No subject

Ven vendersleighc at
Tue Jul 2 22:16:52 EDT 2002

On Sat, Jun 29, 2002 at 07:19:29PM -0700, Ven
> internet friends, however what no one has
> mentioned so far is the value of teaching
> where to go and how to find books they might
> like. I picked up book, library and bookshop
> skills in a very adhoc manner, driven by my
> hunger for books, the lack of them is another
> obstacle for the less enthusiastic reader.

And Kathryn asked
<<Okay, so what *do* you think these book-finding
skills *are*?
I haven't ever given the matter much thought. 
Maybe there are some
skills I have that I don't know about, or skills
that I don't have that
I would find useful.>

<I mean, the basic obvious method is: go to
library/bookshop, go to SF/F
section, pick up book, look at cover, read blurb,
put down book.
Maybe read the first page of book also, to see if
the author has a
plodding style.  (Alan Dean Foster has
interesting ideas, but he can't
And: find author one likes, read everything by

Well, those are the basics, but how do we acquire
them! Consider it from the point of view of
someone who, for the first time, has enjoyed
reading a book and wants to find more like it.
perhaps they were given the book for Christmas,
have never set foot in a library or bookshop
before and are too shy to ask anyone. The first
place they could start is with the book itself,
ignoring the contents for this purpose, what
factors might be predictive of something similar:

Packaging: Everything from illustrations to
colour scheme and typefaces.

Publisher and publishers imprint ie Gollancz SF,
Egmont YA, Baen Books

"Puffs" from other authors -- check these names

The list of previous works by the same author,
noting how these are categorised ie as for
younger readers or as part of a series.

Photo and biographical notes on the author.
Obviously the inferences to be drawn here are not
frex that if you like a book by one librarian you
will like another, but rather more subtle.

List of other books by the same publisher.

Date of publication (also good for getting things
in context.
The blurb. This requires quite sophisticated
skills since blurbs are often misleading. And
while you might think publishers intend these
things to sell books I find there are as many
that give a poor impression of a good book as the
other way round. (The same is true of cover art
of course). So there is an art to interpreting a

Other things worth acquiring for the would be
reader, the habit of reading book reviews,
finding their way round library systems, using
the net, especially searching for bibliographies.


Do You Yahoo!?
Sign up for SBC Yahoo! Dial - First Month Free
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list