Thursday, July 01, 2010

Reading Behind the Pack


First off, this has been a sucktastic week. Yep, that bad. Job woes are the bulk of my worries, but I'm trying to chill out about any impending joblessness and retreat into my books and Google Reader (and various online job-hunting sites). I generally try to read through my Google Reader every day or two, and I've decided something from reading across the blogosphere:

Some people are on the cusp of reading. They jump on the newest bestsellers or other "hot" titles, or maybe they have a contact with the hot publishers who can send review copies of those books. I would consider myself a "behind the pack" kind of reader

Hype scares me. I can't tell you bloggy lovelies how many times I've attempted the most popular "it" book of the moment and found myself supremely let down. Oftentimes too much hype can build my expectations to a point that no book could ever live up. Perfect example: The Lovely Bones. Back when it was first released, I actually sprung for this novel in hardcover only to discover that I didn't seem to love it the way other readers loved it. In fact, I loathed it. Needless to say, it broke me from buying pristine hardcovers. From that point on, I've been largely a used bookstore and library reader. With little disposable income, it's also just not realistic to buy brand new books all the time.

At times, my behind-the-pack reading has left me feeling out of the loop. For a long time I was in a very small library system and most new books weren't available. Now that I'm in a much larger system, I can apprehend new books much faster.

I've been thinking about this particular phenomenon in my reading life mostly because I have amassed some new books lately, and that's entirely out of my norm (see the "New On My Shelves" portion of the sidebar). Thanks to NetGalley, I have some e-copies of upcoming books. The library has been surprisingly in tune with my wants as of late, and thanks to the affordability of e-books, I have a copy of The Passage waiting for me on my Nook.

No matter what happens in the world of e-books or library land, I will probably always be one of those readers that just can't read fast enough to catch up with everything I desire to read. I'm just now getting to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I almost wonder the point in reviewing it, since it seems like I'm the last gal on Earth to pick it up. Nevertheless, my goal for this blog now and in the future is to be eclectic and feel at home with my reading choices. Mainstream, independent, popular, poopular, e- and print. Personally, I enjoy reading blogs which include new and time-worn books for the enabling part of finding new treasures and the nostalgia of revisiting titles I may have already read.

How do you feel? Do you prefer reading reviews of completely new books or do you enjoy the oldies-but-goodies, too?

23 comments:

  1. I think I'm somewhere in between. I read some hot titles, but do tend to be a little behind. Don't tell anyone, but I haven't read The Hunger Games yet.

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  2. LOL, Kathy! The Hunger Games was one I jumped on pretty quickly, but I haven't read Catching Fire yet. Tried it, and it didn't grab me fast enough. I'll get back to it one of these days.

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  3. I'd like to think I'm an ecclectic reader/reviewer, but lately I've seen a drastic shift toward reading all-new titles! Definitely want to change that. Like you, I enjoy reading blogs that have a good mix of old and new books! I find all sorts of goodies that way.

    Don't worry, Guernsey is a book I love to revisit through reviews -- I loved it so much! Eager to hear your thoughts, too. Hope the hype doesn't get to you. :)

    And sorry to hear about the sucktacular job situation :( Sending you good vibes.

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  4. Heh, I thought I was behind since I only picked up Guernsey late last year and The Hunger Games a couple of months ago.

    It does sometimes feel like the same books are reviewed on book blog after book blog. Although as I write that, The Passage looms menacingly from the top of the library pile (all the better for intruder-hurting).

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  5. I'm always behind the times myself. And I'm a huge fan of blogs that are a mix of new and old...I actually haven't yet read Guernsey or Hunger Games yet. I just checked out a book from Picnic at Hanging Rock from the library which is an older book that sounds deliciosly creepy. I had never heard of it before but I'm super excited to get to it now!

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  6. I've managed to read a lot of new books this year, mainly by searching my library frequently to see if they've got new books requested. I did happen to score and ERC of The Passage and liked it but am quite glad i didn't buy it.

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  7. I definitely sit on the fence with reading books that are all the hype. I read The Lovely Bones on the second wave of "OMG THIS IS BLOODY FANTASTIC". And I detested it. Seriously. I didn't know if my brain had this dent in it that prevented me from *gettin it* because I surely got nothing but a lump of bleh.

    *shrug* Sometimes I'm with the "cool kids on the back of the bus" but normally I'm the same kid that I was in high school: a bit here and a bit there and always moving around.

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  8. I often feel like I'm behind the pack with all the hot new books - I usually either read a book right away, because it sounds awesome, as a result of one of the earliest reviews I see of it; or else I got tired of reading about it everywhere and refuse to read it on principle. For a while. And then I cave and read it after all. (Not The Lovely Bones though. It sounds hella depressing.)

