I own a lot of books. A lot. I don't know how many exactly, but the number runs into the hundreds. It could be the thousands. And most of these are books I've never read. I rarely keep ones I have. I have a small keeper shelf (and only for sentimental value) because I don't reread. I know. Heresy. But once I know how a story plays out and there's no longer any surprise, I don't want to revisit the characters.
Part of my not rereading is because I have too many new books waiting for me. Another part is that I don't want my writer's eye to ruin the memory of a book I loved. Trust me. It happens. And this is why I primarily read thrillers. I don't write thrillers, so I go into those books strictly as a reader. I don't mentally rewrite things my way as I do when reading romance.
That doesn't mean I don't have auto-buy authors in every genre. Well, pretty much every genre. I buy the literary works of Dennis Lehane, Ann Packer and Lisa Tucker having heard nothing but that they have a new release. I buy the historical romances of Laura Kinsale and Judith Ivory and Penelope Williamson without knowing a thing about their books.
Arianna Franklin and Elizabeth Chadwick write amazing historical (non-romance) novels. I can't say I buy any horror authors, and I don't read much paranormal beyond Lynn Viehl's Darkyn series, but I buy women's fiction by Barbara O'Neal (Samuel), Patricia Gaffney and Jodi Picoult without looking. My contemporary romance auto-buys are Deborah Smith, Kristan Higgins, Robyn Carr; there are no doubt more I'm blanking on.Thrillers, though. Don't get me started. Chelsea Cain, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Michael Connelly, Greg Rucka, Greg Iles, Tami Hoag, Robert Gregory Browne, Harlan Coben. The list goes on. And, yes, I read Dan Brown. I read him before he was a household name.
What's the weirdest thing about my book addiction? I don't always scarf down what comes in the mail (because I buy everything online). I'm a hoarder, saving my favorites for rainy days. I want to know I have a whole shelf of Robyn Carr to curl up with; I've been saving the last three of her Virgin River books. I want to read them this fall. I have to make sure I have nothing on my schedule when I sit down with Tess Gerritsen for a day, but when do I never have nothing on my schedule? And the new Barbara O'Neal coming out at the end of the year? I can't wait.
My problem comes when I buy because I see a blogger or reviewer raving about a book and I follow like a lemming without thinking about my own tastes and habits. This is where the author's Website is the best selling tool in the world. When I'm smart and not a lemming, I visit the site and read the excerpt. I know within a few pages if the writing is going to work for me.
And that's a big one. If I don't connect with the voice, no story in the world will hook me. So what happens when I visit an author's site and she has buying information, a cover and blurb, but no excerpt? No excerpt = no sale because I'm all about instant gratification. I may try and remember the title and check it out should I go into a bookstore, but more than likely, the buzz isn't going to result in a sale if the author doesn't give me a taste online.
Anyone else buy more than they’ll ever be able to read in a lifetime?