In conjunction with the Man Booker prize announcement, the BBC website has an interesting article on “10 ways to get you to read a book”. While I’d agree with most of them (word of mouth, author, covers, etc, etc), #2 and #3 on the list – “book groups” and “Richard and Judy” respectively – is not something that would particularly work for me.
Book groups – mmm… I don’t think I’ve ever participated in a book group, in real life or online. I can see the attraction – I think it would encourage me to read books I wouldn’t have ordinarily picked up, but at the same time, it’s probably too structured for me. I choose books to read based on my mood, and I think I’ll feel “forced” to read something that I don’t necessarily want to read at the time.
As for “Richard and Judy”… for the non-UK readers, Richard and Judy are a married couple that host a tea-time TV show with a book club, modelled on Oprah’s Book Club. Basically, anything they recommend pretty much shoots up the bestseller lists. I don’t think I’ve ever bought one of their recs. Probably because I know what I like and don’t. Heh. Am I too rigid in my reading? Sure, I read a lot, but within the genres I like – romance, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. I rarely read books shelved in general fiction (unless incorrectly shelved!) or non-fiction. Sometimes I think I should try and broaden my horizons, then I figure I’ll rather use the free time I have reading books I know I’ll enjoy.
As an aside, I love the BBC Magazine site -it’s part of the wider BBC News website, but has a slightly more tongue-in-cheek look at the topics of the day.
And while we’re (sort of) on the subject, I don’t think I’ll be buying the Man Booker winner – from the reviews I’ve read, it seems to be a rather gloomy book – I don’t read books to get depressed!