BBAW 2010: Blogger-Inspired Book Choices

by Kim on September 15, 2010 · 34 comments

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Book Blogger Appreciation Week is a week-long event that celebrates the work and contributions of book bloggers. There’s a new blog topic each day, and I plan to actively participate. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming next week.

Wednesday’s Topic: We invite you to share with us a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger. What made you cave in to try something new and what was the experience like?

In a weird way, I think my reading has actually gotten more selective since BBAW last year. After I was nominated for Best Nonfiction Review Blog in 2009, I started reading more and more nonfiction, since that seemed to be what people expected. I did read a lot of nonfiction before, but the choice has seemed more deliberate since then.

But there have still definitely been some blogger-influenced book choices in the last year — some good, some not-so-good.

I know that I wouldn’t have read the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins if it weren’t for bloggers. I hadn’t even heard of the series before it got so much natural buzz, and then once it was going I wanted to be part of the excitement. So I read them, and ended up enjoying them quite a bit.

On the other hand, I read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters as part of Care’s Online Book Club, and really didn’t like that book. Lots and lots of bloggers have, but I just didn’t like any of the characters, didn’t find the story that engaging, and ended up feeling like it was a book I could have read the summary of on Wikipedia and been fine with (that’s what I did with the entire Twilight series, and I’m ok with admitting that). But, to each is his/her own!

I’ve also been lucky enough to have some blogging friends mail books my way that they  think I would like Care (of the previously mentioned Online Book Club) mailed me An Education by Lynn Barber, which is memoir of a young woman in Britain growing into a journalist. And Jill at Fizzy Thoughts sent me The Woman Who Fell from the Sky by Jennifer Steil, another memoir about a female journalist, this time in Yemen. I liked both books, and I can sense a trend of what everyone things about me!

As with yesterday’s topic, I could go on and on with more books I know I picked up because of bloggers — Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson, Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle, Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Magicians by Lev Grossman, and Hunger: An Unnatural History by Sharman Apt Russell come to mind just from looking at my review archive.

So I guess my reading actually hasn’t become as insular as I thought — thanks bloggers, for keeping me on my toes and exploring new things.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Chrisbookarama September 15, 2010 at 5:57 am

I read the whole Hunger Games series this year because of Jill. Yes, it’s all her fault. ;)

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Chrisbookarama: I don’t know if I can blame a specific blogger for that one, more just the general, overwhelming enthusiasm. It was infectious.

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Jeanne September 15, 2010 at 6:52 am

I keep resisting the urge to recommend The Magicians to everyone I know. It’s not for everyone; it’s angsty and slow to build. But there’s something about it I love. And you put me onto it! My daughter wore her Brakebills shirt to school yesterday.

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Jeanne: I agree – The Magicians is not for everyone – but I just thought it was so funny when I compared it to Harry Potter and other teen wizarding books. Where did your daughter get a Brakebills shirt – I want one!

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Scott September 15, 2010 at 6:55 am

Finding those books you never would have picked up otherwise is definitely my favorite aspect of the book blogging community. Almost everything I read this days comes from someone (either online or in person) recommending it to me.

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Scott: I lot of what I read now comes from a recommendation, either online, friends, or as part of my bigger project to read lots of the great narrative nonfiction books.

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Care September 15, 2010 at 7:05 am

OMG- can you imagine what I would be reading if I hadn’t met all of you bloggers!!?!?!?
:)
Thanks for the double linky-love.

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Care: No, I have no idea what you’d be reading. I don’t even know what I’d be reading – certainly not as much and not as deeply.

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Trish September 15, 2010 at 7:14 am

A lot of these books are ones that I’ve also read because of bloggers. I don’t think I would have ever picked up Hunger Games on my own and I’m so glad to have discovered Sarah Waters.

By the way, Kim, big congrats on the non-fiction win!!

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Trish: Thanks Trish, winning was a huge honor :) I saw a lot of people mention The Hunger Games in posts today.

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Jenny September 15, 2010 at 7:25 am

Whenever I pause and think of all the books I’ve had recommended to me by book bloggers, I am overwhelmed with the thought of how depressing it would be not to have them. I’m sure at least half my reading comes from bloggy recommendations!

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Jenny: When I sat down to write, I thought I wouldn’t have that many books, but then when I looked at my reading list it was a huge number! I’m not sure if it was half, but darn close.

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Laurel-Rain Snow September 15, 2010 at 7:38 am

I certainly have discovered a lot of titles I’d never heard of before I started blogging, and while I haven’t tried all the ones getting the hype, they’re on my radar; and at some point, I may just cave! lol

Here’s what I wrote:

http://snowconnections.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/bbaw-unexpected-treasures/

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Laurel: Lots of books that have gotten hype are on my TBR eventually pile as well.

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Amanda September 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

So many of m y books these days are blogger-recommended. I don’t like all of them, but i figure that’s okay – at least I’m being exposed to new stuff!

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Amanda: I don’t like all of them either, but I like getting to try new books to figure out the things I like better.

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bermudaonion (Kathy) September 15, 2010 at 10:23 am

I have a feeling Care and Jill have influenced lots of people’s reading choices.

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

bermudaonion: Definitely – they both make great recommendations.

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Pam September 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

The Hunger Games was on my list too!

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Pam: I saw that, funny post!

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Lyndsey September 15, 2010 at 11:51 am

My real life book group read An Education, and there were very mixed reactions. There seem to be a lot of people who didn’t like the book but did enjoy the film – funny how people prefer fiction to real life, isn’t it!

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Lyndsey: It is funny! I do think the film had a more sustained storyline – it was more focused. The book jumped and covered a lot more ground, and I can see why people may not like that.

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Amy September 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Sounds like good books. Bloggers really are great at keeping me reading great books too (you included!).

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Amy: Same to you – I’ve added lots of books because of you :)

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softdrink September 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I’m reading Hamlet’s BlackBerry right now. And it’s all YOUR fault. :-D

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm

softdrink: I haven’t gotten to read it yet, but I want to! I can’t wait to hear what you think.

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Natasha @ Maw Books September 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I keep hearing about The Woman Who Feel From the Sky enough that I need to look into more!

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Kim September 19, 2010 at 11:02 am

Natasha: It’s an interesting book. I wrote up some initial thoughts, but don’t have a formal review yet. I was, of course, fascinated by the journalism aspects of it, but I think there’s a lot of interesting notes on what it’s like to be a woman in Yemen — similar to other Middle Eastern countries, but with some interesting differences too.

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Stephanie September 15, 2010 at 4:23 pm

That is too bad you didn’t like Fingersmith! To each their own. I can say for certain I wouldn’t have read The Hunger Games without the encouragement of other bloggers.

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Stephanie: It is too bad; I think I just wasn’t in the mood for it and I might like Sarah Waters better some other time. We’ll see :)

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Trisha September 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Hunger Games and Fingersmith were each the result of bloggers for me as well. It’s really the best part of blogging.

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Kim September 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Trisha: Definitely the best part :)

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Sheila (Bookjourney) September 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I agree – I told my book club about The Hunger Games and what it was about and they looked horrified…LOL I told them about the reviews I had read and I said that seriously if I would have went off the book description a one I would have never picked these books up. Now I am of course a big promoter of the books…. as is my entire book club… all 18 of us. :D

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Kim September 17, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Sheila: I don’t think I would have picked this up just on the description either — to awful sounding for me. But I’m so glad for the blogger buzz convincing me to read it, that’s cool. It’s funny your entire club is full of Hunger Games promoters now :)

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