What's important in a book?

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What's important in a book?

1Tess_W
Lug 10, 2021, 4:12am

When you go to select your next read, is is well thought out and researched or haphazard? What is important to you as you search for your next read? Story? Author's nationality/country of origin? Author's sexual identification, gender identification?

2vwinsloe
Modificato: Lug 10, 2021, 9:25am

>1 Tess_W:. That IS a good question. I read this article yesterday which suggests that there is a lot of conscious or unconscious bias involved in book selection.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/jul/09/why-do-so-few-men-read-books-by-wo...

My selection of books generally trends in a rotation of literary fiction, science fiction and nonfiction. But the books that I acquire are all from second hand shops and library sales carts, so I don't usually get the most currently published books, and the books that I do buy are usually somewhere on my very long wish list. Books get on my wish list by personal recommendations, award winners and books that are widely discussed. I like the LibraryThing lists of best books read in a particular year, too.

I have rather large TBR shelves, and I pick books from them in my usual genre rotation. Often by size!

3lilithcat
Modificato: Lug 10, 2021, 6:16pm

>1 Tess_W:

When you go to select your next read, is is well thought out and researched or haphazard?

It varies. Sometimes I just grab a book off the shelf, and the choice will depend on my mood. Other times, I've read a review, or noticed a book while browsing in a bookstore, and thought, "Hey! That sounds interesting!" My current reads, with one exception, are of the latter variety. The exception is a book I'm reading for a book club.

Then there are the rabbit holes. Last year, I did an online course on Ashkenazi cooking, which led me to books by one of the instructors, Michael Twitty, and I ended up reading a bunch of books about Jewish food in the south, and Sephardic cooking, which led to several books about conversos, etc., etc. Same thing happened with a course about Lampedusa; I found myself tracking down his memoirs and letters.

I will also often decide what to read based on what's due at the library and whether other people have holds on it.

Author's nationality/country of origin? Author's sexual identification, gender identification?

Those are pretty much irrelevant to my choices. What does matter, in non-fiction, anyway, are the author's bona fides. What's her background in the subject, does she know what she's talking about?

4TempleCat
Lug 10, 2021, 8:33pm

>1 Tess_W: Unless I’m working on a particular project where topic/author/translator/edition are important considerations, the two factors most affecting my next reading selection are mood and curiosity, each Gordian knots in their own right! Your question prompted an hour of introspection, but I think those knots are just going to have to remain tangled. I was lucky to distill mood and curiosity out (not to mix metaphors, but my reading habits include everything from soup to knots!)

5Tess_W
Lug 11, 2021, 2:03am

My book selections are based primarily on interest. I never choose a book based on gender, race, or sexual orientation--in fact, when those qualifications are stipulated on group reads, etc, I decline to participate.

>3 lilithcat: I also go down rabbit holes. When I started reading the Outlander series, I knew nothing about the Jacobite Rebellion. the Battle of Culloden, or Bonnie Prince Charlie. However, I found books on both and spent the next 6 months on a real study of mid 18th century Scottish history! I don't know about you, but I tend to love my journeys through rabbit holes--they are serendipitous!

6lilithcat
Lug 11, 2021, 9:06am

>5 Tess_W:

I don't know about you, but I tend to love my journeys through rabbit holes--they are serendipitous!

Oh, I do love them! I learn so much. Many times they're not just rabbit holes, they're rabbit warrens, branching off in all kinds of unforeseen directions.

7vwinsloe
Lug 11, 2021, 9:15am

>5 Tess_W:. "I never choose a book based on gender, race, or sexual orientation--in fact, when those qualifications are stipulated on group reads, etc, I decline to participate."

I find that strange. I grew up reading books written by white, mostly American, men, and reading things from the same perspective became predictable, boring, and in some cases depressing. I do seek out books now that are written from different perspectives and backgrounds, and I enjoy learning about cultures and points of view that are not my own. There are so many other interesting stories to be told.

