Earlier in the week, I read this article in Publisher’s Weekly, “Influence of Bookstores and Libraries Eroding for Children.” Among other things, the article discusses the increased impact of friends and family (word-of-mouth) on book recommendations, over more traditional sources such as libraries and bookstores. If you take the time to read the article, there is some evidence that these findings are slightly skewed, but it did get me thinking:
I’m guilty of book gossip (and happy to admit it).
The fact that you’re here, reading this blog, suggests that maybe you are, too, right? You read about books, you chat about books, you have some social community (either online, in person, or both) that gossips about books right along with you.
To be honest, I couldn’t tell you what books are on the NYT Bestseller list right now. I have some guesses for the upcoming Newbery and Caldecott Awards (announcing on January 28th), but I guarantee I haven’t read all the contenders. Even though I consider myself moderately current in the children’s literacy trends, it would be impossible for me to read every book, even every good one.
So where do my recommendations come from? Mostly other kidlit bloggers whose tastes run somewhat similar to mine, or who feature a variety of titles. I keep an eye and ear out for the ones that are being discussed all over the Twitterverse. I follow particular authors that I’ve always enjoyed and are most likely to impress me again. I chat with friends who have children similar in age and say, “Oh, have you read _____?”
Even then, sometimes I’m disappointed by a book that everyone raves about. Or I find myself being the only one in love with a title that leaves other readers ambivalent.
Which is okay. Because the bottom line is, it comes down to personal taste.
So tell me, where do your book recommendations come from? Are you a list follower, or a book gossiper? Have you ever had the experience of being let down by a book that has taken the rest of the world by storm?
This is one time where gossip is a good thing.
See you Monday, friends!