Something New in September -- Helpful Hints

Somehow, the Powers that Be decided that September = Something New in our book reading ventures.  (Yes, I am being silly.  But still, it's a great idea, so let's have some fun together as we try this little experiment).

Here are some helpful hints on finding your Something New to read.

 1.  Try a Different Genre

My first love was Nancy Drew.   Then came A Wrinkle in Time.  Then came historical fiction (Angelique got me started; yes, I raided Mom's bookshelf).  Then came the love of the classics, which didn't really start until I became an English major, despite the fact that my high school classmates did all get mad at me for actually reading Moby Dick and breaking the curve (Curses to Melville)!  

So I guess you could call me a Mystery, Fantasy, History, Classics lover, and you'd be right.

But now I will read anything, because I have never been afraid to pick up something that someone else loves and because book club has helped me stray off my beaten path.  So if you tend to stick to one or two genres, ask around and read a different genre.  You may find that Something New to satisfy your reading soul.

2.  Read a New Author

Do you tend to read the same author?  I know I have my favorites.  I will download a Tana French novel on the day it is published (pulp Irish detective noir at its best) and I always buy signed Diana Gabaldon books through The Poisoned Pen.   It is so great to know what you are getting, but it is also sad to miss the chance to find a great new writer to love.  So while looking for that Something New this month, try expanding not just to an author you haven't read before, but try a brand new author.  Someone who has just published their first book.  New authors make the World Go 'Round, I'm quite sure, but only if we bother to read them.

Also, consider trying more diversity in your authors.  Think about your author list.  Are they of the same ethnicity? If so, branch out.

3.  Try a New Venue

No, I don't mean move to a new comfy spot, although this is great, too.  I mean change your purchasing or borrowing perspective.  Have you overloaded your eReader lately?  Should you have bought stock in Amazon, but didn't?  Then go back to the local bookstore and try buying a new book. Or, rediscover the Library! The opportunities there are so vast that I have another blog posting soon about all those story venues. I'm sure that something about this change will make you feel like a kid in the candy store, all over again.

4.  Encounter that Story in a New Format

Take venue change one step further and change the type of reading encounter you are used to experiencing.  In other words, if you like reading books, try listening to an audiobook, you'll experience the story in a whole new way.  If you like eReaders, try a hardback or a paperback.  And, if you are a Real Book TeeTotaler, well *GASP* it will probably be alright if you try an eBook.  Think of it this way: if you just can't consider changing genres or authors, you can keep them and just read them with a different tool in your hand, and with an eReader you can highlight and make notes and look up words, right on the spot.  It will be so much fun, but more importantly, you will challenge your brain with Something New.

5.  Pay attention to the Publisher

Consider this -- do you possibly stick with just the big publishers?  Maybe you should try Going Rogue.   There are a great number of other publishers out there, including the Indies (Independent Publishers) and the Self Publishers.  So many good books are brought to us from lesser known publishers, but they won't continue to be here if we don't break out of herd mentality and explore.   

6.  Go Back and Try a CLASSIC

I know, I know, I'm a dreaded English Major.  I get my kicks from the classics, I really do.  BUT, if you tend to stay away from these things as if they are a four-letter word, you are missing out.  It is a good goal to try to read a classic at least once a year, or barring that, once a blue moon.  Classics generally deal with subject matters that make us uncomfortable, and worse, they tend to be long.  However, the reason they are still being read even though they weren't written this year is because they deal with the human experience in such a way that people return to them, talk about them, and keep them alive.  They also help you see what Good Writing is All About.  So, please, just try this one out.  It won't take much of your life, and you'll be able to brag to someone in the near future about what you just read, I guarantee it.  You will feel -- and be -- accomplished.  

7.  Try a List or a New Reading Group

Granted, this will probably help you kick #6 out, too, but if you are stuck on just one list, such as the New York Times Best Seller list, then why don't you choose a book that is on a different list, or that is proffered by a different reading group?  I like to periodically go check those Top 100  Books to Read Lists, or Laura Bush's Favorite Reading List, or the Bas Bleu catalogue, or the Princeton Book Review, or DukeReads, or The Poisoned Pen Lists, etc. etc.  The reason for checking books from these lists is because now days there are SO MANY books to choose from and I don't like wasting my time or money on a book that isn't satisfying.  And let's face it, just because a book is on the New York Times list doesn't mean it is a good, satisfying book.  So experiment, and you might find that special Something New!

8.  Join a Book Club

It isn't that hard to join a book club or even form a new one.  Most of the time, you can just ask your friend who is always reading about whether they know of a book club.  Now, granted, it may be more difficult to find a book club that you gel with, so just experiment.  In the meantime, you can join book clubs that interest you on Goodreads -- we even have a Red River Valley Reader's Club that we have started, because its fun to see what people around here are reading.  I saw an interesting poll on Goodreads the other day that most people who are involved in book clubs are members through this virtual membership venue, and so long as the venue is inspiring you to read Something New, and you are getting to participate in an active discussion about that book, I think this is just great.

 I hope these Hints help you make this 
September = Something New in your reading.  
Happy Hunting!


Ro Huizinga said…
I love lists! I really love this one. All great tips. I'm with you. I love classics. Jane Eyre is my favorite novel of all time, and if society degrades Fahrenheit 451 style, that's the one I'm memorizing.
Sydney Young said…

Thank you Robin! And such good books! Here are some fun quotes from Fahrenheit 451:

Funny -- “I'm seventeen and I'm crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Powerful -- “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there.

It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

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