8nohrt4me2
Lug 11, 2021, 5:57pm

My book selections fall into three categories:

1. Stuff from "the canon" of Western literature that I feel I should read before I die.

2. Interesting things I read about on here or in various book reviews elsewhere.

3. Things I don't know a lot about but got interested in in the course of reading something from #1 or #2 which I guess is a rabbit hole. Example: I read Aphra Behn's Oroonoko and became interested in the history of Suriname. One of the things I learned is that it has the population of Iceland (about half a million people), but is one of the most ethnically diverse places on earth. Iceland, on the other hand, is one of the least ethnically diverse places on earth (which i learned from reading about Suriname), so then I read some books about Iceland by Alda Sigmundsdottir. I have yet to read any books in translation by Surinamese authors, but I would like to find some.

While I was still teaching, I felt an obligation to "keep up" with contemporary literary fiction and critical theories. but now I just read whatever I want, and am often surprised by what I read: Jose Saramago's Blindness was a revelation. But I also really enjoyed Charlie Huston's pulp vampire Joe Pitt series.

"I never choose a book based on gender, race, or sexual orientation--in fact, when those qualifications are stipulated on group reads, etc, I decline to participate." So you'd deny yourself the chance of reading something really good just because your book group says, "Let's read a lesbian (African-American, woman) author"? Sounds kinda self-limiting to me, but, certainly your choice.

9terriks
Lug 11, 2021, 9:42pm

Great discussion! It's something that I actually do consider, mainly to avoid reading too much from the same genre.

Like others above, I rotate between genres but also like to just grab from the shelf at random. This is burning me a little atm, since I grabbed The Sound and the Fury, and have since had to go down an unexpected rabbit hole just to get clarity on it. Ugh!

But - I agree with staying totally open to all writers. Part of the reason I picked up Faulkner is that I recently finished Passing by Nella Larsen, a black woman, in the late 1920s. I realized I was suddenly intrigued by the inevitable differences in perspectives from these writers from the same decade, so just went with it.

I guess this is a deliberate choosing of a book, only somewhat at random, because of gender and race.

Too bad I'm holding my nose through most of Faulkner right now. 😆

10nohrt4me2
Lug 11, 2021, 11:31pm

>9 terriks: I really liked Nella Larsen's book. Had never heard of it but ran across Passing after reading The Hemingses of Monticello, which looked at the issue of "passing" from an African-American perspective.

I like Faulkner, but too much of any of those Southern gothics at one time, especially in the summer heat, can get oppressive! Had a similar experience with Flannery O'Connor.

11lilithcat
Lug 11, 2021, 11:47pm

>10 nohrt4me2:

Had never heard of it but ran across Passing after reading The Hemingses of Monticello, which looked at the issue of "passing" from an African-American perspective.

If you want further reading on the subject, let me recommend An illuminated life : Belle da Costa Greene's journey from prejudice to privilege, by Heidi Ardizzone and Passing strange : a Gilded Age tale of love and deception across the color line, by Martha A. Sandweiss. The latter is particularly interesting, as it is about a white man who passed as black.

My reviews:

https://www.librarything.com/work/1109285/reviews/46226103
https://www.librarything.com/work/6344266/reviews/46225955

12terriks
Lug 12, 2021, 12:33pm

>10 nohrt4me2: Totally agree with the Southern Gothic genre, it can become oppressive quickly. I've been interested in Flannery O'Connor, but unsure where to start. I've found it interesting that Alice Walker holds her in high regard, and writes of their Georgia connection in her volume In Search of Our Mother's Gardens.

After I finish slogging through this novel, I don't know what I'll choose next, but likely not more Southern Gothic. 😅

13Tess_W
Modificato: Lug 12, 2021, 11:13pm

>7 vwinsloe: Oh I love books about and from other cultures; in fact, that is the bulk of my reading. That being said, would I hire someone based on gender or sexual orientation? I think not, therefore I refuse to choose an author based on that "qualification." Do we have a qualification for "heterosexual", "male", etc., when choosing group reads? When I go to select a book to read, I choose based on the story and/or the recommendations of others. I research/read about the author later; unless of course, it's someone famous that I already know about or I've already read.

