Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Salon 6 - Influence

Happy Mother's Day--hope everyone is having a lovely day.

I know I've been kind of a bad blogger lately, but just bare with me and I'll get back to normal sooner or later (ie actually write some reviews!).


One of my favorite things about blogging is how much it has expanded my reading. The books that I've read have always been pretty varied, probably thanks to studying English for seven years in college (both undergrad and grad school), but I'll admit that sometimes I get stuck in a reading rut and run towards the comfort reads. Through blogging, though, I've encountered books and genres I never thought about or didn't even know existed.

In so many ways, bloggers have influenced my reading over the past two years. As I was reading through the comments on that ARC post and how people commented on learning about new books through blogs, I started reflecting on my own lists and bookshelves. I wish that I could give credit where credit is due, but sometimes I don't even remember where I first heard about a book or I heard about it so many different times that it is tough to pinpoint when I finally said, OK, I have to read this book. Just check out one of my shelves below--this is my "read" shelf--and it is running over (well, the cardboard shelf has books that I haven't read yet but don't have room for elsewhere).

Books I have learned about or picked up just because of blogger recommendations (these are all reviewed here, but I'm not linking for time's sake and I'm not sure if people actually even click on links? Except for the top two and the ones that I've read this year, you can find the reviews easily by clicking on my "2008 reads" link on the left sidebar)

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
The World According to Garp - John Irving
The Giver - Lois Lowry
The Book Thief - Mark Zusak
A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah
The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
The Translater - Daoud Hari
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
Matrimony - Joshua Henkin
Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Heretic's Daughter - Kathleen Kent
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
Watchmen - Alan Moore
The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka
The Septembers of Shiraz - Dalia Sofer
Fun Home - Alison Bechdel
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz

Isn't that a great list? And this ONLY includes books that I have read since blogging. Just looking on my desk it doesn't include The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which I recently picked up. Or on my floor The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Murakami and The Light Fantastic by Pratchett. Or on the shelf closest to me Possession, The Inheritance of Loss, The Horseman's Graves, The Tender Bar, The Book of Lost Things, Potato Peel Pie Society, Rebecca--I could go on and on.

I've been reading more fantasy and graphic novels (yes, we can probably all blame the same person--she knows who she is! Oh ok, Nymeth). I've been reading more non-fiction than ever (thanks Joy and the Non-Fiction Five challenge). I've been reading more world literature and prize winners, and have continued to read classics. Really, I wonder what my current reading habits would be if not for blogging. Of course I'd still be reading, but oh the discoveries I would have missed out on! So here's my big thank you for enriching my reading (and my reading for years to come).

This Sunday's Question (as if you couldn't guess!): How has blogging or bloggers influenced your reading? Have you made any new discoveries or picked up any books based on what other bloggers are reading? What's the book floating around right now that you're dying to get your hands on (for me it's Hunger Games)?

And just because I can, a picture of my beautiful little niece Emma. She's becoming quite a chub, but that's just more for me to love. I seriously cannot get enough of this girl.


Diane said...

Your niece is a cutie (you too)! I loved looking at your bookshelves as well.

Amanda said...

Blogging has really pushed up my reading count, and along with my book club, helped me to think of books more critically. I have so many books on my to-read list now it's not even funny, and a great majority of them come from recommendations.

claire said...

Most of the prize winners or authors that have been at least nominated (e.g on your list: The God of Small Things, Snow Country) I would really look up, so that doesn't count as blogging influence. And then the bestsellers (e.g. on your list: The Thirteenth Tale) I would see recommended in bookstores. And then others (e.g. on your list: The World According to Garp) were authors I discovered serendipitously when I was younger.

So.. as for blogging influence, I would say the books that have been added to my wishlist are more the obscure books that are not really being talked about that much elsewhere.

A Month in the Country by JL Carr
The Solitude of Thomas Cave by Georgina Harding
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
The Waiting Years by Fumiko Encho

Btw, your niece is soooo cute! :D

Meghan said...

Blogging has had a HUGE influence on what I read these days! Not only do I get ARCs, most of which I wouldn't be able to afford for a year or two, but my wishlist is longer than ever. There are just so many books that I've read because of bloggers. On my last Amazon order, 3 out of 4 books were directly due to blogging. The 4th one was by an author I'd already liked but I also saw a couple of reviews of it. =)

I also think much more critically about the books I read for my reviews, which I like a lot. Not in the way I did as an English major, but it helps me get my thoughts in order and isolate what I really like.

Violet said...

Awww...she is such a cutie, I could stare at her all day long..

Now onto blogging influences, like you I see myself buying books based on blogger's recommendations since I started blogging and so far I haven't had any bad luck with that.

gautami tripathy said...

Blogging has indeed added a lot to me reading. I have read authors I otherwise would never have picked. I like adding to my TBR pile and exploring new genres!

Vampires, Mages, Demons and a cat with a poem!TSS: Sunday Book Coveting

Nymeth said...

First of all, it really makes me happy to know I've helped you discover books you enjoyed :D

As for the impact blogging had on my reading, it was definitely huge. There are authors I now adore and that I hadn't heard of before blogging - John Green and Lois Lowry just to give you two easy examples.

