There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day.
Yesterday I received a box, a BIG box, from Amazon (ok, lets not go into any Amazon hate here. I understand many people feel Amazon needs to call a whaaaambulance over the entire Macmillan kerfuffle. I hear you, and I understand. But I love my packages. I need my packages. There is no rush like seeing that box waiting at your door, but I digress). I’d had pretty crummy day, and I was sitting in bed with my head bent over my laptop feigning an attempt at writing. God bless the saint to whom I am married. He came in with a glass of wine in one hand and my box in the other.
“Sweetie, this should brighten your day,” he said as he handed me the box and then the wine. He was right.
Some ladies are addicted to buying shoes or purses. Not me. My addiction is books. I get light-headed and giddy in a bookstore. There is nothing that smells better than a bookstore. The only reason that I enjoy Christmas shopping is that it gives me a legitimate excuse to lose hours, and I mean HOURS, in bookstores. Couple that with the ease of online shopping (Amazon super-saver shipping and its simple challenge to put together an order of $25 or more is my downfall), and it is easy to understand why my fashion style is stuck in 1998, but I am up to date on the most recent paperback releases.
My reading choices are pretty eclectic. I would love to sound all intellectual and rattle off a bunch of literary fiction I’d finished, but I can’t. God would strike me dead with a bolt of lightening for attempting to tell such a whopper. However, with the exception of the books reserved for the smarties of the world, I’ll read just about anything you put in front of me. This always leads to the burning question - what should I read next?
My favorite moment is when I find a new author. I have several “go to” authors that I love, but in trying to fill the time in between releases, I get to go on a treasure hunt. First, I will seek out books by authors I have met.
Meeting an author (and having the chance to get a book signed) is a huge thing for me. I feel more tied to the story and root for the author’s success due to the personal connection. I keep a list of authors I meet at signings and conventions so I can search for their treasures when I am book shopping. This last Christmas, I put together of basket of books from authors I’d met for my mother-in-law. She devoured them. I overheard her telling the ladies in her bridge group, “Oh, you must read this. Heather met the author, you know.” There is something electrifying and contagious about that brush with fame! If you are a published author, and you've met me, you can bet I've bought at least one of your books since then.
Word of mouth is invaluable. I’ve yet to have a friend steer me toward a stinker. But relying on a recommendation feels like cheating. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to read the book you suggested to me. I hop onto too many bandwagons to be left behind. However, the egoist in me likes to be the one to find the diamond in the rough.
The internet is another great resource for finding that hidden treasure of a great book. I’ve found several books I love by following links on my favorite authors’ websites to new worlds. Podcasts have also yielded printed bounty. In the last year, I've probably purchased five or six books written by authors who I heard interviewed on my favorite podcasts.
I can't be alone on my quest. What treasure maps do you use to find your next read?