14vwinsloe
Modificato: Lug 13, 2021, 9:41am

>13 Tess_W:. Personally, I think that it is important that the author be from the culture that they are writing about, for two reasons: (1) it is more authentic, and (2) for far too long, their stories have been appropriated by authors who are not from that cultural background.

Take for example the controversy about the book American Dirt. Not only has it been criticized as inauthentic, but there are other books out there written by Latin American immigrants who cannot break into the publishing industry ostensibly because it is believed that they will not reach a wide enough audience.

This is the same sort of Catch-22 that has women authors still using their first initials to disguise their sex as documented in the article that I posted at >2 vwinsloe: above.

I guess all I can say is that I have hired people because of their gender and sexual orientation when there was more than one qualified candidate for the job. And when I want to read a novel about the African American experience, I am reaching out for Colson Whitehead or Jesmyn Ward and not Kathryn Stockett.

Unless we make conscious decisions on how we base our selections, then we will make those decisions based on our unconscious, implicit biases. We tend to seek out what is comfortable and familiar--it's just human nature.

15lilithcat
Lug 13, 2021, 9:39am

>14 vwinsloe:

I have hired people because of their gender and sexual orientation when there was more than one qualified candidate for the job.

In most places in the U.S., that's illegal, unless gender or sexual orientation is a BFOQ.

16vwinsloe
Modificato: Lug 13, 2021, 9:44am

>15 lilithcat: Lol, I'm a lawyer. How do you select among a pool of qualified candidates? Roll dice?

I like to hire people who will bring different perspectives and who can relate to diverse clientele.

17lilithcat
Modificato: Lug 13, 2021, 9:58am

>16 vwinsloe:

So am I. And the fact is that no two candidates will ever have exactly the same qualifications.

Your comment reminds me of all the tech companies that want people who "fit into the company culture" - that culture being young, white, and male.

18nohrt4me2
Modificato: Lug 13, 2021, 10:46am

>14 vwinsloe: Personally, I think that it is important that the author be from the culture that they are writing about.

I get what you're saying, and the publishing industry and its profit-motivated machinations are a whole other discussion.

But I see a middle way between you and >13 Tess_W:

Certainly reading about "passing" from Nella Larsen's POV is far different from reading about it from Philip Roth's (in The Human Stain). One story is certainly more "authentic" (though I hate that word), in that it comes from lived experience. But both are worthwhile books.

And what about someone like Pearl S. Buck or James Clavell, who write about Asian cultures as what we might call "informed outsiders"? I would never have known about the Chinese Jews had I not read Peony. And I would not have been led to the diary of Lady Murasaki without having read Shogun.

I think there is a danger of imposing ethnic purity tests on writers with glib claims of "appropriation." The reality is that we live in a world where migration is making it increasingly common for people to find themselves living in cultures very different from the ones they grew up in.

I think thoughtful readers try to reflect on a book after reading it, and a legitimate question is how the writer synthesizes cultural info. You can only do this if you read widely--and purposely include works by cultural "insiders." Rita Mae Brown's High Hearts fell apart for me on re-reading because of the superficial way she depicted enslaved women as the loyal friends of their white mistresses.

19vwinsloe
Lug 13, 2021, 10:05am

>17 lilithcat:. That's true, but there are advertised and posted qualifications for a job, and if they meet those qualifications, then the hiring manager certainly looks at what other attributes that the candidate might bring. Obviously, it is illegal to discriminate against protected classes. In my state, LGBTQ folks and women are in protected classes.

And, yes, I was on a hiring committee years ago, and was surprised to see that in a pool of job candidates who met the posted qualifications, hiring managers tended to think the best candidate for the job was someone who was the most like them in background: race, sex, socio-economic status, birth city, etc. It was quite remarkable. Implicit bias at work.