And I actually read more things other than fantasy these days. I've always enjoyed reading across genres, but it was easy for me to get lost in a world I already knew and loved. Blogging exposes me to all kinds of books, and that helps diversity my reading. I can't thank you all enough.

You and your niece look so adorable! I really love the name Emma, btw.

Thoughts of Joy said...

The greatest influence blogging has had on my reading has been the encouragement to try new genres. I have learned to mix it up. :)

Another positive has been the amount of exposure to books. I can walk in a bookstore and have either read about or seen many of the books that are presented on the tables and end caps. That makes for a really fun shopping trip with a friend who has no idea what to choose and, in general, offering up suggestions to friends and family.

And, I collect more books than I ever used to. I always had books, but nothing like I have now.

Thanks for the shout out, Trish! I'm glad you are enjoying non-fiction these days. :)

Your niece is adorable. (She looks very natural in your arms.) ;)

Literary Feline said...

Since the day I joined my first online reading group and continuing on now that I follow blogs, my reading list has grown exponentially. I've been introduced to authors and books I might never have come across otherwise.

I finally came across a copy of Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell that was at a price I couldn't pass up. That's one that I discovered via blogs.

bermudaonion said...

I've been exploring new genres since I started blogging too. Emma is darling!

debnance said...

If it wasn't for online readers I've met, I'd still be reading piles and piles of the gothic novels our town librarian loved and pushed on me.

Scrap girl said...

I definitely have explored new genres since book blogging. I just read all the books I want to, faster enough! I love your book shelves, they made me want to just dive in and see what you had.

Dar said...

Trish, Emma is absolutely beautiful! What a little darling!

Blogging has opened me up to reading things I may not have before. For example-classics courtesy of yourself. I just finished Ethan Frome yesterday and it was amazing. I never would have read it otherwise so I'm thankful for that. It's also opened up to me so many new and wonderful authors with really great novels to share. It's also brought about a new world of friends that I really am grateful for. Most of all I think it's such a wonderful forum to discuss what we all love so much-books!

Have a great Sunday Trish!

Lisa said...

I've read a lot more YA since blogging. My TBR has exploded, but I"m too lazy to go type them up, sorry!

Your niece is SO CUTE!

Danielle Says Hello said...

I know what you mean...I just bookmarked this post with all the good recommendations!!!

Michelle said...

Hey there stranger! It has been a long time. My internet is down right now, and I am using a borrowed computer. I am so sad I missed you last weekend, but I got to see your mom and brother. He is sure grown up! Emma is beautiful! How are you? Are you going to Utah soon? (sorry this is not book related......)

Melody said...

I have to say blogging has expanded my reading too, and I love it! I used to read a few genres in the past but today, I read almost anything (well, except sci-fi and ebooks), thanks to the recommendations from you all!

Ooh...Emma is adorable! How old is she now? :)

Michelle said...

I don't think blogging has affected my reading habits as much as other people. I wonder why that is? I do have more books on my radar, but (Hunger Games aside) I'm not usually dying to read anything I've seen from book bloggers. I'm more of a 'hmm, that look interesting, if I have the time maybe I'll look for it in the library' kind of a girl.

Trish said...

*Diane - Thank you. I need to learn how to post a picture that can be enlarged--don't really know how that works.

*Amanda - I've been reading more as well since blogging, even though I don't feel like I'm reading more (seems like I spend all my time blogging!). Blogger recommendations are so great!

*Claire - Some of the books on the list I had already heard of but didn't have a strong desire to pick up until I read blogger reviews. Some I discovered just because of blogging (had never heard of Neil Gaiman before!). And then there's the category I didn't include of books I already own that I read sooner rather than later because of bloggers. I pick up a lot of books without knowing what they are, so it always helps to see a positive review written by someone who I trust.

*Meghan- Blogging helps me collect my thoughts on a book as well. Your Amazon orders sound like mine--I always go to the bookstore with a list of blogger recommended books!

*Violet - LOL--she's a cutie and a very good baby! Isn't it great that we've all found blogger's tastes that we can trust and go to?

*Guatami - One of my favorite things about blogging is exploring new authors and genres! I've also learned a lot from other bloggers.

*Nymeth - LOL--I wonder how many books on that list aren't from your recommendation! :P Seriously, you've been a big influence and I really trust your opinion. I know we won't always like the same times of things, but that's OK too. I still need to read John Green. And blogging keeps my reading diverse as well!

*Joy - Different genres, definitely! There are so many things that I would read before blogging, and there's still a few (suspense/thrilled/mystery), but I still have to work myself up to those. Isn't it fun walking into a bookstore and seeing the ARC you reviewed or something you saw several others rave about? I love that feeling!

*Lit Feline - One of my favorite feelings is finding a book that you've seen on a blog at a discount--I always scoop those up as well. I'll have to look up Beat the Reaper; sounds familiar but I'm drawing a blank.

*Bermuda - Thank you--I just want to pinch those little cheeks! Ha! :) I've loved exploring new genres through blogging as well.

Anonymous said...

I never ever would have tried graphic novels without blogging. I never thought they were up my alley, but now I've come to find out that I do enjoy them.

