Sunday, December 6, 2009
I Love Libraries
Ever since I’ve been a kid, I’ve loved books. I remember going to the local library and taking out stacks of books. The building, the quiet, and all those books. I would have taken out all the books, if I could. I still would.
Nothing has changed since that long-ago time. In whatever town I’ve moved to, the first thing I did was get a library card. I’ve read lots of things. I’ve always liked fiction (real life is such a drag), but I read some non-fiction, too, mainly science books. As for the fiction, I read science fiction and fantasy for a while before I turned to romance.
The first romances I read were by Barbara Cartland. I loved her books. She introduced me to historicals, and I found my home in the past. Ms. Cartland wrote in several eras and I loved all her stories, but most of her novels were set in the Regency.
When I finally overdosed on Barbara Cartland (she wrote hundreds of books), I investigated other Regency authors. One of the first I found, and one who remains one of the best, is Mary Balogh. She’s still a superstar. Then there are the other stars--Mary Jo Putney and Loretta Chase.
My tastes have branched out in the past few years. I always read these three authors, but about five years ago, I went on a romance reading binge. I went to the library twice a week. I tried out author after author. Some I liked then and still like, some I’ve tired of.
Libraries are great places to vet romances. Like everyone else, I have limited time and money, and don’t want to waste either on books I don’t like. I just recently bought a loser based on the blurb and interview. Great blurbs and interviews can hide a clunker.
Here’s my system, starting at the bottom:
Level 5--After reading a few pages at the library, I decide the book isn't to my taste and return it to the shelves.
Level 4--These books' back cover blurb and excerpt interest me, so I took them home. But I didn’t like them and didn’t finish them. Back to the library.
Level 3--Books I finished but shouldn't have. I just read one like this. The novel was all right, but I’ll never read another one by that author. New author. Hey, you gotta give 'em a try.
Level 2--I'll read this author again, but only the library copy.
Level 1--How wonderful to find a Level One. With these books, I read a few pages and run to the bookstore to buy my own copy and the author’s backlist. Some Regency finds in this category are Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie and Nicola Cornick. Authors like these are the ones who make me glad I suffered through those clunkers.
Now, when I was living at the library, I didn’t know e-books existed. So how to vet them? My system won’t work with e-books because my library has only a few e-book novels. I’m sorry they don’t have more. There are tons of great books available in e-format only, mine included (Shameless Promotion here).
So, for e-books, I read blurbs and excerpts. But e-books are the future, and when my library catches up, I'll be there online, again finding new authors and books.
Thank you all,