How Books Come To Us

P1020096 - xsIn one particular episode of the popular podcast What Should I Read Next (episode 64: “The next best thing to reading”), Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy asked around how people kept track of the books they read. This is a bit of a cliché question for booklovers, but one idea stuck with me until now: one woman recorded books by who or where she had heard of them in the first place.

How clever! I so often wish I’d remembered how I came to hear about one particular title. Let’s try this little exercise for the books I’m currently reading:

  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon: I’m quite convinced that I first heard about this book on a blog, but which one? Stefanie’s from So Many Books? Rebecca’s from Of Books and Bicycles? Perhaps, but I can’t seem to find a trace of this title on their blogs now… If you’re reading this post and have reviewed it with glowing terms a few years ago, that’s probably you!
  • Moving House & Other Stories by Paweł Huelle : This one’s easy, my parents gave it to me ages ago (like probably 5 years ago).
  • The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine : This is a book we own, and I bet my husband bought it, probably from W.H.Smith in Paris. He said it was good but that I might find it slow. Guess what? I’m about 70 pages in and I’m finding it slow. Am I that transparent?
  • The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1) by Peter May : This is an e-book a good friend recommended to me, going as far as sending me the file. I have had it on my Kindle for probably more than one year, or even two, and I started it in a sudden case of Scottish nostalgia, needing a good, dependable mystery.

This list is somewhat uncharacteristic of my reading habits, or rather characteristic of this particular period in my life, as I am trying to reduce the number of books from Netgalley and from the library.

It’s not that I don’t take books home when they call me with their nice covers and enticing blurbs and tempting titles… I am no superhuman and I have a weak heart. So I do take them home, … and mostly take them back (almost) unread. Let’s call it a short break for books, just the time to see a new environment and breathe some polluted Paris air before going back on shelf.

I have a post coming up about Esther Perel and her bestseller Mating in Captivity. I know I bought the book after hearing an amazing conversation between her and Garance Doré, but I can’t for the life of me remember where I’d heard about this podcast episode in the first place. Oh, my poor brain… no wonder I first started this blog to try remember all the books I read!


5 thoughts on “How Books Come To Us

  1. I love keeping track of the books I’ve read! It’s a field on my TBR spreadsheet. It’s nice because then if someone recommends a book to me and I read it several years later (as often happens), I know who to go back to and say thanks. 😀

  2. This is very interesting: I suspect most of my book recommendations currently come from fellow book bloggers, whose reviews I have come to trust and respect (and if they review something negatively, I sometimes want to make up my own mind).

  3. Hmm, I have not read Yiddish Policemen’s Union but I would really like too! Chabon was in town giving a reading a few years ago and I went and he talked about that book there. I used to try and keep track of where I heard about books I read but they come at me so fast and from all over that I soon gave up because it was overwhelming!

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