I'm also reading more YA lit, which seems a little backwards since when I started blogging I was still in the YA target group. But now I'm finding myself picking up more and more books from the YA hold shelf of my library.

One of the things I don't like, though, is how the spontaneity is gone. I used to browse the shelves of my library, pull books of the shelf, and decide whether or not to read them. Now because my TBR list is super long and you guys are still reading and recommending books, I'm not doing that as much.

Anonymous said...

Awww, what a cute photo of you and your niece!

And what a lovely tribute to book blogs. ^-^ I admit that I'm still quite new to blogging (although I can see why you're all blaming so much on Nymeth. I think half the books I added since I started reading book blogs were seen on her blog at some point.)
So, as said I'm still new to blogging, but I've already started to keep track of the 'bad bloggers' for fear of forgetting even more of the recommendations I've found.

That said, the book I'm dying to get my hands on that I heard from through the blogosphere is actually one Becky recommended: Eyes Like Stars. It's not published yet, but I want it. Badly. (And let's not forget that the bloggers are the people who introduced me to Subterranean Press. I wish I could remember who to blame for that. My wallet is Not Happy.)

Bloggers definitely introduced me to Laurie Halse Anderson, though, and her Speak isn't a book that would have shown up on my radar without bloggers! So I'm definitely feeling the blogging influence!

Trish said...

*Debnance - I would have missed out on some great discoveries if not for blogging also.

*Scrap Girl - I wish I could enlarge the picture, but the shelf is double stacked anyway, so not very easy to see what's there. I wish I could read faster!

*Dar - I just want to eat little Emma up! :) Can't wait to hear what you thought of Ethan Frome! I plan on reading it later this year. I've loved the new discoveries and friends as well. It's been so great being about to chat with other booklovers.

*Lisa - She is so cute, I seriously can't get enough of her. I meant to add YA to my list of discoveries but forgot. I don't read a ton of it, but I would have never read it before (except Harry Potter).

*Danielle - Hello! Fun name. :) I hope you find some good ones on the list--some are better than others, but they are all so different!

*Michelle - I'll be in Utah this weekend for the funeral. :( Sad circumstances, of course, but I hope to see you?? I think I'll fly in Thursday night and probably leave Saturday. I hope the wedding was nice!

*Melody - Emma is almost 2 1/2 months old, but I swear every time I see her she gets bigger and bigger! I love how blogging/bloggers have encouraged me to read different genres, but like you I'm still timid of sci-fi.

*Michelle - Interesting! I think we all have different interests and different things that draw us to blogging. For me I love the new discoveries, but I still like reading the old stuff, too.

*Jacketsandcovers - One of my favorite discoveries is graphic novels also. I was so resistant to them and now I can't get enough. I agree that some of the spontaneity and randomness is gone, but I still try to fit in random reads as well.

*Shanra - Oh, Nymeth is awful! :P Really, I'm always telling her how much she's influenced me and I can't thank her enough. I haven't heard of Eyes Like Stars, but I'll definitely have to check it out! I haven't read Speak, but I've definitely heard a lot about it. Bloggers are bad in some respects, but how can encouraging people to read more be a negative thing?? :D

samantha.1020 said...

Trish- She is adorable! I love the headband. Blogging has contributed to my reading as my TBR list is out of control. I try so many different types of books that I would have never considered picking up before. I love it!

Laura said...

I love the pictures--both of your shelves and cute little Emma! Blogging has influenced my reading A LOT as well! No more aimless wandering through the bookstore or library--now I always have lists of books to look for--and they seem to change every week! I blame it 100% on you!

Joanne said...

Aww your niece is adorable! I like the chubby stage - it's so cute because newborns always remind me of scrawny little frogs and then in such a short time they start getting little baby rolls!

Have bloggers influenced my reading? I would say a gigantic yes! It's impacted the subjects, genres and amount that I read. It's made my TBR list quite intimidating, but it's hard to not get excited over a book when you read someone's review and they just seem so in love with a book. The biggest difference I'm noticing is that I'm reading alot more young adult than ever before - I had never realized how enjoyable teen books could be.

Michelle said...

I will be flying in Friday morning for the funeral and then leaving on Saturday morning. I can't wait to see you, wish it was under better circumstances...

Bookfool said...

Emma's adorable (and so is Aunt Trish).

Bloggers influence my book acquisitions all the time. I have a killer-huge wish list and keep acquiring books based on blog reviews. I think my reading has improved since I started blogging. I'm finding so many great books, now. It used to be more of a crap shoot, really.

Hunger Games is at the top of my wish list, too. On Buy Indie Day, it was the book I went looking for, at my local shop. They didn't have a copy, so I bought The Graveyard Book. I hope I like it, but if I don't, I'll pass it on and go see if they've got a copy of Hunger Games, yet. It's a great excuse to cuddle the store kittens. :)

Stephanie said...

I get most of my book recommendations from bloggers. They are a pretty reliable source!

Eva said...

Loved this post! And you and your niece are adorable. :D I happen to have an adorable niece as well (she's three), and when she was that age she was a TOTAL chunkster. We always talked about her buddha belly. :)