Armchair BEA Discussion: Books from far, far away

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Welcome to the third day of Armchair BEA! This four-day event is organized to coincide with the BookExpo America in NY that ends today. Tomorrow is the Book Blogger Convention. Those of us unlucky enough not to be in the most happening place this week are instead going to be a part of BEA from the cozy comforts of our home. (I know it's not much, but at least one can claim that feeling of participation!). Today, for my third post for the Armchair BEA, I'm going to step back a bit and look at us - bloggers - and the little-known books.


How do you decide which books to read or add to your always growing TBR? If you're like me, you probably heed recommendations from bloggers, members in your favorite online communities or book clubs, and friends or family members. Have you ever looked to see if most of the books you read (barring review copies) are the "hyped up" books? And I don't been that in a bad way, but more in an objective way.

Let me tell you about myself. I find that most of the books I read are usually the popular ones. How does one resist all that fanfare and good reviews? When the whole world was going gaga over the Twilight series or even the Harry Potter books, and now over the Hunger Games trio, I barely could sit on my seat. To prove my point, I recently pre-ordered Mockingjay, knowing fully well that I will not be able to wait for my hold to be through at the library.

Alright, that's fine. After all, who likes to be the odd (wo)man out at a book party?


But what about those books that are just as good but either is not written by a popular author, or has not yet been spotted by the media, or are translations? Some of us come across such books once in a while, maybe read a few, but how do we give them a greater stage presence, so to speak?


Iris' post on Blogging as a global phenomenon got me thinking about how we readers can be more proactive in our reading. I am passive at best, because I keep staring at my TBR mountain, wondering what it would be like to get through all those books during my lifespan. So I end up picking a book that is, at the instant of choosing, getting the most heat or sounding the most delightful. My goal is to change that (for the most part). I will still not be able to stay away from the books making the rounds, but I would like to intersperse my reading with books I think are good but have not got the necessary recognition or attention.

Looking at us bloggers as a collective phenomenon, how do we give the not-so-famous books the love they deserve? By spreading the word. Proactive blogging means not just looking at a book to see if we will love it and then adding it to our TBR. It also means that we don't hesitate to share it with our followers. Share the love. No, you don't have to write up a post for every book you find - that will be annoying to your followers. Just as your review reflects that you really loved a book, let us similarly share reviews of fellow bloggers, when they talk about some really amazing books that you have never heard of, and possibly half the world hasn't either. There are plenty of memes that let you share your finds, or bring to the fore books that you read in the past but didn't review on your blog. If you are an active Twitterer, you can consider tweeting about the books that you really want to make known.

How else can you spread the word? Challenges are one way. Another method I really like is a regular spotlight feature. I've seen many bloggers use it very effectively. By doing such a feature, you get the chance to explore new books, tell everyone how great a book is and of course, get more followers. Why not do a feature by focusing on a particular sect of books that you are passionate about? - books that just need a stronger word of mouth to get there.

If you had one book or a set of books that you would want to give a global presence, what would you do?

13 comments:

MarthaE said...

Good suggestions Aths. I am doing my Armchair BEA vicariously through you! LOL. I just have no more time to come up with additional blog posts much less well thought out articles.
My thanks to you!

Cat said...

Brilliant post, Aths.

This is something I've been giving some thought to lately as I've noticed the books I really love, particularly in my favourite historical fiction genre, are not the books that are receiving all the hype.

I think a spotlight feature is an excellent idea - problem is fitting it in!

One book to shout from the rooftops - the one I reviewed today. The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan.

irisonbooks said...

Very good post. You're right that bloggers should/could before more pro-active in some cases. It is hard to figure out the right concept though. I love some of the spotlight features, expecially Aarti's "With Reverent Hands".

Molly said...

Very thought-provoking post. Sometimes when I finish reading a classic, or one just of "my own choosing" I think that the blogging community wouldn't be interested because 1 - either it has already been reviewed before or 2- there is a reason why it isn't being reviewed: no interest.

The blogging universe is constantly changing with new bloggers entering all the time. Thank you for the reminder to be proactive and inclusive.

Doret said...

This is a great post. This actually goes well with a post I did the other day called What do I read next? As a blogger sometimes that is not an easy question to answer.

I read alot of the best sellers and popular children's and yound adult titles but I don't give them much attention on my blog because they don't need it.

Gwen said...

I tend to be eclectic in my reading, so the hype often passes me by. I often find myself reading a formerly hyped up book a few years after the hype has died down though.

You are right, we need to be proactive. Spotlighting the smaller presses, the lesser known authors, or even the "you need to know about this" nonfiction works.

Just like people always want to follow trends in decorating or fashion, bloggers tend to follow the trends in reading. I think we should make a pact to blaze our own trail. It may not be popular, but we will all be better for it.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Wow. What a question...I feel as though I need to ponder it.

Emidy said...

Fantastic post, Aths! There are so many great books out there that aren't well-known at all. When I go to the library, I don't always choose the really popular books (although I do sometimes!). If I see a cool book that I've never heard of, I'll pick it up for sure and blog about it.

Ash said...

This is a really interesting idea. When I started blogging I was really heavy on the fiction, and now I'm going backwards into nonfiction which is really what I like more and it seems like it rarely gets reviewed on book blogs. So maybe I will work on something with that. :)

Tif said...

Great post!! For years, I have always made it goal of mine to read a classic once a year; however, there are still so many other great books out there too! I try to feature some of these on my site thanks to my Literary Locals monthly meme, but it really needs to be done more by everyone!! Way to make me think on this one some more!! :)

Lisa said...

I am constantly adding books to my tbr list--and I'm terrible about doing one of the weekly posts where you spotlight the things that you've found. You've made an excellent point as to why I need to do that more often.

Valerie said...

I read and blog about a mix of books -- "older" titles and newer releases (including those that get a lot of hype.

Every once in a while, I'll read a book that I liked, but then find that it's out of print. I still talk about it anyway -- maybe the author has written other books that are currently in print.

christa @ mental foodie said...

That's a very good question. I don't know if I have the energy to commit to a regular feature (I tried doing Booking Through Thursday every week and miserably fail...). I am trying hard to review every book I read and so far, after 6 months of blogging, I have stuck to it. But anything on top of it seems a bit too much work (you'll notice the lack of regular memes on my blog).

When I read blog reviews, and when appropriate, I'll recommend some books (related to the reviews) in my comments.

It's hard to push non-fiction books when most prefer reading fiction tho! :)