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  9. I'm definitely behind the pack too. I tend to read the most popular books long after they are at their peak. I don't know why but I tend to shy away from the books that everyone else is reading. I did pick up The Passage though and can't wait to read it on my upcoming camping trip!

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  10. I find myself behind the pack fairly often. I read The Hunger Games just this year and still haven't read Catching Fire. I review them anyway. Those reviews get more comments because everyone has read them and wants to discuss it. I love that!

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  11. I would say for the most part I'm also a behind the pack kind of reader. I've had such letdowns after too much hype over books. I think I just prefer to let the hype die down and then get with the books. Plus, it's fun discovering some of my shelf sitters and talking about those no matter how old they are :)

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  12. Personally I just read whatever the hell I want :p I'm only every now and then on top of the latest releases and that's like if Neil Gaiman has something coming out, lol. Aside from that, it's whatever looks good. Whatever's going to make me happy at the moment!

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  13. Oh, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you with the job woes too, Andi :( I hope things turn out good!

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  14. I'm a "behind the pack" reader too. I sometimes hesitate to post my reviews because I am the last person to read the book. But then I think that I blog for myself as well as hoping others will read it too...so I go ahead and post my late review...LOL.

    I have sucktastic job woes too...between reading and blogging I try to search the job market everyday...but no luck yet.

    Here's to hoping you and I have great success in finding a job!!!!

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  15. I like the mix. I tend to read a lot of new books, but I'm always happy when I manage to read something no one has ever heard of. I thought I had pulled that off with Purge, but the day after I finished the book, the Powell's blog posted a review.

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  16. I used to be on the ball with new releases, then I moved to the UK. Now I mostly read whatever I feel like and take note of all the "hot" books for later on. I sometimes still get them for review, but it happens much less often now.

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  17. We'll make our own pack, behind the pack - we'll have the cooler hair ;P

    I like a mix of older and new books, but sometimes like you I find myself having that anti-hype reaction. And it's such a pain, because I really want to love a book, but come out sounding like I'm a total hipster who can't enjoy popular things.

    I've also ended up seeing it from the other side - read Time Travellers Wife and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the midst of hype and geniunely loved them, only to see a lot of people recat differently once they read them after the hype. I'm quite tempted to go back and read TTW again and see if it still stands up (but oh that awful bit at the end, could I cope?).

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  18. Since I started reading book blogs I've begun reading newer books. I don't limit myself to them, however, and don't necessarily care if I've got the latest whatever in my hands (unless it's a children's author I totally adore, and then yes, I most definitely want that book in my hands!). I had no idea how many reviews of The Help were out there until I went to post my own review, at which point I felt completely ridiculous for doing so. As much as I love reading book blogs and reviews, sometimes I think it's okay for us to tune each other out :)

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  19. I'm mainly a behind the pack reader.

    I haven't read most of the new fiction titles but then again I'm mainly a nonfiction reader.

    I do get review books but if it weren't for them, I'd be reading mostly old books.

    Even now I love reading older books. I've been trying to accept less new review books because I'd rather my blog feature all books, not just new books.

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  20. I do believe I am more of a back-of-the-pack reader. I may purchase a hyped book immediately, but for some reason or another, I will usually wait for the hype to die down before I finally open the book and read it. There are a few exceptions to this, and it is fifty-fifty on whether the book lived up to the hype. My stack of review copies have gotten out of control, but even then, unless I have a specific date set by a publisher or book tour, I still drag my feet on reading and reviewing them. I will get around to it one day, but I might not read it immediately. I'd rather wait and let the fervor die down a bit before I add my two cents.

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  21. I read a little bit of old and new. I have so many old books calling out to me, but as a bookseller the pressure to handsell the new stuff is overwhelming at times. Honestly, I have close to three dozen ARCs from work that were published between 2009-2010. And, nope, none have been read yet! Ack! Why am blog-hopping when I should be reading?!

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  22. I'm just getting into the groove of blogging and more specifically blogging about books. The idea of reading so many new books was baffling at first. And so I stopped trying so hard and just read whatever sounded good that I could get my hands on. And so far, that's worked for me. And I honestly enjoy when bloggers review older books: they're easier for me to get my hands on (many of them I have tucked away in a bookshelf somewhere) or they are reviewing something I have already read. In many ways I like this more because it means I can leave a comment with some substance. I can actually contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. That, I believe, enables me to make a stronger connection with the blogger and honestly that was really why I got into this. Not just to discover new books to read but to discuss books with other readers.

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  23. Like others here, I'm mostly a behind-the-pack reader. I love blogs that highlight older books because I hate the thought of a book falling into complete obscurity just because it has been supplanted by the new and hot titles.

    I browse the new books section of my library and throw in some new books in my reading. I did decide to buy the Passage, however, because it's huge and I think I would not be able to finish it during the library loan period.

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