Thursday, September 18, 2008

Morning Thoughts, Evening Thoughts

Morning Thoughts

I am following lucius_fox, harvey_dent, James_Gordon, and _brucewayne, they talk to each other on twitter. It is kind of funny. I am also looking for other accounts on twitter like gothamsfinest.

A whole bunch of graphic novels came in yesterday. I have not looked at them too closely. My previous choices have been doing quite well. People are taking a lot of them out.

I am ordering a lot of books which other libraries are not getting. This is because I like to physically look at bookstores and examine books. It allows me to choose many books which are never reviewed properly. Library Journal, Choice, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly are a near complete failure with certain categories of the most popular books. Craft books and cookbooks are two of the most popular types of books in public libraries, this is not reflected in the review journals.

Also, review journals rarely review books focused on technical aspects of the home like plumbing, heating, and airconditioning, We order lots of books from Sunset, Black and Decker, House and Garden, and similar publishing companies.

This is also true of computer books. People buy them by the imprint from the publisher mostly. The only way for me to properly understand what people need is to visit a very large bookstore, library, or search online through companies like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Strandbooks. The reviews are nonexistent or spotty.

I have always found most book reviews to be about prestige or demonstrating bookish skills. There is very little prestige in reviewing books on tools, do it yourself projects or other practical books. This is actually kind of sad. It is a gaping failure in the profession. Libraries are failing to provide this kind of material at the level which many people want.

There is a belief that fiction and literature are harder on many levels than popular or practical material. I often think serious practical books which are instructional in nature can be far harder to write than fiction because there needs to be much greater clarity and ease of use than a novel. Combining pictures, words, and diagrams in a clear manner must be quite difficult.

Evening Thoughts

I read some more of Ben Yagoda (I'll call him the Yoda of quotes.) The Sound on the Page, Style and Voice in Writing. He describes how punctuation is a major factor in writing style. Punctuation sets the rhythm of writing and where people pause. Different writers often use punctuation in distinct ways. For example Peter Carey uses no commas in his novel, True History of the Kelly Gang. This makes the style very unique.

I am male which makes my writing style different women's writing style most of the time. At least people claim this. I don't know if it is always true. As I read the book, I am learning quite a few things about what makes writing distinctive. One of the best ways to tell if you are writing in a unique style is to read it aloud and see it sounds.

Because Mr. Yagoda uses so many quotes I am include another one from the book:

If any man would write in a noble style let him first possess a noble soul. -- Goethe.

4 comments:

Imran said...

Hi..nice to know your blog..and more happy that u are bookaholic..

I like to read the fiction book, coz the books are like the puzzle, we need to guess the end story. Like shidey sheldon book..or book describing imaginative environment, like harry potter..the writer built all with comprehensive way..

sorry my english is not well...
i don't know how to express my happiness here...

Jack Payne said...

You have some great thoughts on book selection. As a guy on the other end, a writer of these fool things, I'm always perplexed. My last book, Six Hours Past Thursday, got great reviews, when it first came out 4 years ago, including a review from Bowker which compared it to The Great Gatsby. Result? Not much. Though it has sold well to lawyers, law profs, and law school libraries--even though written for the layman--it hasn't gone much futher.

Guess I simply never will be able to understand you true book lovers and the way you buy books.

Book Calendar said...

Bowker is a publisher giving a review. People don't listen to publishers. They listen to writers who are talking about the book, try to get it into review places like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, New York Times Book Reviews. Or any place with cachet for writers and readers.

You want writers and bookstore owners to talk about the book. They are the ones buying the book. The key is to get the bookstore to buy it, the library to buy it, so the end user, the bookstore customer or library patron will buy it. This means reaching that audience.

The publisher is the one selling the book. People often don't listen to salesmen. They may put it in the wrong places, it seems they sold it to academics.

Try to get some copies into libraries and bookstores and out of academia.

Book Calendar said...

Imran your expressing yourself fine. It is nice to see someone who comes by to visit my blog.