One of the things I said I would do in this blog is talk about how I find the books that I read. I propose to do this in 26 blog posts each featuring a letter of the alphabet. Why? Because it gives me a theme for the next few weeks and that just makes writing posts easier to do for me.
Today’s post is brought to you by the letter
A is for Author. I often read all the books by a particular author. Once I’ve decided that I like author X, I look for books by author X at used bookstores or in the library. If I really really like author X, I’ll watch for new books they write and procure them as quickly as I can. Other times I know that author X is a reliable source of a certain kind of reading material and thus I go to that author’s work when I’m in the mood for that kind of material. This is all very vague and needs some specificity.
Let’s say A is for Atwood. I enjoy Margaret Atwood’s novels and her essays very much. I found that I don’t enjoy her novels written prior to The Handmaid’s Tale as much as I like her more recent material, so I ignore those. I tend to keep an eye out for the latest Atwood as I think I’ve read all her fiction written since The Handmaid’s Tale — oh wait except for Alias Grace. There is a new book of essays (on science fiction and speculative fiction) that I have not yet read and would like to acquire. I’ve squinted at a copy in a local bookshop a couple of times, but my To Be Read pile is teetering over and I’m not sure I’m in the right space to read that book just at this moment. I may be soon, though, and then I know where to look!
A could also stand for Atkinson, as in Kate Atkinson. I had lunch with one friend and coffee with another in the past two days and they both have read an Atkinson book recently. The Street Pastor borrowed Atkinson from her father over Christmas. The Restless Teacher read one Atkinson from the library and bought the latest one on her recent vacation. She is going to lend me Started Early, Took My Dog and I’m very pleased about that as SE,TMD is high on my mental To Read list.
Atwood and Atkinson are both authors I quite enjoy, but they write vastly different material. Atkinson writes quirky and dark mysteries and literary novels. Atwood writes quirky and dark speculative fiction and literary novels. Hmm, that makes them sound rather similar. Their particular kind of quirkiness is different. I haven’t heard anyone start out by describing Atwood’s work as odd. Lots of people I know start out by describing Atkinson’s work as odd. I need to be in a particular headspace for both Atwood and Atkinson, but it is a different headspace for each.
I went off to my favourite website for keeping track of what books which author has written and made the happy discovery that Atkinson and Atwood have both contributed a short story to the same collection, Crimespotting. This book has been added to my mental “To Find” list. It also features another author I like, Ian Rankin. Library website, here I come.