourites that I reread regularly, too---summer is a great time for this, don't you think?

#18 Ostrich


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Posted 05 August 2004 - 10:42 AM

I usually try to find the books I want to read in libraries. If I like it enough to want to reread it, I might buy it, but I usually wait for a really special edition to come along, such as one with good illustrations, good notes or just a special cover.

I belong to the group never-read-the-end-first group. I find reading the end first spoils some of the appreciation of the author's technique.

Sometimes I just browse through libraries (or book stores) and take out whatever title interests me. I read book jacket summaries to see whether the topic interests me and then I usually read a few sentences or paragraphs in the book to see whether the writing style appeals to me. Otherwise, I listen to recommendations from people whose taste I know. I am also influenced by book covers. I can't read a good book with an awful cover. The viual image disturbs me too much (guess why I like ballet?).

Edited by Ostrich, 05 August 2004 - 10:47 AM.

#19 dirac


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Posted 03 February 2005 - 06:03 PM

I agree, ostrich, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover! I tend to avoid books with very glitzy covers, or those paperback books aimed at women that are decorated with cutesy-wootsy fonts and pastel colors. :)

Sometimes you get ones that are completely out of left field, though. I have a first edition of Edmund White’s Forgetting Elena and it has this very odd cover, a shell with a tear dropping from it, as I recall. Very odd and irrelevant. However, on that occasion I ignored the bad cover vibe, and I was glad I did.

I've also been turned off by author photographs, especially guys with beards, posing against a forest background, often with dog.

#20 carolm



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Posted 25 May 2005 - 01:36 AM

Also -- I believe there's no better therapy when you get into a very dark place than rereading your favorite children's literature.  That's when I need the comfort of the Melendy chiildren, Anne of Green Gable, and Betsy and Tacy, for starters. 


My heart leapt up when I read that you had read the Betsy Tacey & Tib series. I remember going into a library when I was 18 or so to read the last book to find out if they had married!

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