20vwinsloe
Lug 13, 2021, 10:09am

>18 nohrt4me2:. Yes, I am not saying that the author's identity be the "only" reason for selecting a book. But it is a strong consideration, and certainly the opposite approach, to read "only" books written by someone like ourselves, is to be avoided. Sometimes a conscious effort is required to avoid it.

21Tess_W
Lug 14, 2021, 6:34am

>14 vwinsloe: I would agree that to get "authentic" culture, it does HELP to be from that culture, but not always a prerequisite. For example, Pearl S. Buck's, The Good Earth.

As to hiring people based on gender or sexual identification, I'm astounded-unless of course, if for example, a midwife--pretty good idea, to make other women feel comfortable, that the person be female. I will continue to select my reads based on probable enjoyment (entertainment) and qualifications (non-fiction) but never ever on gender or sexual identification or even race (unless of course I want to read about slavery, etc.) I will continue to avoid challenges that require the selection based on gender or sexual identification.

22nohrt4me2
Lug 14, 2021, 9:31am

>21 Tess_W: Your reading choices are your own business, of course. But I can't help thinking you are trying to make some kind of ethical point that escapes me.

And just to play friendly Devil's Advocate: "As to hiring people based on gender or sexual identification, I'm astounded-unless of course, if for example, a midwife--pretty good idea, to make other women feel comfortable, that the person be female."

So if hiring whites makes other whites feel more comfortable ...?

23vwinsloe
Modificato: Lug 14, 2021, 10:08am

>21 Tess_W:. I am not Chinese, and it has been a very long time since I read The Good Earth so it is impossible for me to say whether it is authentic or biased. I guess that's one question, how do you know? I've read just about everything written by Lisa See and Amy Tan and although American, they are from a Chinese cultural background, and probably more trustworthy. Again, not always a prerequisite, but helpful because you don't know what you don't know, right?

As for hiring people based on gender or sexual orientation, I look at it this way. White straight males have been hired based on their gender and sexual orientation for centuries. I think we've missed out on a huge pool of talent and different perspectives as a result of that. The same with authors-- if we just stay in our comfort zone, we miss out.

24John5918
Lug 14, 2021, 12:44pm

>21 Tess_W: a midwife--pretty good idea, to make other women feel comfortable, that the person be female

It always surprises me how many of the midwives in South Sudan, not a country noted for gender sensitivity, are male.

25perennialreader
Lug 14, 2021, 1:26pm

>24 John5918: Hmm, good point. It just occurred to me that both my children were delivered by a male doctor and no one thought anything about it in the 1980's.

26WholeHouseLibrary
Lug 14, 2021, 3:02pm

I'm #5 of ten siblings, and born in the early 1950s. All of us were delivered by the same male OB/GYN. I kind of suspect that there weren't all that many female doctors back then. After I graduated high school, I worked for a few years to pay for my college tuition. In my first job, I worked with the son of that doctor.
My two older sons had a female OB/GYN, very calm, thoughtful; in New Jersey. The oldest was a Frank breech, therefore born by C-section. The doctor assured us that it didn't mean all the rest would be. And true to her word, a year and a half later, Son #2 was a VBAC.
Our third ... we had the same doctor until the last six weeks. We moved to Texas (long story.) Got a recommendation from a Texas-born wife of a friend whom I had known in NJ. Well, they hadn't had any kids. Turns out this (male) doctor was a misogynist. I suspect that was what he got his MD in.
Despite having all the records from the doctor in NJ, he insisted on a battery of tests; tried to keep me out of the delivery room; told my wife she needed a C-section; and when he couldn't give a good reason why, I told him to leave and get find a competent staff doctor to replace him. He did, but came back one more time and spiked the IV tube with a shot of Pitocin.
Reported; they suspended his license to practice for (I don't recall how long.)
It came to light that almost all of his patients had a cesarean.

