Friday, 11 January 2008

Booking through Thursday
This week's question:
  1. How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?
  2. Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?
My favourite authors have either been recommended and introduced to me by friends (Barbara Kingsolver, the Mitfords, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Ian Rankin, Margery Allingham, etc etc) or have become so by happy accident (Ian McEwan, Maggie O'Farrell, Dorothy L. Sayers, Kazuo Ishiguro, Minette Walters, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anita Brookner, etc etc).
Once I like them, I'll try anything they've written.
But as life's too short to spend reading time on stuff I can't stand, authors I don't enjoy rarely get the chance to worm their way into my affections.
Yes, I know: it's a major failing on my part. But stiff. I don't smoke, drink or fool around, so I'm allowed some peccadillos.

I will try out all recommendations by certain of my friends, though the resulting chemistry is occasionally unfavourable (Alexander McCall Smith, for example, John Banville, Cormac McCarthy et al).
And it's the same when I recommend books to others: they won't always gel.

So serendipity is a major force when I'm choosing reading matter.
My husband, who reads non-fiction (history and politics) and chooses many of his books only after meticulous research, reading reviews, and picking his way through recommendations, often says he can't believe how I can walk into a bookstore, choose a book seemingly on a whim, and then love it from cover to cover.
It's not always entirely whim, of course. I'll have a mental list (and these days, a hard copy of that list) of authors my friends and favourite bloggers are talking about, and I know where to roam as far as genre, subject matter, period and writing styles go.
And then, occasionally, a book sitting innocently on a bookstore shelf, not even among the new releases or bestsellers, will just strike a chord with me and I'll take a chance on it, driven by the blurb and a quick flick inside, and even, perhaps the cover. Now there's an admission!

6 comments:

Table Talk said...

I haven't read a Margery Allingham book in years and I really do enjoy her. Thank you for reminding me. I must see what the library has to offer.

Geranium Cat said...

I like Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie books (Sunday Philosopher's Club) but not the No 1 Lady's Detective Agency, the latter really doesn't gel with me. And one of my favourite authors, Garth Nix, I found when I noticed a beautifully designed cover.

Julia said...

I've never heard of these authors - so maybe I should start reading them :)

Happy BTTs - I hope you've a good days/weekend ahead!

gautami tripathy said...

I find here many of my favourite authors.

Somehow I could never take to Jhumpa Lahiri.

Here is my post!

BooksPlease said...

We like many of the same authors - the only one I don't know is Lahiri, love the rest. I agree that life is too short to bother reading anything that doesn't appeal, I can't think why anyone would.

Jeane said...

I used to feel compelled to finish every book I started and got at least fifty pages into, but I no longer do that; there's too much to read. Even if I'm two-thirds through the book if it begins to really drag or loose my interest, it's a goner.