Picking Out A Winner

water.jpgIt’s funny, isn’t it, how quickly we decide whether a book is worthy of our time. There’s just something in the way the cover looks, in the way the title reads, or in the credibility of the sources who provided blurbs on the back (I confess this one gets me more often than it should). Of course, the author’s name often is enough. If you’re a fan of Philip Roth, say, you just know you’re going to read his latest.

At least I know I have scanned a shelf or table and made judgments on any number of books all in a matter of minutes. (Though maybe that’s because I have such a, well, small mind.)

The best way to get a feel for a book is to hold it in your hand. But you can also get an inkling from short reviews and media reports. After all, few of us have the time to do in-depth studies before we crack each book. On the right hand side of this blog I have placed a number of “Book Notes” links that hopefully serve as tools to help readers decide which books they’d like to consider.

One of the links I like most is Book Sense Picks. These are books, selected monthly, that independent booksellers across the country have decided merit praise. Not all of these titles will win major literary awards, of course, and that’s not the point. The point — yes, sometimes I have one — is that passionate readers have taken time out of their day expressly to recommend novels, nonfiction and children’s books that they think others would benefit from and enjoy.

For example, the No. 1 Book Sense Pick for June is Water for Elephants, a novel by Sara Gruen. Says Hilary Vonckx, bookseller at Queen Anne Books in Seattle: “For her latest novel, Sara Gruen has chosen a wonderfully captivating setting, the gritty and complex life of a 1930s traveling circus. She creates a balance of unforgettable characters and a compelling storyline that engages both imagination and emotion. This is a unique and enjoyable book that will stay with you for a long time.”

Like the River City Books Web site, Book Sense Picks page offers the chance to peruse several titles at once without conducting dozens of searches. And if you find a book you want, you can order through the site (which will direct you to your local Book Sense store) or by calling (507-646-7754) or stopping by River City Books.

It’s so easy that even us bird brains can use it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Book Notes, Recommendations, Reviews

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