Friday, January 27, 2012

Some results from the Verso Digital survey of consumer purchasing behavior:

Avid readers--those who purchase 10 or more books a year--tend to be older, female, wealthier and better educated--and represent 30.2% of the U.S. adult population, about 70 million people. "They are the market that's a driver for our industry," McKeown said. These avid readers buy books for a variety of reasons, including entertainment/relaxation (32%), education and self-improvement (22%) and for gifts (14%).

Readers find out about books mostly through personal recommendations (49.2%), bookstore staff recommendations (30.8%), advertising (24.4%), search engine searches (21.6%) and book reviews (18.9%). Much less important are online algorithms (16%), blogs (12.1%) and social networks (11.8%). These results "reaffirm the power and necessity of bricks-and-mortar stores and traditional marketing efforts," McKeown commented.

Seventy million of us. I find that heartening. And while others may be bummed that blogs are even less influential than online algorithms, I'm not.

I'm quite amused.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Okay, so I'm going to revive a practice abandoned a few years back . At the beginning of every month I'll post a list of the books that I hope to read by its end. There will often be more books on the list than I can possibly read, but I'll try to be realistic in my expectations and shoot for two books a week, with a small number of substitutions and extras to choose from in case things don't work out as I'd planned.

For January:

A World Elsewhere. Wayne Johnston
Earth. David Brin
State of Wonder. Ann Patchett (campus book club)
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet. Reif Larsen (Slaves of Golconda)
The Day of the Triffids. John Wyndham
Assumption. Percival Everett
Hard Times. Charles Dickens
The War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells

if time enough:
Measure for Measure. William Shakespeare
The Day the Earth Stood Still. Harry Bates
The Paperbark Shoe. Goldie Goldbloom

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hello 2012!

I've decided that making resolutions--for me, at any rate--is a lot like having Alzheimer's disease. In December I decide on the direction I want to go in, put some thought into my goals for the year. . .  then check the preceeding January's resolutions and see that they're exactly the same, and were exactly the same the year before as well! Good grief.

And looking at the lists of books I intend to read is depressing. There are carry-overs that keep popping up year after year, so no more of that. There's much more brawn to my read-at-whim muscle than you might expect, although putting together my fill in the gaps list of one hundred authors back in 2009 allows me the flexibility to be both flighty and on task. I knocked off another 20 from that list in 2011, bringing my total to 60. I should have no trouble reaching one hundred by the project's end in April 2014.

I'm bringing in the new year with David Brin's Earth, the type of hard science fiction I intended to read last year, before I became sidetracked by a fairly steady supply of time travel fare. I'm also reading Wayne Johnston's A World Elsewhere, a book that won't be published in the U.S. until late summer. After I saw it pop up on a couple of Canadian blogs several months back, I added it to my wish list--portions of the novel take place in North Carolina, in a mansion modeled after the Biltmore estate, so how could I resist? And then I thought I'd see if I could get it through interlibrary loan, and yes, there was a library in Texas willing to send it my way, although they want it back this Friday.

In theory, I remain committed to avoiding all reading challenge entanglements, but there are so many fantastic ones taking place this month: Carl's Science Fiction Experience; Redhead's Vintage Science Fiction Month; Kim's Australian Fiction Month; Allie's Shakespeare Month; and Amanda's Charles Dickens Month. Might I squeeze in one title from each challenge before I swear off them all for the rest of the year? In addition to book group obligations?

And I'm definitely taking part in C.B. James's TBR Double Dare, although I am turning it into a book buying ban until April. In fact, although I'm not officially making any resolutions this year, I do have a catchy slogan--Eschew the New--and I'm going to chant it whenever my finger gets twitchy over at the Evil Place. My daughter's moving to Berlin for six months in a couple weeks and we're going to want to visit her while she's there; I don't need to divert any money on books that I could get from the library if I'm patient enough.

Eschew the new. Or, to quote Maurice Sagoff:

The norm
(Dull minds conform)

Guess that means I'm bypassing the buzz books in 2012 to re-read some of my old favorites.


I just made a resolution.

Let's pretend it never happened.

A bang, not a whimper

  Two months into L.'s retirement, and I'm finished with the stockpiling of books. No more book purchases! Or at least, no purcha...