My wife didn't go to an OB/GYN again for several years. This time, with recommendations from friends, she chose a female. The OV consisted of the usual baseline tests (height, weight, blood pressure) and filling out a form with her medical history -- mostly the births, nothing else to speak of -- and then immediately in to see the doctor, who was handed the paperwork. After a momentary glance at it, she set it aside and told my wife she needed a hysterectomy. My wife got up and left. She did her own research and found a very good (female) OB/GYN, and may possibly be still seeing her today. I don't know; I divorced her over twenty years ago. Curiously, my second wife used this same doctor and was very pleased with her.

One has to look at more than a doctor's sheepskins to determine whether they are a good fit for oneself.

27Tess_W
Lug 14, 2021, 10:26pm

>23 vwinsloe: As to The Good Earth Ms. Buck and her parents were missionaries for years to China, so they weren't Chinese, but I would think they have a good perspective. As to Tan and See, I've read them also, but prefer the more historical take that I've found in Buck's work.

Both of my sons were delivered by males, no problems. The intent of my original statement was that MOST midwives are female, at least in the US/UK. That I believe, is because women feel more comfortable....just a guess! That is why when my ob/gyn retired, I looked for a female. That is also why on the police force, there is at least 1 female on the rape squad so that women may be more forthcoming with information (in my city).

28vwinsloe
Lug 15, 2021, 7:09am

>27 Tess_W:. I'm not sure that I trust the missionary point of view on anything cultural, but I suppose that's just my bias against proselytism. ;)

29John5918
Modificato: Lug 15, 2021, 7:43am

>28 vwinsloe:

Fair comment. One common missionary model is indeed proselytism. However there are other missionary models focusing on intercultural dialogue, in which the missionary gradually becomes embedded in the local culture. Missionaries were also in the forefront of helping to preserve cultures by studying and writing down local languages which had only existed in oral form. While it's true that many missionaries did so mainly to proselytise, others did so out of a deep love for the culture. Charles de Foucauld was a well known example, with the Tuareg culture; closer to home for me was Frans Mol with the Maasai.

30vwinsloe
Lug 15, 2021, 8:25am

>29 John5918:. Yes, I should not paint with such a broad brush. A friend of Garo tribal heritage in India recommended the Garo Jungle Book to me, and that book, written by American missionaries, was the only historical and sociological information available to anyone about that tribe. I found it to be a very non-judgmental, observational account. However, Indian friends of hers criticized her sharply for recommending a book by missionary colonizers.

31booksaplenty1949
Lug 15, 2021, 8:49am

A reason I haven’t seen here yet: I have become quite interested in cover art, especially that of Penguin books, so I often pick up books by authors I’ve never heard of on topics I have no interest in, because the cover was designed by Romek Marber or features a photograph by Harri Peccinotti. And from time to time I actually open one—-especially the mystery stories.

32haydninvienna
Modificato: Lug 15, 2021, 1:48pm

>31 booksaplenty1949: There’s a site that I lurk on called Good Show Sir (https://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/?p=17200#comment-869158 for today’s). Its whole point is mocking the covers of SFF books, and a frequent topic is how a bad cover can hurt the sales of a book—and how a good cover can improve them. Plus, some of the comments are funny.

33booksaplenty1949
Lug 15, 2021, 3:28pm

Thanks for link. You may enjoy this https://lithub.com/50-very-bad-book-covers-for-literary-classics/?fbclid=IwAR1IJ... if not previously seen. I assume these are print on demand covers for books in the public domain, so do not represent a failed marketing strategy, unlike the sci-fi covers. I did read a comment by Edna O’Brien to the effect that the Penguin covers featuring Barry Lategan photos of naked women https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/edna-brien-lot-country-girl-green-1900085... had little to do with her novels’ contents but certainly boosted sales.

