I am vermisched (my Yiddish for confused). I have been pondering over my comments about “The Golden House” by Sir Salman Rushdie for days. And I am still pondering them because I would like my words to resonate (seriously). As I opened the Sunday Times (NYT) and aimed for the Book Review – I saw they were reviewing it too. Granted, more folks will read that review than my comments, but I dare not let myself be influenced by a word in the Times. And I am not ready to write about “The Golden House” today. So while Sir Salman – to me at least – is back again. I must ponder a tad more and resist the NYT until I am ready to write. Feel cheated? Me too?
It seems there are rules on many book blogs – do’s and don’ts. Mine are simple. I read – anything and everything.
Use – your local library. I began a few years back after a hiatus and I simply love the online request page. the hold notifications and it’s all FREE. As much as I would love to do it – I cannot buy every book I like. This is a perfect solution. A library card is like a charge cared with no bill, no limit and no effort. I use the LAPL (Los Angeles) and the COLA (Los Angeles County). I love Goodreads.
Amazon is a money-saving way to buy books. I buy many hard to find books on their site. But Amazon is not the only online source of books. Go online and Google “Books” and you will find zillions. Shop at local, small booksellers. Support them. Book Soup in West Hollywood is our best and most well established shop near me. Signings, every kind of book and a long time favorite on Sunset Strip. Arcana for art books in the Culver City Helms Bakery location is art books and they are well-informed about their inventory. I have been a long time fan of theirs. I buy books at thrift stores. Some are on the cheap, others have more pretensions, but we have many in L.A. and I love them. Book sales at libraries and yard sales and book fairs are wonderful. I have a habit of buying books for local friends and this makes the shopping even better. And book sales have children’s books a gogo. Some I buy for friend’s kids; others I buy for the illustrations and sometimes it is hard to decide who stays and who goes.
Review copies. I consider them gifts from authors and publishers. I have requested some, but I do not automatically expect them. Because I am not an E/reader, I prefer ARC’s and galleys; paperback, hardcover – no preference there . And occasionally I will ask for one – usually I contact the author first. Sending review copies costs money so I am very specific (see below) about the subjects I like. I do not promise anything in return . If the books is really a dog – and they do exist – I dig for its virtues and inform the PR person or the author why I cannot praise it. Usually it is about bad editing or writing style. Surprisingly this has not happened often. I directed my concerns to the authors and tried to discuss it. I suggest this. And I did what I could and we all were happy.
Here is the dreaded genre list:
India. Fiction, non-fiction and especially Bombay. And especially pre-Partition.This extends to authors who are Indo-another country. emigres, second/third generation or relocated out of India. India
Crime. And lately I have been reading foreign crime writers and seeing new views of the same old problems. Finnish, Israeli, Saudi, India, Australia, NZ, the Scandanoirs. Noir in general and I do love Paris and London. The usual suspects in America thriller writing; the gory details do not bother me. I am quite in love with Peter Corris – the best Aussie crime writer ever and his character, Cliff Hardy. I love Cliff.
Magic Realism. It began with 100 Years of Solitude in the early 80’s and then I read many, many more South American writers. Gregory Rabassas was the best translator (RIP) and I covered the continent. It was no stretch to become besotted with India years later. Blame Sir Salman – anyone fatwaed is the guy for me. I LOVED Midnight’s Children, but even more I ADORED The Moor’s Last Sigh (and many more that I’ll discuss betimes). I have a 500+ Indian only library at home. My first entry into Bombay was Thrity Umrigar – Bombay Time was the title and she never stops being a brilliant storyteller, a pen pal and a favorite. (I love Parsi writers.) And Gina Nahai – – the wonderful, local and much treasured writer of Iranian novels that simply are perfect and make me laugh out loud – I know her friends and relations by proximity in Los Angeles. She is a genius of her subject. The entire geographic area she covers has much in common with people I know well.Non-Fiction. Too many subjects to mention now. Genetics, cats, Food history, Religion, especially Judaism, history, geography, science + tech. Want more? Ask.
Happy to receive any review copies . But…if I like something – I will absolutely mention it no matter what.
And that’s enough. Just finished The Golden House by Sir Salman and am approaching my comments with much thought. Gobsmacked.
Welcome to Books – A Revue*. Not an ordinary book review site – but books I have loved or plan to read because I love the subject, the author, the contents.
Look for many titles and many subjects. I read damn near everything. Find enthusiastic recommendations and what I love about the book itself. I have discovered that all writers have information to share that is good to learn.
I am a member of GOODREADS and enjoy it. Check it out.
I do not negative sell. Panning a book is a personal judgement and hardly means a book isn’t good or readable. If I don’t like a book. I stop reading it. I might say it was not for me or use the term “pass”; but careers are lost on a bad review. That’s not a risk I will take because I am not qualified to be a one person judge and jury. That kind of judge and jury is easily bought.
I do not do plot summaries. You can find a plot summary on Amazon, the book cover flap, the publisher’s website, Publisher’s Weekly or the on line public library (mine is the Los Angeles Public Library). Check those if you are not familiar with the title or author. I am not going to retell the story. I will tell you the title and the author.
I welcome comments and suggestions; readers, writers, authors, publishers are all welcome to this blog. I am a fan of many authors and many countries. I read in English. I have been doing this since I was about 4 and read Dick and Jane in one sitting. And I write. I still have my first (and only) completed novel manuscript from middle school. It was filthy – and verbose and I am afraid to reread it now. But I have it.
In the main, I write non-fiction and I am published. I am willing to read any question, but may not answer it and if I do, you may not love the answer. For exceedingly stupid questions I suggest QUORA.com – where I am often asked and do answer queries. (hint: rarely am I asked about books on Quora).
I hope you will enjoy this blog and make suggestions – no chick lit though and no cookie, muffin, pot roast or other food mysteries. I do worry about the new trend of author series – but I read them if I like the writer. I have come to realize that the media creates literary fame – not readers of books. I wish I didn’t realize that. And I have liked books from the James Patterson Guild of Scribes – but I think they should have their own bestseller list.
*This a Revue – and because I could not locate my regular dictionary, I looked in my Le Robert Micro (French it is and blatant brag – I am not a Francophone however)) Essentially a revue can be complicated and on stage and usually musical, but it is also an inventory. So this is my inventory in progress.
This is the post excerpt.