It came to my attention that I have been neglecting those of you who who have absolutely no desire to learn about ereaders so today I promise this is the last you will hear about them from me. Today instead I thought I would share two articles about reading and how it can effect your social life.
If you belong to a book club you may be happy to learn that and an an increasing number of authors are jobbing their way around various book clubs to discuss, with their readers, what they thought of the novel. I think it might take away from the whole book club process if you bring the author in right away but after a discussion about the book, getting to actually ask the author questions about the text could be a really neat experience, and a good reason to read and coming authors.
There is a thing authors do, nervously, when they think no one is looking. They check out their numbers—online sales figures, ratings, rankings, reader reviews. Not long ago, Joshua Henkin, a professor of creative writing at Sarah Lawrence and Brooklyn College, was doing just such a thing in his home office. He was scrolling through Goodreads.com, monitoring the reception of his new novel, Matrimony. A user named Shelley had given him a mixed review—three stars out of five. Henkin clicked on her name and decided to email her, offering to attend her book club, if she had one. She did—that very evening—and, after several exchanges, Henkin was set to call into it.
And then moving from from friends recommending a good book, to books recommending a good friend. LibraryThing.com and the aforementioned Goodreads.com have shown that this works pretty well but The Guardian thinks that relationships based on books should stay at the friend level. The British paper takes a pot shot, in a fairly amusing article, at Boarders launching its dating service for bibliophiles suggesting that looking for love based on reading tastes can only lead to heartache.
And before things started to go publicly, horribly, harrowingly wrong, imagine how dull a couple who were both into the same books would be. You might just about put up with your friend's constant evangelising about Patricia Cornwell, but what if she turned up with a new beau who spouted the same hero-worship? And what if our couple were to take the plunge and move in together? Does any home really need two copies of everything on their bookshelf? Whose editions get sent to the charity shop?