34ZoiaEliseyeva
Lug 15, 2021, 4:09pm

What's important in a book?
Leo Tolstoy's character Anna Karenina said, "There are as many opinions as there are heads." (Skolko golov, stolko i mneniy.) What a question! Too general!
One person will read what another person will never ever consider reading. And then there are classics which each time you read them, you will find new things and new points of discussion and thinking. It depends in what age you read them and in what stage of your personal evolution you are at the moment. A person may change his or her attitude to things as (s)he gets older. With that change there will come a different perception of what one is reading. I have read modern interesting authors, but I think that the world classics are endless and bottomless.

35pamelad
Lug 15, 2021, 11:50pm

>34 ZoiaEliseyeva: When you past the thread heading, you see that the question is asking readers what is important to them in choosing their next read. It's interesting to read people's answers.

The first question I ask is, "Do I feel like reading something thought-provoking and intelligent or frothy and mindless?" Each has a place.

36John5918
Lug 16, 2021, 12:03am

>35 pamelad: The first question I ask is, "Do I feel like reading something thought-provoking and intelligent or frothy and mindless?" Each has a place.

Indeed. There are times I just want to read a mindless pulp thriller, especially when I'm travelling and can't concentrate on anything deep and serious. I buy those sort of books at the airport and often give them away when I get to the other end.

37vwinsloe
Lug 17, 2021, 7:14am

>36 John5918: And big long ones for long trips. It always takes me quite a few pages to get into a book, and that can be hard to do with a lot of distractions. To the extent that I sometimes start a book the day before I leave, so that I won't have to start it at the airport or on the plane.

38LyndaInOregon
Lug 17, 2021, 4:36pm

>3 lilithcat: I think I pretty well echo Tess_W's experience and methods! It's all pretty random unless there's a deadline looming or unless I feel a strong craving for a particular genre.

I maintain a wish list on paperbackswap.com, and as those books come in, they get shelved on the farthest end of the TBR shelves. When I'm looking for a new title, I generally grab the three oldest books from the shelf and the three newest ones, sort of shuffle them together, and start reading. Occasionally I'll move them around within that stack if one seems particularly apt for my mood of the moment.

And while I read a wide variety of genres (pretty much everything but spy stories and military tales), shuffling the TBR stack keeps me from reading 6 biographies or 6 thrillers or 6 chick-lits in a row.

39belleek
Lug 23, 2021, 6:58am

> Primarily I chose from the dozens of books in my TBR pile. Unless I am gifted or loaned a book by someone I know, which has happened a lot recently, then I'll read those books first, because it shows the person you appreciate their recommendation and you have someone to discuss the book with. If LT gives me an Early Reviewer book, I make time to read that next. I do have a wishlist on LT that I work off of if I'm in the local library, but I am trying to whittle away my TBR pile first.
My reading would definitely be considered more haphazard, than researched.

40Hope_H
Lug 23, 2021, 11:40pm

My reading is very haphazard and quite dependent on my mood.

That's why I'm not a good book club member.

41JoeB1934
Lug 24, 2021, 2:07pm

I am new to this discussion as I am relatively new to LibraryThing. This question you have posed is central to an exercise I am doing that I call my Reading Journal Essay. I am 87 and have been reading what is generically called 'mysteries' since around 1980. I could list the authors I read, but my main point is that all that time I was looking for a really well-written story with a 'mystery'. Mystery is not equivalent to 'crime', and in fact my most preferred stories often don't have crime at all. Just this year I discovered that what I have been reading are literary-mysteries. This is not a common genre but buried in Goodreads is a list voted on their users for this category. It turned out that I had read 30 of the top rated 50 such books.

I just discovered this week that using tagmash I can find more such books and see how many of my 800 books fit into that category.

Over the last year I have also discovered that books I react well to have links to my childhood, my heritage or my professional life. I have long ago formed the belief that, like fingerprints, no two readers have exactly the same reading profiles. So, I am on the task of tracking my reading over the last 40 years and trying to cover my reading journey so my children, grandchildren, and who knows who else will know about my life.

42Tess_W
Lug 24, 2021, 8:05pm

>41 JoeB1934: That is a grand task, Joe.

