Thursday, June 17, 2010

Now and Then

Do you prefer reading current books? Or older ones? Or outright old ones?

Well, no, no, and no.

I really have no preference when it comes to the publication dates of the books I read. For me, it seems to be more an issue of what is available, or what mood I’m in, each time I feel like starting a new book. I do read a lot of brand new books, as indicated by the fact that I’ve already read 41 of the books published during the first half of 2010. But in past years, it has sometimes been the other way around, with me reading more books from past decades than from the current year.

And I’ve just rediscovered the joy of unearthing old titles that seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth. I used to find this kind of book by searching the dusty shelves of used-book stores. Now I find them on the internet. The net, in conjunction with the Sony Store and my Sony Reader, has made it possible for me to find old books ranging from pulp fiction to hardcore noir detective novels, Civil War memoirs written by the war’s survivors, biographies written by those who actually knew the historical figures they wrote about, histories, and some of the greatest classic novels ever written. I’ve downloaded about two dozen books (with an almost limitless number to follow, I hope) and I plan to highlight them here on Book Chase as I finish them. It’s almost like finding buried treasure that you didn’t even know was missing.

I really need to start dipping into the classics again, too, but that might not happen until next year because of the quality of the review copies I’ve been receiving in the last few months. Even though I am more selective than ever about the review copies I accept, I am finding more and more quality stuff than ever before, and I’m discovering more new (to me) writers than any year in recent memory. That is hugely encouraging to a book freak like me.

So, no, year of publication is not important to me. I just need to read faster and longer. Yep, that’s the ticket.


  1. Unlike most contemporary kitsch and entertainment, Art doesn't age.

    Older books get my vote because you can sometimes find interesting anecdotes or thoughts.

    For example, I just finished Barbara Walters 40 year old paperback called How to Talk With Practically Anybody About Practically Anything and came across a story about Jayne Mansfield (Ms. Wardrobe Malfunction BEFORE Janet Jackson).

    Apparently, Ms. Mansfield used to give fans hot water bottles contoured like herself.

    Mildly interesting. But what clinches it is when Barbara Walters says she doesn't think the same would work for Mia Farrow.

    Gossip I would never have known without the joy of old books.

  2. I don't have a preference either. I read a lot of new books because of ARCs and the fact that I visit the "new book" shelf at the library.

    I browse through the stacks at the library and pull what catches my attention, look for recommendations from bloggers, etc.

    I've also used online sources for books that are now out of print.

    :) "faster and longer" oh, yes!