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Old 01-09-2009, 18:01   #1
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How do you choose a book by an author you haven't read before?

As title - do you go on recommendations, read the blurb on the back, look at the pictures, figure that because it is on those tables at the front of the store and in the buy one get one free offer it must be good?

I tend to ignore the blurb on the back (as it is usually crap or full of spoilers) and randomly read one or two pages from the book. That gives a good idea of style, dialogue, genre etc. I sometimes buy rubbish, but it usually works for me.

Tell me your tips!
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Old 01-09-2009, 18:28   #2
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charity shop pick ups usually, if i am in the mood for

SERIAL KILLER BOOKS

or

CHICK LIT OF THE IRISH or LONDON girl type.

Tescos top 20 (at 3.99 each) usually gets me looking as its usually 2 for £7 so i want a 2nd one.

usually just read the blurb at the back and see if it seems similar to what i have enjoyed before. and not historic :yawn: or an aga saga
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Old 01-09-2009, 18:32   #3
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I very rarely pick up something blind in a book shop. Generally it will be from a recommendation on here, or from reviews in newspapers.

I generally don't get through books very quickly unless I am on holiday, so if I am desperate to get a book there and then (at an airport or whatever) then there is normally a backlog of ones they have that I mean to read at some point and never got around to that I can choose from.

Failing that, I go for a different book by an author I already know.

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Old 01-09-2009, 18:33   #4
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Usually a review in a weekend paper supplement.
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Old 01-09-2009, 18:39   #5
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The acid test is read a little bit of page 69, if you like it a little bit, and feel yourself wanting to continue reading, you'll enjoy the whole book. Sounds nuts, but it does kinda work.
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Old 01-09-2009, 22:10   #6
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I'll often pick up a book if there's growing hype about an upcoming film (got into authors as diverse as Thomas Hardy, Hunter S Thompson and Ian McEwan this way), then start reading the rest of their stuff if I like it. Occasionally, I've picked up books because they were cheap, had nice artwork and look kinda culty. Hunger by Knut Hamsun was a good choice...

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Old 01-09-2009, 22:22   #7
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I'll buy 'blind'.

If the story sounds good, I'll read the first page or so and mebe a chunk here n there for the writing style and give it a go.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:23   #8
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I usually look at the reviews on Amazon to get a feel for which title seems highest regarded; either that or the one that has the nicest cover
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:48   #9
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Generally I go by recommendations or wait for an author to build up a bit of reputation. Often I will look at any discussions that have occurred here and the reviews on Amazon. From time to time I do by blind if I'm in the shop and something catches my eye.
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Old 05-09-2009, 19:21   #10
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Pretty much use all the OP's methods too, also use Amazon recommendations.

Another source is I download the Book Review podcast from Simon Mayo's radio show, found a few absolute gems this way that I probably never would have tried otherwise.
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Old 05-09-2009, 19:27   #11
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I generally go on recommendations, though occasionally I'll read a book 'blind'. If I like the book then I'll normally plough through all their back-catalogue too.
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Old 05-09-2009, 19:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonI View Post
I usually look at the reviews on Amazon to get a feel for which title seems highest regarded; either that or the one that has the nicest cover
This is my usual method as well. I always make a point of reading the 3-4 star reviews as they tend to be the most balanced between the 1 Star "This buk sukked compared 2 DAn Brown!!!" and the 5 Star reviews which are usually infested by guerilla marketers. Unfortunately there are very few sites out there reviewing books and I wouldn't trust the reviews in the newspapers.
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Old 05-09-2009, 20:24   #13
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From forums like this one and other book forums.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:58   #14
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i don't even read reviews - well i do read the book section of the sunday times but they hardly ever review the sort of books i read - its all arty farty high brow booker prize type things.

And i would always buy the new book by whatever author i like anyway.

charity shops and second hand shops are good places to take a punt on a new author, when you browse them often enough you know the authors who have a range of books out (i can't think if i buy anyone who has just 1 book out, rather than at least 5), and also its only £1 if you have made a mistake.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:02   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRW View Post
The acid test is read a little bit of page 69, if you like it a little bit, and feel yourself wanting to continue reading, you'll enjoy the whole book. Sounds nuts, but it does kinda work.
Works for me. Pick it up, open and read at whatever page. If it's not grabbed me after half a page it goes back on the shelf. Currently reading The Junior Officers Reading Club by Patrick Hennessey.

You might think you'd miss a decent book if it was a 'slow burner' but if it hasn't got going by page 80 it's not going to happen
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:23   #16
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Fantastic Fiction is a great site with over 2,000 author bibliographies; and at the bottom of each author's page there is a list of other author's pages browsed by people who have looked at that page.

What books I choose comes from reading online fanzines, bibliographies, author interviews, browsing encyclopedias, and finally browsing in bookshops. A book just feels right, don't know why it just leaps of the shelf (not literally!) into my hands. Sometimes it's only knowing the author's surname but choosing the wrong one, looking for Robert Rankin but saw a book by Ian Rankin and bought that one instead. Eventually did read R.R. and don't know how I could mistake one for the other apart from only remembering the surname at the time!
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Old 08-09-2009, 13:10   #17
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Amazon, i look up a genre i am in the mood for, and then see what's top for the sales chart and then what other people also bought, and pick one.
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