43booksaplenty1949
Lug 25, 2021, 2:50pm

Of course no two reading profiles are exactly the same. But the interweb has brought home to me that we are less “unique” than we think, at least if we leave theology aside. I may think that I am the only one in the world interested in all of, say, the Oxford Movement, the photography of Harri Peccinotti, and growing avocados from pits, but a quick look at shared books shows me that this is quite wrong.

44Tess_W
Lug 26, 2021, 11:11pm

>43 booksaplenty1949: I agree and well said!

45booksaplenty1949
Lug 26, 2021, 11:35pm

>44 Tess_W: Well, I rest my case looking over the eclectic mix of the 254 books we have in common. Evangeline I have to admit is in the category of To Read in my collection. My copy is a school text belonging to my late grandmother. What draws you to it?

46JoeB1934
Lug 27, 2021, 5:27pm

>43 booksaplenty1949: When I say no two readers have the same profile I was using as a measure of similarity the stats on members that share certain books. In my case the sharing is usually less than 25 % of my books at a maximum. I am curious as to what fraction of your books are shared by another member. The much larger number of books not shared is what I am looking at as a measure of differences.

47booksaplenty1949
Lug 27, 2021, 8:01pm

Book ownership is complicated. I volunteer with an annual used book sale, and I am always surprised at how many volunteer pricers arrive with the mindset that the saleability of a book depends on whether anyone would want to read it. There are many ways to read a book: take it out of the library, read it on a device, listen to an audiobook. People at a book sale want to own a book. Maybe they also want to read it, maybe they like the cover art, maybe it has sentimental associations, the list goes on. The point is, it’s a collectible object. So we might “share” George Eliot’s novel Romola, but you’re a huge fan, whereas I hate George Eliot but keep the copy I picked up for 25 cents as a pretentious teen-ager who knew that George Eliot was “great literature” because it is illustrated with stills from the silent movie version starring Lillian Gish, in whom I’ve subsequently become interested.

48John5918
Modificato: Lug 28, 2021, 12:20am

>46 JoeB1934:

I can't remember how to check now, but last time I looked about 11% of my books were unique to me, shared by no other LT member. Many of these are old and obscure books on railways and/or Africa, some of which were self-published by the authors or institutions.

49Tess_W
Modificato: Lug 28, 2021, 8:56pm

>48 John5918: You can check it under statistics. 111/4648 are unique just to me.

>47 booksaplenty1949: Oh, I love George Eliot, one of my top 5 authors!

>45 booksaplenty1949: I am drawn to Evangeline for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the hauntingly poetry. Secondly, is the love story of the ages; and I'm not a love story type of gal!

>45 booksaplenty1949: I looked at your library (!) on the "What Should you Borrow" and it suggested Phineas Finn: The Irish Member by Anthony Trollope, one of my fav authors. I haven't begun the Palliser series yet, but have put book one and two on my WL.

50booksaplenty1949
Lug 28, 2021, 9:25pm

>49 Tess_W: I see that I also have 100+ unique “books,” but many are actually print-outs of things on-line, or single chapters in books I have indexed separately. Then there are the obscure offerings by friends or colleagues which duty compelled me to purchase at their book launch. So maybe half that number are books once on offer in bookstores. Still not sure why others have resisted “Ritualism Abandoned, or A Priest Redeemed” or “Young Man in Leather.” https://www.librarything.com/work/23836724

51booksaplenty1949
Lug 28, 2021, 9:31pm

>49 Tess_W: I persist in believing that George Eliot would be a lot less highly regarded if she had been in fact a man named George Eliot, but that is apparently a minority view. Trollope we can agree on.

52pamelad
Lug 28, 2021, 10:07pm

>51 booksaplenty1949: If my grandmother had wheels she'd be a bicycle.

53Tess_W
Lug 28, 2021, 10:12pm

>51 booksaplenty1949: I was never required to read any Eliot in HS or college (3 degrees). I'm almost ashamed to admit that I did not know Eliot was a woman until maybe 25 years ago!